The 25th edition of SIHH ended last Friday 23rd, a grand celebration of the sixteen exhibiting Maisons’ mechanical and artistic skills.
As perfectly summed up by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie:
Skeletonised movements rival with astronomical indications and calendars; the métiers d’art lend their beauty; grandes complications capture the quintessence of time measurement.
Despite a somewhat sober interpretation of time, compared to previous editions, nonetheless declined in exciting novelties, SIHH this year still meant also high jewellery watches, and the Salon prepared some great surprises indeed – masterpieces which I had the great pleasure of admiring.
Rebellious, iconic, celestial, romantic, boldly feminine, epic, dreamy, fairy and more: at SIHH all the possible nuances of high jewellery creations (of which here is a small selection) gave their most outstanding interpretation on the watchmaking stage.
Rebellious, like Audemars Piguet’s Diamond Punk watch, a disrupting, rock and sharply geometric cuff watch featuring 7,848 snow-set diamonds. A pièce unique of 56 dazzling pyramids facets.
The watch is revealed by sliding a secret cover – a dial set with a further 300 diamonds. An authentic statement watch, the Diamond Punk displays a true desire to break traditional stylistic conventions, by conveying a movement which truly resonates with energy at its highest level.
The Cartier High Jewellery Watch collection has in la Panthère its leading protagonist: an intense homage to the Maison’s icon, as 2014 was its 100th anniversary: an undisputed reign which would take the whole alphabet to narrate.
The coming together of two domains of exceptional expertise within the Maison Cartier, high jewellery and fine watchmaking, always gives life to highly creative pieces, where stones and precious metals featured alongside the most spectacular of mechanisms. The result is the astonishing High Jewellery Panthère Impériale visible hour Watch, an extraordinary modern cuff bracelet which required more than 1.600 hours of work and a set of diamonds of five different colour gradations. A high jewellery creation enclosing the smallest among the mechanical movements (101):
Another magnificent marvel is the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Serti Vibrant, a work of art in terms of gem setting, as the dial is showing a carpet of diamonds set en tremblant, a technique which allows the stones on the dial of the Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch to shimmer and glow at the minimum movement, as one can see in the captivating video below:
From the earthly to the celestial dimension: Jaeger-LeCoultre sets a very special appointment in the sky with its Rendez-Vous Moon and Rendez-Vous Celestial.
The Rendez-Vous Moon, while following the aesthetic that is so characteristic of the Rendez-Vous line, is able to open up a new chapter in the catalogue of watch complications for ladies. Equipped with a wide moon phase indication, it seduces thanks to its great legibility and its femininity, expressed by a mother-of-pearl moon display. A mysterious hand in the form of a star subtly indicates the chosen time for your next rendez-vous.
The Rendez-Vous Celestial, on the other hand, is a true union of watchmaking expertise and poetry. The passage of the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere and the months of the year are displayed on a sky-ruby red disc whose design is a unique feature of this model. A mysterious, star-shaped hand delicately indicates the time chosen for a future rendez-vous.
Romanticism elevates itself to a new level with Piaget’s Art & Excellence collection, a celebration of one of the brand’s emblems, the rose – the queen of flowers. The result is a collection of unique, stunning Altiplano watches, each of one showcasing most precious artisanal skills.
Staying with flowers, one cannot but go to Richard Mille‘s fantastic Tourbillon Fleur, a boldly feminine watch which cannot go unnoticed and which personality, which imitation of Nature, is capable of blurring the dividing lines between artistic creativity and life itself.
For the creation of this timepiece a special flower, the Magnolia, which delicate appearance stands in sharp contrast to its strong organic structure and resilience in difficult environments, in an endless cycle of birth and regeneration, has been chosen.
At the lower left of the dial on the RM 19-02 we see the Magnolia surrounding a flying tourbillon escapement with five delicate, hand created and colored petals. Working either in passing, or on demand using the pusher at 9 o’clock, the Magnolia opens and closes with rhythmic regularity in a delicate kinetic ballet, as brilliantly shown in Hodinkee’s video:
Poetry meets the epic and had Roger Dubuis‘ designers to create the Excalibur Brocéliande, a high-tech jewel where the skeleton-work skills entwines with the brand’s instinct for fascinating and original jewellery-inspired creations – same as the ivy leaves do, both in Nature and on this watch’s dial.
The Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande powerfully yet delicately evokes the way in which the foliage of this evergreen plant subtly coils around its host in a symbiotic and almost fusional relationship: decorative jewellery elements are cleverly entwined with the skeleton flying tourbillon movement and the dial, to the point where they become indistinguishable from each other.
Flowers, poetry and epic… all lead us to the fairy world of Van Cleef & Arpels, which High Jewellery Watches collection is, once again, a grandiose display of excellent savoir-faire at the service of the Maison’s quest for Emotion.
This quest has led to the creation of two masterpieces, each of which evoking completely different universes. With its Abstraction watch and separable bracelets the Maison takes us to a world of colour blocking, stylised geometry and asymmetry, all reminiscent of the Art Deco period, while maintaining its tradition for transformable jewellery well alive (the watch is composed of three magnetic bracelets, which can be worn either alone or combined, offering a variety of styles):
A completely different world embraces us when admiring the Carpe Koï watch bracelet: a “deep see extravaganza” which is, with its light colours and dancing lines, an authentic celebration of Nature’s movements.
In tribute to Japanese culture, Van Cleef & Arpels presents a timepiece in the shape of a carp – the orange-colored fish with soothing properties. A symbol of love, it enlivens Zen gardens with its bright colors, contributing serenity and life. Renowned for swimming against the current, the carp is also a symbol of strength and courage.
The liveliness of this creation is really amazing, the carpe seems ready to swim away in a rapid and swift movement!
The Carpe Koï watch bracelet is set with 8,000 colored stones, and called for 3450 hours of intricate work. It presents an extraordinary variety of gems, all carefully selected: the body of the fish is adorned with yellow sapphires and spessartite garnets set on yellow gold, forming enchantingly cheerful gradations. Blue volutes of Paraíba-like tourmalines and white diamonds suggest the calm tranquility of life beneath the water. Wrapped around the wrist like a protecting talisman, the bracelet is unfastened by pressing on the carp’s tail, releasing the body. In a touch of consummate elegance, this High Jewelry timepiece displays the time with discretion: the fish’s mouth opens delicately to reveal a dial entirely set with precious stones. A virtuoso piece of high jewellery indeed.
Ladies and gentlemen, this was a selection from the High Jewellery Watches Collections presented at the 25th edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie of Geneva. CC
Post by Claudia Carletti, My Precious Hours. Material courtesy of Richemont Group Press Offices.