Last year I wrote a pretty scathing assessment of SIHH and the releases to come from it. I was frustrated by the lack of value, lack of attainability, and absurd materials and complications that had been presented. In the article (which you can read here) I wrote: “2016 needs to be a huge year for the watch industry, not just for the enthusiasts, but for new customers entering the market” – it was a horrific year for watch sales worldwide. I also called for a watch for the ‘average man’, one in steel, with an attainable price point and useful complications. After seeing the releases from SIHH 2017, it appears the manufacturers have taken note of weak sales and disheartened consumers. Of course, there were a plethora of unbelievable watches unveiled to the media (and public for the first time), but 2017 also saw the resurgence of the ‘entry level’ watch.
My opinion has always been, that like a gateway drug to a future addict, the ‘entry level’ watch opens the floodgates to a potential fiend, stopping at nothing to fuel his watch collecting passion, and in turn feeding the industry that is struggling to stay afloat.
Here are our Best Watches from SIHH 2017.
Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC
I’ve been vocal about my admiration for Montblanc in the past but wasn’t enamoured of the futuristic TimeWalker models. This update softens the range visually and introduces a striking new bezel solidifies Montblanc as a serious contender in both the dress and sports watch category. The 43mm UTC release gets a second-time-zone (my favourite complication) added to the handsome chronograph.
Price: $4990 US
Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra Flat
While I’m disappointed that this watch only comes in white or rose gold, I can’t hide my feelings towards this quintessential dress watch. The 38mmx39mm case is a mere 6.6mm thick and appears to wear beautifully on the wrist. It is powered by a manually wound movement with a 36-hour power reserve, meaning it would be a bother to wear every day, but I’d be waiting for the steel if that’s your desire.
Price: $15600 US
Piaget Polo S Limited Edition Black
I see a trend in cushion shaped watches! Seriously, though, I wear a DLC watch, so I was instantly drawn to this Polo S Limited Edition. Oh and the fact that you can get a beautiful, limited edition (888 pieces), Piaget timepiece made from 180 components with an in-house Piaget movement for sub $10k.
Price: $8900 US
Panerai LAB-ID Luminor
Panerai was one of the obvious standouts at SIHH 2017. The Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM 700 was one piece that got me very excited. For a mechanical watch to have no oil or lubrication of any kind, with a 50-year guarantee is pretty phenomenal, plus the fact that only 50 lucky individuals will get to enjoy this limited edition is almost torture.
Price: $53770 US
Richard Mille RM 50-03 McLaren F1
Somehow Richard Mille keeps making watches more technical, and lighter. Perhaps that just an excuse to make them more expensive? The RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1 represents the 10-year relationship Richard Mille and McLaren-Honda announced last year. Their first co-branded watch is unique, sporting a manually-wound tourbillon with hours, minutes, a split-seconds chronograph with a 30-minute totalizer, and power reserve, plus torque and function indicators controlled by the crown. Not to forget the brand new case material, Graph TPT. Technically brilliant, financially eyewatering.
Price: $980,000 US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Chronograph (and Series)
When you talk about brands that are fairly priced, it really is hard to go past Jaeger-LeCoultre. This year they reinvented their Master line with a Date, Chronograph and a Geographic. The updated sector dials with a lick of colour are a resounding win and the pricing, well it just cannot be beaten for the pedigree that comes with these watches. When the huge, technical watch craze is over (someday) this gorgeous automatic 39mm chronograph with a 65-hour power reserve will always have a place on any man’s wrist. This one might be my favourite from SIHH 2017.
Price: $8000 US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ultra-Thin ‘Jumbo’ In Yellow Gold
Another standout at SIHH 2017 was Audemars Piguet, but that should be expected. Yes I loved the brushed ceramic perpetual calender but I couldn’t go past this Royal Oak Ultra-Thin ‘Jumbo’ In Yellow Gold, as good a gold watch as one could imagine. Simple and wonderful, offered with a gold and navy blue dial with a diameter that sits below the 40mm mark – heaven! it’s just a matter of time until these are spotted on a plethora of celebs.
Price: $55400 US
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication
Vacheron Constantin really doesn’t get the credit it deserves (not from the masses anyhow), but I feel this watch will change that. How you can fit so many elements into a wrist watch is beyond me. As well as the time, you also have a moon phase, sunrise and sunset complication, day and night indication, and a sector showing the current Sun sign in the Zodiac, as well as the Equinoxes and Solstices, perpetual calendar with leap year indication and Mareoscope, which shows the relationship of the Sun, Moon, and the tides as well. Flip it over and there is more, the back features a mesmerising star chart. Obviously, it won’t come cheap.
Price: approximately $1 million US.
Zenith El Primero 36,000 vph
I have always had a soft spot for Zenith, and El Primero is a term associated with quality. The black ceramicised aluminium case sees the return of the panda dial, with a reverse configuration, a great way to get vintage watch lovers to appreciate modern watches. Personally, I’m choosing the reverse panda, black dial with white registers. A quality wrist-watch at a very competitive price.
Price: $8000 – $9000 US
Rejoice, Girard-Perregaux has turned my head! One of my personal favourites at SIHH 2017. The stainless steel, blue dial Laureato with stainless steel strap is a classic. Showing similarities to Genta’s RO, Nautilus and his lesser known Vacheron ‘222’, the 42mm watch boasts an in-house designed, developed and produced movement. The combination of brushed and polished steel is handsome and eye catching. I think I want it. Now.
Price: $10700 US
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Oro Rosso
The PAM 684 is for the diver who still wants to be seen flashing gold. Other new releases from Panerai at SIHH 2017 almost hit 50mm, at 42mm this is more of an everyday watch. The fantastic black ceramic bezel looks unreal but compromises the dive function, meaning the watch is only water-resistant to a depth of 100 metres (scandal). This watch is almost too beautiful to take that far under water anyway.
Price: Approximately $14400 US
A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour Le Mérite’
If money was no concern to me, A. Lange & Söhne is the brand I’d collect. From the 37mm Saxonia right up to this Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour Le Mérite’, Lange are making the most attractive, supremely finished and wonderfully complicated watches on the market. This glorious release features a perpetual calendar, tourbillon, rising moon, day of the week and rattrapante chronograph, so you can split time how quickly your wife and your mother pass out when they hear the price.
Price: $500000 US
BONUS WATCH: Pink Gold F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine
While you go to SIHH to see new watches, one of the other benefits is the people and the watch collections that turn up at the show, producing some rare watches. Claude Sfeir was spotted with this unique pink gold F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine, featuring Lapis Lazuli dial and Eastern Arabic numerals. Journes most complicated watch to date was originally presented in stainless steel, but here in pink gold with alterations to the dial.