The Swiss city of Geneva is known for being the home of luxury, but even by comparison the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is flashy with a capital F.
More commonly known as SIHH, the trade event houses some of the most expensive diamonds and timepieces in the world. But that’s not to say there’s nothing sensible to be gleaned from ogling the world’s finest timekeepers.
So here’s our pick of SIHH’s most exclusive watches and the features to look out for if you’re thinking of investing.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Tourbillon Universal Time
A platinum watch is hardly understated, but it’s a refreshing move from Jaeger-LeCoultre – a brand that goes through diamonds like most people do cereal. The bling isn’t completely gone, mind. The classic-looking dial hides a complicated tourbillon movement within a tourbillon. That’s basically watch-speak for ridiculously complicated.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar
It seems minimalism is infectious. Audemars Piguet (a brand that countsNicki Minaj, Jay Z and Rick Ross as fans) surprised SIHH with a monochrome perpetual calendar in the watch world’s material of the moment: ceramic. No gold. No platinum. No diamonds. Just don’t drop it.
IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph
Despite a pricey marketing campaign, IWC’s Da Vinci tribute hasn’t been given the warmest of receptions. That aside, the brand seems to be making a stellar effort to reverse fortunes with its latest tourbillon – a gold-cased design that lets wearers precisely set the time to the very second.
Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days 49mm
Panerai has developed the lightness and durability of its carbotech material to a high point. Which means the latest LAB-ID Luminor is probably the brand’s most functional dive watch yet. Plus, it features a dial made from the world’s ‘blackest black’.
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotier Celestial Astronominal Grand Complication 3600
If you like your watches robust and your price tags eye-watering, Vacheron Constantin’s latest novelty option will impress. The Les Cabinotier from the industry’s oldest manufacture offers a sunrise and sunset complication; moonphase; and a Zodiac, equinox and solstice display – all housed in a white gold case.
Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon
While the Ballon de Bleu will always fill Cartier’s coffers, models like the new double tourbillon prove that the manufacture hasn’t lost its touch. Along with a skeleton dial it houses an ambitious complication at 10 o’clock that gives the illusion of a tourbillon floating in space.
Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Planetarium
Call it the Bowie effect, but Cartier and Vacheron aren’t the only ones making watches fit for a Starman. Girard-Perregaux’s Planetarium boasts a rotating globe with an alternating day and night function alongside a highly precise (and highly detailed) moonphase display and painstakingly hand-painted dial.
Ulysse Nardin Regatta
Ulysse Nardin’s SIHH premiere has been a long time coming. But nobody expected a sports watch to be the highlight. The patented chronograph of the new Regatta is optimised for sailing races and can be set from one to 10 minutes as a sweep countdown.
H. Mosier & Cie. Swiss Mad Watch
Watch designer teams have been getting more creative, but even we didn’t quite expect this. H. Mosier & Cie created the strangest novelty timepiece yet, made from solid cheese mixed with a composite metal material. Harden the case, polish it, et voila – a Swiss cheese that won’t give you nightmares.
Speake-Marin Spirit Seafire
You may have never have heard of Speake-Marin, but that’s not to say it should be discounted. The Anglo-Swiss manufacture is only 14 years old and has carved its niche by toying with rigid industry tropes. The result is pieces like the Spirit Seafire: a Jack of Spades take on a classic pilot’s watch.