The SIHH takes place at the massive Palexpo convention center near the Geneva airport, but during that week in January, the whole city becomes a new-watch paradise. My final day in Geneva took me away from the halls of the SIHH to take a look at a number of other new watches, from brands that were not part of the show, shown to retailers and journalists either in suites at one of the city’s opulent hotels or at the smaller Geneva Time Exhibition (GTE) show, held at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, a palatial 19th-century hydroelectric station on the Rhône River converted to a theater and cultural center. Below are some of the timepieces that caught my eye.
Christophe Claret — the longtime independent watchmaker, known for clever complications, who recently launched his own eponymous brand — can always be counted upon for something interesting in its conception, complicated in its design, and, usually, stratospheric in its price. The headliner this year was the Soprano, which I’d previously covered for WatchTime.com. Finally getting to try it on and hear the lilting Westminster Chimes of its repeater was a treat. The other new model (below) was a new version of Claret’s Adagio with a sleek Onyx dial.
Urwerk, the unconventional indie brand conceived by Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, makes only about 150 watches per year and usually only introduces one or two new models annually. This year’s is the UR-210 “Maltese Falcon,” which has a steel case made of AlTiN, an aluminum-titanium-nitride alloy used in the making of drill bits. Like other Urwerk watches, it tells time by means of a rotating series of miniature “satellites.” This watch’s movement also contains a new technical feature, a so-called “efficiency indicator,” on its back side, which indicates winding efficiency. Below are the UR-210 (bottom left) along with a UR-110 model and an Urwerk caliber.
Another boutique brand with a very limited production and very expensive prices, De Bethune offered up just a handful of new pieces, including a smaller (40-mm) version of its DB25, but the headliners were a pair of very distinctive new models. The DB28 Skybridge boasts a dial made of flame-blued, mirror-polished titanium with a star field made up of white-gold and diamond stars. De Bethune’s trademark 3D spherical moon-phase completes the stellar motif.
The other new De Bethune (and maybe the prettiest piece I was able to put on my wrist this week) is the DB16 Tourbillon Regulator with deadbeat seconds and a perpetual calendar. The case has De Bethune’s familiar cone-shaped lugs, the dial sports a gorgeous guilloché pattern, and the movement (visible through the back) features a lightweight tourbillon constructed of titanium and silicon.
Among the standouts at the GTE show was H. Moser & Cie., a favorite of many “in-the-know” watch collectors and another brand with a very small annual production. The watches — including the movements and even the hairsprings — are made in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen, a name familiar to fans of the more well-known IWC. Moser, which has recently come into the hands of new ownership, is looking to make a bigger play in the U.S. market this year. Most of the models shown at the GTE are existing models, but one notable novelty was the first version of the brand’s elegantly simple perpetual calendar model with its proprietary “fume” dial, which I’m wrist modeling in the photo directly below; the lineup of watches is beneath that photo.
We’ve just scratched the surface with these brief updates from the Geneva fairs. Keep watching WatchTime.com and the WatchTime blog for lots more on these and many other watches making their debut this year.