A Look Back: The 3 Biggest Surprises at SIHH 2014

Baume & Mercier Clifton 1892 Flying TourbillonI know, I know, you are supposed to expect the unexpected. Even so, I did not expect what Baume & Mercier, Greubel Forsey and Cartier unveiled at this year’s watch fair in Geneva. Here is a look back at the three biggest surprises of SIHH 2014 – as we’re all looking forward to the surprises that SIHH 2015 might offer next January.

1. Baume & Mercier Clifton 1892 Flying Tourbillon

Of the 16 brands at the show, the last one you would figure to launch a $57,000, 30-piece limited-edition flying tourbillon wristwatch would be Baume & Mercier. After all, its niche is affordable luxury, with watches priced primarily in the $1,500-to-$5,000 range. Nevertheless, its show headliner was a new rose-gold Clifton wristwatch featuring a flying tourbillon. The tourbillon is made for B&M’s sister company in the Richemont Group, the movement producer Val Fleurier. The idea, says Baume & Mercier CEO Alain Zimmermann, is to “remind the world that Baume & Mercier, the seventh oldest watch manufacturer still in operation, has real expertise in the art of making accurate and complicated watches.”

Baume & Mercier was founded in 1830. The 1892 in the name refers to the year when the firm’s tourbillon pocketwatch took first prize in the chronometry competition at the Kew Observatory in England. In an interview with WatchTime, Zimmermann explained that there was no commercial reason for the launch. “I am not desperate to sell a tourbillon,” he said. It was done with a view to the China market, he explained. The new tourbillon watch was launched at an exhibition in Hong Kong last fall. Baume & Mercier is relatively new to the Greater China market. “If you want to make a good impression, you have to start at the top,” he said. (For more on the watch, including on-site photos taken at SIHH, click here.)

Baume & Mercier Clifton 1892 Flying Tourbillon
Baume & Mercier Clifton 1892 Flying Tourbillon

2. Greubel Forsey Diamond-Set Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain

The press release for the watch sporting 272 baguette diamonds totaling 9.71 carats set into the dial, bezel and lugs is slightly disorienting. “Bienfacture means ‘supreme craftsmanship,’” it reads. “Bienfacture is above all the art of supreme finishing that transforms rough parts into brilliant jewelry. And if jewelry itself remains on the outskirts of fine watchmaking, the cutting of gemstones is a closely related art.” This must be Van Cleef & Arpels, you think. Or Cartier. Nope. It’s the über-tourbillon specialists Greubel Forsey, celebrating their 10th anniversary in business with a glittering version of the firm’s Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain. This piece, priced at 750,000 Swiss francs, is the closest GF has come to producing a ladies’ watch. At 43.5 mm by 16 mm, it’s pretty large for a lady. But perhaps Madame will not mind.

Greubel Forsey Diamond-Set Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain

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  1. citizen aqualand

    Really these are the four big surprises for me. The Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch (last one) is looking so good and very eye catching. Thumbs up for all these watches and Thanks for the post!

  2. Debashish

    I am not the only one, I think all watch aficionados love to be surprised!

    I am certain that all watch lovers enjoyed those 3 outstanding watches!

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