Worn & Wound’s SIHH 2019 Picks

SIHH 2019, one of the watch industry’s most grandiose trade shows, has come and gone, and though we didn’t partake in this year’s festivities, it has been fun to sit back and watch the coverage come in. From a product standpoint, it’s interesting to see some brands push into the “value” segment of the market and offer more horological bang-for-the-buck (it should be noted that value, when viewed within the framework of Richemont’s portfolio, does skew higher, hence the liberal use of scare quotes). Particularly, IWC seems to have had a really strong showing with a slew of consumer-friendly products, both in terms of price and overall execution, with the Spitfire and Top Gun series both introducing in-house movements into the fray.

From a business side of things, the show did seem to be a bit contracted. Last year’s SIHH, if I recall correctly, was an onslaught of highfalutin SKUs, but this year  felt a bit more restrained, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Now, that contraction may reflect some level of uncertainty within the industry itself, but I also think that having a smaller, more curated showing that cuts the fat is far more preferable—and, of course, there are 11 months left in 2019 to push out new watches.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the horological eye candy. There was certainly a lot to lust over this year, so we tapped members of our editorial team to each pick one watch that stood out to them. As always, let us know what caught your eye in the comments section below. Enjoy!

Ed Estlow
IWC – Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium

That’s a mouthful for the name of a watch, but IWC’s new Top Gun Chronograph is a wristful, so I think it’s warranted. The Top Gun Ceratanium is indeed a double chronograph—the pusher at 10 and garnished in red activates a similarly garnished additional chrono seconds hand, should the need to time a secondary event arise. This new aviator timepiece calipers at 44 millimeters, it’s made of Ceratanium (a patented alloy based on titanium), and it’s parked on a black rubber strap. 

So yeah, this thing is all high-tech and everything, but just look at it! All blacked out, and you know nobody does pilot hands better than IWC. When they see watches like this, men of a certain age (me) can just hear that guitar riff at the beginning of Tom Cruise’s Top Gun.

Mark McArthur-Christie
H. Moser & Cie – Swiss Alp Minute Repeater Concept Black

H. Moser & Cie have aced SIHH again. In previous years we’ve had the Swiss Icons watch, the Alp, and, back in 2017, the Cheese watch. It’s easy to dismiss these as something daft—a succession of whimsical novelties, if you will. But Moser’s send-ups are neither daft nor whimsical; they’re properly clever and wonderfully satirical. It was hard to miss the pointed jab that the Swiss Icons watch delivered to the industry and its obsession with marketing and celebrity. There’s been lots of fuss over this year’s grow-your-own “Nature Watch,” but the real star of the Moser show is the Swiss Alp Minute Repeater Concept Black. A straight gloss face dial, just like a certain well-known wrist computer, it has no hands, no visual time indication—just a tourbillon and a minute repeater that you set using markers on the crown and stem. It’s a proper piece of watchmaking and a very confident two-finger salute to the ubiquity and disposability of smart watches. As Moser says “. . . it’s exactly what the digital version isn’t: rare.” Well played, gentlemen, well played.


Allen Farmelo
A. Lange & Sohne – Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon

SIHH is a time for me to indulge my love for magnificently complicated and frighteningly expensive watches. The A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon—for which I and countless others swooned in 2016—is now out with a salmon dial. Just 100 pieces will be made. Priced at $287,800, I find it fascinating to realize that this limited run will gross nearly $30 million.

At just 41.4 millimeters across, the dial gracefully holds a big date, a moon phase, two multi-function sub-dials, a power reserve indicator, and a perfectly legible tachymeter-scale along the broad rehaut. This dial is a study in effective design; information is organized so that quick glances for the time and date remain quick, while deeper info like day of week, month, AM/PM, moon phase, running seconds, leap year, and remaining power require only the slightest concentration. Above all of that floats a flyback chronograph. Each major piece of the movement is elaborately decorated and the tourbillon is, of course, prominently featured.

Salmon dials achieve a pinkish hue without being overly feminine, and the white gold case here is angular, masculine, and traditional. Add in the wonderful story of A. Lange & Sohne’s enduring nationalization after WWII under the likes of Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev, and this watch goes beyond demonstrating human ingenuity to signal resilience, vision, and even hope.

Brad Homes
Laurent Ferrier – Bridge One

One brand where the design language really shines through is Laurent Ferrier. In the case (pun intended) of the new Bridge One, there is quite a marked departure from the usual rounded outline and soft edges of past Laurent Ferrier creations, but the familiar hands and super-slim indices alone would give the game away, for me at least.

The Bridge One’s case is 30 millimeters wide and 44 millimeters from lug-to-lug, and it houses a new manual-wind caliber offering 80 hours of power reserve. The slate-grey dial with sub-seconds at 6 o’clock is my favorite of the two variants, and comes in a little cheaper than the two-hander with enamel dial—but it will still set you back the best part of $40,000.

It’s way outside of my budget and I really don’t have a place in my collection for such a beautiful and dressy watch, but I would love the Bridge One’s arcing, structural form to become a modern classic. A man can dream.

