Though Audemars Piguet seldom shies away from an opportunity to release a whole new constrained edition, a model spawned from this kind of a fresh retail partnership is by no usually means widespread. Though only in business the last 2 many years, Material Excellent has established itself like a premier destination for top-tier Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille watches (likewise as its healthy vintage variety). Moreover, it had been talks amongst AP and Material Great founders Rob Ronen and Michael Herman that brought this restricted edition to existence.
The Salon Internacional Alta Relojería, or SIAR, has developed tremendously over the years. For its eleventh edition, it welcomed for the first time all the watches that compete in the Grand Prix d ́Horlogerie de Genève, but that was of course not all that was there to see. These are the best watches we came across at this years SIAR:
For me, among these watches has been the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph – a view that captivated the market at SIHH 2016 and proved to be an indicator of where the Royal Oak Offshore series might be heading.
Hublot took once again center stage with the launch of two special editions created with Usain Bolt. The first, the “Hublot Big Bang Sapphire Chronograph Unico Limited Edition Usain Bolt Victory Set” features a sapphire case and comes with a pair of Puma Gold sprinting spikes, the same as the ones he wore during his last Olympics, which are also signed by the champion. Only eight of these sets are being made, the same number as Olympic medals Bolt won during his career. Hublot also introduced a very special piece unique of this watch, with its sapphire case gold plated. This is the first time that this has ever been done with a sapphire watch, and the proceeds of the sale of this tag heuer carrera y-p5 go to the Usain Bolt Foundation, which raises funds for schooling and cultural education for disadvantaged kids.
Final year Audemars Piguet introduced six new Royal Oak Offshore models, and this is one among the most popular. It’s the ROO Chronograph in a 42 mm x 14.21 mm situation with the slate gray “elephant” dial on a gray hand-stitched hornback alligator strap.
This is not even all that Hublot had to offer at the SIAR, as they also launched the Big Bang Calaveras which celebrates life by being dedicated to Dia de los Muertos. As always, Hublot also goes all in for this limited edition, with an engraved bezel, stamped bracelet and as the centerpiece the embossed skull with floral motive on the dial. Hublot releases 30 of them in ceramic, 20 in steel, and only 10 in red gold.
TAG Heuer released a new watch in collaboration with Alec Monopoly, showing off the unique style of this artist. It is based on the highly popular Formula 1 collection and features an image of Alec Monopoly in front of a dial in his signature style, with his name in graffiti style engraved on the case back. Along with the watch, he also created an art piece titled “Fuerza Mexico” which is dedicated to the strength and solidarity of the country after the earthquake of last month. The proceeds of the sale of it will also benefit the relief efforts.
The dial, with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, is slate grey with black counters and displays a photo realistic astronomical moon that contrasts with all in the black components with the piece.
Montblanc launched a stunning version of the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter. For a limited edition of 100 pieces, Montblanc fitted the watch with a stunning salmon-colored dial with sunray motive which contrasts beautifully with the blued hands and compliments the bronze case. Fitted with caliber MB M16.29, a manual wind column wheel movement that Montblanc developed in-house, it is a very tempting proposition for collectors.
There are seven new models in all. Their dials recall vintage examples in the 1930s to 1960s, with subdial colors that contrast the color with the main dials. Audemars Piguet has also subtly tweaked some dial details: the chronograph counters at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock have been expanded; the applied hour markers (created of white gold) are shorter but wider; additional luminescent coating has been applied to the hour markers and transfers for greater legibility; and the date window has been relocated in between the 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock positions.
Inside each and every minute repeater can be a complicated system of gears, cams and levers making up the minute repeater complication. The minute repeater complication basically works by reading the time mechanically in the position of the hands, and then chiming the time. The minute repeater is not a new complication at all; it existed in basically its modern form by the time of Breguet.
Greubel Forsey took advantage of the SIAR to launch their QP a Equation Millésimé Edition, featuring a rhodium colored gold dial on which part of the watch calendar functions are displayed. The back of the watch serves for the remaining ones, as there are quite a few since the QP a Equation Millésimé Edition features a perpetual calendar with four-digit year indication, equation of time, seasons, equinoxes, solstices along the brand’s signature inclined double tourbillon.
Next, to these completely new watches, the SIAR also reunited us with some recent favorites. Among them the Roger Dubuis Aventador S, which looks even more amazing on the wrist.
The modern Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar shares plenty of similarities and differences with all the vintage models. The overarching design codes have more or less remained the same, with an octagonal Royal Oak case, crown, and perpetual calendar function, but even these are with slight changes. The now 41-mm case (previously 39 mm) and crown now have an even more refined finishing, the caseback is now transparent compared to the original’s solid 1, and the modern, automatic movement is usually a more complicated mechanism focusing more on contemporary capabilities than striving for thinness. The most dramatic changes are found on the dial, where the perpetual calendar functions now include a week indicator and corresponding hand, and also a leap-year indicator within the month subdial. Also notice the change in hands, hour markers, and dial pattern- from stick to Royal Oak luminescent, from subtle applications to thick gold marks, and from a smooth white to a “Grande Tapisserie,” respectively. All of these changes have come over the lifetime in the series, and have seemingly chosen to better connect the modern Perpetual Calendar with other models in the larger Royal Oak lineage.
Abraham-Louis Breguet was also fascinated from very early on by repeating watches. In 1783 he created the first striking repeating view to be operated by a gong rather than a bell, which had been universally used until then. Initially straight, and mounted crosswise on the back plate, the gong evolved to a circular form, coiled around the movement. It had the advantage of dramatically reducing the thickness of striking watches, while at the same time making the tone more harmonious and clearer. An exceptionally useful invention, it had been adopted immediately by most contemporary watchmakers. Breguet also invented multiple striking mechanisms for repeating watches, notably for the quarters, half-quarters and minutes. Just as in Breguet’s time, modern watchmakers face certain challenges: making the repeater as loud as possible but on the same time making it sound pleasant. Also, repeaters can chime the time at different tempos, depending on how the repeater is adjusted, along with a view that chimes too fast or too slow may sound unpleasant. Perhaps more than any other complication, a minute repeater requires the watchmaker to understand the observe as a whole, as the quality of sound is intimately related to the construction on the case and dial at the same time.
Also, the new platinum Ferdinand Berthoud was on the scene, which is also a tag heuer formula 1 white that looks great, but even more so when actually around the wrist.
Urwerk took the UR-105 CT Streamliner to the SIAR, a watch that shows that the signature satellite time display of the brand is not growing old, yet simply maturing. The same can be said of the SIAR itself, which seems to reach new heights with each edition.