It isn’t easy to pick five of the best watches from Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2017. There were so many great timepieces. So, for this closer look at three top watches from SIHH, we laid some ground rules: one independent brand; one sport watch; one classic men’s watch. Here we take a close-up look at the top pick in those arenas.
Independent Brand: MB&F HM7 Aquapod “ Jellyfish”
The new MB&F HM7 Aquapod, lovingly nicknamed Jellyfish, is significant for a variety of reasons. To begin with, it is a highly creative way to offer the brand’s second round watch – something very few folks took note of during the show. Secondly, its architecture resembles a jellyfish, with moving parts and electric color ways that can sometimes be seen in the tentacles of certain species of jellyfish. The watch was several years in the making and the concept was, of course, Max Busser’s – who was inspired to look to the creature after his wife sustained a horrible sting by one. (Doubtless his wife wasn’t happy he immortalized the moment.)
The new watch features a central flying tourbillon that is housed in an outer spherical case that measures 53.8mm in diameter. Symmetric rings offer hour and minute indications and the winding rotor (crafted in titanium and platinum) features a tentacle design. Bold, bright blue Super-LumiNova makes for easy night reading and reminds us of the luminescence of the jellyfish. It is offered in Grade 5 titanium (33 pieces) with blue bezel, retailing for about $100,000, or in 18-karat 5N rose gold (66 pieces) with black bezel, retailing for about $115,000.
Sport: Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta
Absolutely relevant thanks to the fact that the 35th America’s Cup will be raced this year in Bermuda, Ulysse Nardin’s Marine Regatta watch is the perfect choice. There are two versions of the Marine Regatta, for which Ulysse Nardin sought input from Loïck Peyron and Iain Percy, both brand ambassadors and members of the Swedish team the brand sponsors: Artemis. The complex watch, with 650-part UN-155 movement, is a regatta yacht timer that counts the critical 10 minutes before the race starts – the time when the boats need to get into starting position and make final tactical decisions.
This watch, however, is no ordinary regatta watch. In fact, this watch offers a unique count up/count down function. In fact, it is equipped with a bi-directional second hand that goes counterclockwise during the countdown and then changes direction automatically once it hits zero (to function as a chronograph). In chronograph mode, the watch records elapsed time intervals up to 12 hours. As mentioned, there are two versions: blue with yellow accents in honor of the team colors (approximately $16,000); black grand Feu enamel with the Artemis catamaran etched into it (approximately $26,000). The latter version will be built in a limited edition of 35 pieces.
Classic: Drive de Cartier Extra Flat
It was last year at SIHH that Cartier unveiled its all-new Drive de Cartier collection – and it was an immediate hit thanks to the cushion/round case architecture and the “drive” or auto-inspired concept. This year, the brand brings the look to a new dimension with the slimmed down Drive de Cartier Extra Flat watch. Created in 18-karat gold, the 39mm watch measures just 6.6 mm in thickness – fitting beautifully beneath a suit jacket.
The watch is powered by the manually wound caliber 430MC that is meticulously finished. The dial is guilloche with simple two-hand display and railway minute track – all offering a very clean and classic look. The 18-karat pink gold version retails for $15,600, while the white gold version retails for $16,700 and is created in a limited run of 200 pieces.