Ed Jelley
Montblanc – 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition in Bronze

My pick is the new bronze/khaki green colorway of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere. The Geosphere is unique in that it displays the world time in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres at the same time. Montblanc accomplishes this with two rotating globes at the 6 and 12 o’clock positions. It’s a playful and visually entertaining way to execute the complication, and on the Geosphere it really works. Upon closer inspection, you can see that there are seven small red dots placed throughout the globe. Each of these markers denotes the tallest mountain on each continent—a subtle nod to the Seven Summits Challenge, where a climber must ascend each peak within their lifetime. The new bronze/green color way plays nicely into the adventurer vibe of the watch, and the other small details—among them the old-school Montblanc logo, typeface, compass bezel, and cathedral hands—make this piece a winner for me.

Sean Lorenzten
Jaeger-LeCoultre – Master Ultra-Thin Moon Enamel

It’s hard to believe that it’s trade show season already! The changing landscape of Baselworld and the rest of the watch industry means that this has the potential to be one of the most influential SIHH in years. But it is SIHH, after all, and this year’s showing still had its fair share of over-the-top limited editions from high-end brands.

All this flash and pomp has its place, but it left me longing for something a bit more restrained. Granted, this one was unveiled shortly before the show itself, but I can’t help but think the most restrained, elegant watch on display at SIHH was this: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Moon Enamel. The MUT series is beautiful enough already, but just look at that blue enamel dial—simply breathtaking! On top of that, the JLC Cal. 925/2 power plant has an improved 70 hours of power reserve from the standard Master Ultra Thin Moon’s 40, all the while maintaining the original Master Ultra Thin’s beautifully-svelte case lines and overall style. Everything from the brilliant blue guilloché enamel of the main dial to the supple alligator leather strap flows together impeccably, creating a harmonious overall whole that I can’t wait to see more of.

Christoph McNeill
A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Date

Lots of outrageously cool (and outrageously priced, I’m sure) pieces coming out of SIHH this year, but my favorite by a mile is the A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Date. Why? Well, the Zeitwerk is quite simply the most stupendously fantastic watch ever created, and now they’ve added another wrinkle to an already astounding pieces. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but the Zeitwerk, with its digital display and soothing symmetry, really just checks all the horological boxes for me. The new release this year adds a date complication, but not just any ol’ date window will do for the Zeitwerk. The date here is displayed on a painted glass ring around the outside edge of the dial (preserving the aforementioned symmetry), and the current date is indicated in red. When the watch flips over to midnight, the red color indicator snaps over to the next number on the ring. Quite elegant, and perfectly in keeping with the Zeitwerk’s mechanical workings and aesthetic. Anyone that follows me on Instagram knows that I prefer a no-date watch every time, but this adds a new twist to the date complication that really just works for me. And, of course, the work-of-art manual-wind movement is gorgeous and on display through the sapphire case back.

Ilya Ryvin
Audemars Piguet – Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin, Ref. 15202BC

I can’t help but look at shows like SIHH and gravitate to the more consumer-friendly releases, and as far as watches that really upped the bang-for-your-buck value this year (and will undoubtedly sell like hotcakes to enthusiasts like you and me), IWC takes the top prize. Initially, I was going to go with one of IWC’s newest Spitfires—probably the stainless steel-cased time-only variant. Hot-off-the-mill in-house movements and a smaller 39-millimeter case, which puts that very-much-maligned date window in its proper place along the primary hours index—yes, please!

But screw it. Like my colleagues, I’m taking off my value goggles and splurging.

There’s a whole lot to choose from this year, but the piece that really sends my watch-head heart racing is Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin, Ref. 15202BC. Let’s start with the dial color. That warm, honey-toned, definitely-not-salmon hue is perfect, and it’s one of the few dial colors outside of white and black that really does it for me (I’m still aching for a Sinn 356 II). Then there’s the case. 39 millimeters across and rendered in white gold, it’s the perfect size (small enough but with a decent amount of visual presence) and it’s going to have some pleasant heft, too.

This one’s a boutique edition—limited to just 75 units—and it’s $55,400, so it’s basically unobtanium for most of us. I’ll be admiring it from afar, or maybe I’ll just rob a bank. Stay tuned.

Zach Weiss
Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune

Hermès is known for their poetic approach to complications and watchmaking. Despite being synonymous with luxury, they have a playful streak—especially with their watches—that bucks the often overly-serious approach many of their peers take. Mixed with a refined and exceptionally tasteful eye (which is to say, good design rather than opulence) their creations can be truly remarkable.

The new Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune is perhaps their most striking watch to date. A novel approach to the moon phase, the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune turns the whole dial into the complication instead of using an aperture as is common. The dial consists of a lower surface on which two stationary moons are presented. Hovering right above are two off-set dials, one for the time with the hour and minute, the other with a pointer date. The phase of the moon is then indicated by the passage of these satellite dials over the static moons, rotating around the dial once every 59 days as though they were the Earth’s shadow. The result is a dial with great depth, a unique appearance, and undeniable charm.

The concept itself is complex enough, but throw in the fact that as the two satellite dials revolve about the center of the watch they self-adjust (maintaining 12/31 at the top position) and you can get a sense of what an intricate complication this is.

There are two versions of the Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune, one with a meteorite surface and black satellites, and the other with an aventurine surface and white satellites. While both materials seem appropriate given the extraterrestrial theme, the naturally starry appearance of aventurine makes it the winner for me. Both are white gold, limited to 100 pieces, and go for a not-too-out-of-this-world-all-things-considered price of $25,500.

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