This year the SIHH was larger than ever, including brands outside the Richemont Group such as Greubel Forsey, Richard Mille, and Ulysse Nardin. Even outside the SIHH itself, there was a prominent presence by LVMH, Franck Muller and other brands who are not officially part of the Salon itself. While this means more great watches in one place, at one time, it also means that more watches have to share the spotlight.
That is why we cleared the stage to highlight a few watches that you might have missed, but should definitely know about!
IWC Da Vinci 36 Automatic
When you say IWC Da Vinci, most people immediately think of the perpetual calendar. While this is indeed a landmark piece in the world of watches, the Da Vinci collection has always been more than just this one model.
This is also the case with the new Da Vinci-collection. While there are other complicated models, we were especially taken by the Da Vinci 36 Automatic. This turned out to be the perfect size for a ladies wrist. It is noticeable, yet at the same time not oversized. While IWC offers the Da Vinci 36 Automatic in several versions, including precious metals and with a diamond setting on the bezel, we, in particular, liked the stainless steel version with the satin blue dial and fitted with a dark blue alligator. This color gives the watch a more casual look, making it the perfect companion to go with some jeans.
Bulgari Octo Roma
The Italian roots of Bulgari are still going strong! The Roma is the latest addition to the Octo-collection and adds another layer of subtle Italian flair to it. Just like a good Italian suit, it’s hard to pin-point at first what makes it look so good. For the Octo Roma, it is the very refined case design, which is based on a design by Gérald Genta.
Edges and rounded corners merge with a satin and polished finish into a horological design masterpiece. In essence, the Octo Roma is the dress watch 2.0. It is modern looking but doesn’t seem to try too hard to accomplish this. It has a diameter of 41 mm but doesn’t feel like it. It blends in and stands out at the same time, like the perfect gentlemen. We especially loved the new, brown dial. These dials are produced by Bulgari themselves with a special multi-layer lacquer varnish technique. Especially in combination with the rose gold case, it is a striking combination.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra Thin Full Gold
Between the new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in ceramic and celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak Chronograph, there was another spectacular new Royal Oak on the scene: The Extra Thin in yellow gold.
While the original Royal Oak debuted in 1972 as steel-only, Audemars Piguet did eventually add a full gold model in 1977. Indeed, this is exactly 40 years ago. This model was available with either a dark gray or a champagne/gold tone dial and became even rarer than the first generation steel Royal Oak. In 2012 Audemars Piguet celebrated the 40th anniversary of the steel Royal Oak with the Extra Thin Reference 15202, which stayed very close to the original 1972 design by Gérald Genta. The same goes now for the full gold version of the Royal Oak Extra Thin, down to the two color options for the dial. It is proof that true classics don’t die, and even hardly age. Of course, Audemars Piguet could have opted for the, now, more popular white gold or the warmer hue of rose gold, but that is not how you celebrate anniversaries of an icon.
Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic
This year Montblanc went all technical with the new sports watches added to the TimeWalker collection. A very clean design gives the watch a powerful profile. This is thanks to the skilled hand of Davide Cerrato, who was hired by then CEO of Montblanc Jérôme Lambert.
For a sports watch, the TimeWalker Chronograph is very subtle. It’s easy to read, quite straight forward, yet with enough details to hold your attention. The brand avoided the pitfall of going for a heavily vintage inspired piece but crafted a modern case as the canvas for this new watch. With a diameter of 43mm, it sits nicely on the wrist, whether you prefer the rubber or leather strap, or go for the stainless steel bracelet. The TimeWalker Chronograph is also a very practical watch, not only because of its chronograph, but also thanks to its 100 meters water resistant case and a bezel with 12-hour scale. This bezel is crafted from black ceramic and can be rotated in both directions, making it quite easy to set as a second timezone.