Best of SIHH 2014: Five Personal Favorites

Ballon Bleu de Cartier Flinqué.
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Flinqué.

I see hundreds of watches every year at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, and all of them are impressive – exhibitors at this fair, after all, represent watchmaking’s elite. I always come away with favorites, though, and this year, the pieces I found memorable are either aesthetically or technically superb in some way. The Cartier Ballon Bleu’s flinqué enamel dial, for example, demonstrates the subtle beauty of a well designed watch with an exquisite finish. I chose the Panerai pocket watch not just because of its beauty but because Panerai has been making waves with pocket watches recently that I feel will become highly collectible as a niche for that brand. Audemars Piguet made a splash this year with six new Royal Oak Offshores, and my favorite is the wonderful monochrome model with grey dial and strap that some are calling “the elephant.” The Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain is outstanding not just because it is swathed in baguette diamonds but because the brand chose D-flawless diamonds, which is unprecedented in a timepiece, and demonstrates the brand’s dedication to perfection. Finally, the Richard Mille Natalie Portman Spider stands out as that rare accomplishment: a highly creative concept that is so well executed it almost seems natural to have a wristwatch that resembles a spider on the front and its web on the caseback.

Ballon Bleu de Cartier Flinqué, with flying tourbillon Caliber 9452 MC, with a dial in blue flinqué enamel, a technique perfected in 1909. It is a limited series of 100 pieces.

Panerai Radiomir Pocket Watch 3 Days Oro Bianco.
Panerai Radiomir Pocket Watch 3 Days Oro Bianco.

Panerai Radiomir Pocket Watch 3 Days Oro Bianco, inspired by pocket watches sold by the brand in the 1930s, with a hand-wound caliber P.3001/10, driven by two barrels for a 3-day power reserve.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph with 42mm steel case, grey alligator strap, mega-tapisserie dial and automatic Caliber 3126/3840.

Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain .
Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain .

Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain in white gold with Caliber GF01C, with the tourbillon inclined at a 25º angle. It is set with 272 internally flawless, D-E color baguette diamonds.

Richard Mille RM19-01 Spider.
Richard Mille RM19-01 Spider.

Richard Mille RM19-01 Spider, co-designed with brand ambassador Natalie Portman, with the spider’s body supporting the bridges of the tourbillon and the legs supporting the barrels. It is set with diamonds in18k white gold. The caseback reveals a baseplate cut away to resemble a spider’s web, set with black sapphires. Limited to 20 pieces.

 

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