Geneva’s watch fest rolls on, and your WatchTime team is on site to cover it. Day two is a flurry of appointments and meetings with various brands, but in between, here’s a look at some of the people, timepieces and atmosphere that caught my eye late yesterday afternoon and this morning.
Parmigiani Fleurier — which produces a relatively small output of watches per year — usually introduces just a few new models at SIHH. This year, the brand’s recent partnership with CBF (the Brazilian soccer team) yielded new watches in the Pershing and Transforma collections, each bearing the blue-yellow-green color scheme of the Brazilian team (and, in fact, of the country’s flag). The brand also unveiled a rose-gold version of its Bugatti Super Sport. But the headliners — introduced to the us by brand founder Michel Parmigiani himself — were the new Marquetry limited editions, each inspired by specific musical history. The Tonda Woodrock is the U.K. edition, evoking the Montreux Jazz Festival. The Tonda Woodstock, the U.S. edition, is inspired by the famous 1960s rock ‘n’ roll show. The third (with Michel Parmigiani, below) is a clock called the 15 Days Blue Note, with a blues theme. All use the artistic motif of marquetry in their dials.
The first thing visitors notice about this year’s Roger Dubuis booth is the massive golden eagle looming over it (see below)… apparently inspired by the stylized eagle emblem of the famous Hallmark of Geneva quality stamp (RD claims to be the only watch company that makes 100 percent of its watches to that standard). At first I had thought the eagle — and the guys in medieval “Game of Thrones”-style costumes, one of whom had an actual eagle perched on his shoulder — were to represent RD’s Excalibur watch collection, but apparently not.
In any case, Roger Dubuis has been very busy in 2012, developing several new and interesting timepieces. One is an entirely new collection called Hommage, a tribute to brand founder Roger Dubuis himself, who has recently made his way back into the fold. Fans of earlier RD models will probably recognize the design of these pieces. The numerous new models in the Excalibur line included a Grand Complication, a Skeleton Flying Tourbillon (just one tourbillon, “for someone with a smaller wrist,” said our presenter) and an astounding piece called Knights of the Round Table (pictured below), whose dial has 12 sold-gold-sculpted 6.5-mm “knights” stationed around a 45-mm-diameter dial fashioned to look like the legendary table. The dial/table is made of rose gold, with grand feu enamel added. Only 28 pieces will be made.
Roger Dubuis also debuted a bold new complication in a watch with the odd moniker of “Quatuor.” Details to come (paging WT technical editor Mike Disher!), but the basics are as follows: it’s got a new movement with four sprung balances, five differentials, a new gravity compensation device, and a new type of power reserve display. There will be 88 pieces in rose-gold cases and three pieces in a case made of (believe it or not) pure silicon. The silicon case — said to be a first in the watch industry — is actually even harder and lighter than one made of titanium. A cool million bucks will get you one of the three. Below you’ll find the incredible “zero-gravity” presentation case for the watch and a close-up of its wild-looking dial.
Montblanc, which showed its new watches this morning, added to its distinctive, now-familiar line of Nicolas Rieussec chronograph watches with a model called “Rising Hours.” It’s got the signature Rieussec rotating chronograph counter disks, the date and month at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, respectively, and a new feature that Monblanc CEO Lutz Bethge described as digital hours with an integrated day-night indicator function. How it works is that the hour numerals are cut out of a rotating disk at the top of the dial (similar to a jumping-hours display), which rotates above another disk that’s gradated from black to blue in color. Thus, the numbers go from black to blue (at 6 0’clock) when day turns into night. Here’s a shot of the watch…
Travel was another theme in Montblanc’s offerings this year. The brand introduced a second-time-zone version of its Timewalker collection called the Voyager UTC. It also showed us a pair of new models called Timewalker World-Time Hemisphere. Each is a world-time watch with a world-map motif as seen from the poles — one for the northern hemisphere, one for the southern. The cool twist is that the Northern Hemisphere watch only has northern cities indicated on the world-time disk; the Southern Hemisphere only has southern cities (some of which, as our presenter admitted to me as I checked out the watches, were rather difficult to find, since much of the Southern Hemisphere is made up of ocean). The Northern Hemisphere watch is the one with the strap (to the left); the Southern Hemisphere is the one on the steel bracelet.
More to come from this afternoon’s brand meetings and tomorrow’s. For more SIHH news and views, including new models from Panerai and A. Lange & Söhne, check out Watch-Insider.com, where our colleague from Austria is also reporting on this year’s Geneva show.