Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Why we love it: It’s a tribute piece done right. The brand makes subtle yet clear-cut references to the sleek Lamborghini Aventador S (the movement's design is inspired by the car’s engine, and the strap is made from the same material used in the seats of Lamborghini cars) but it remains very much a Roger Dubuis timepiece.

And because it has a skeletonised movement, plus a case made from carbon and titanium, the Excalibur Aventador S is also extremely light and easy to wear despite its hefty size. A major plus? You need not bring your watch to the shop to change the strap. Thanks to its “quick release” system, you can change the straps yourself without any tools.

Cartier Santos de Cartier Skeleton watch

Photo: Courtesy of Cartier

Why we love it: It was a tall order for Cartier to re-launch a much-revered icon like the Santos, but the Maison delivered beautifully. The Santos of 2018 is leaner, integrated and ergonomic, all while being ever faithful to its identity. This year’s refreshed Santos is more svelte, with its bezel seamlessly integrated into the case and bracelet. This gives the watch a smoother and continuous appearance, making the piece more comfortable to wear.

Aesthetic-wise, its bevels were made sharper to further highlight the square shape of the case, where lies the distinctiveness of the Santos. The piece also has self-fitting interchangeable straps. You not only can change the straps yourself, you can also adjust the length of the bracelet, thanks to links that are easily detached by hand.

Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough watch

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Why we love it: Ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t get any sturdier as this. Named after polo great Pablo Mac Donough, the Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon is built to withstand the extreme rigours of the sport. The dial is protected by two sheets of sapphire glass separated by a thin Polyvinyl film—should the watch encounter a violent blow, the glass may crack but not shatter, keeping the shards off the movement.

Its case is machined in Carbon TPT, an extremely tough material resistant to cracks and tears. And if all these measures weren't enough, Richard Mille uses extremely durable cables to suspend the movement, making it impervious to violent shocks.

Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Planetarium 

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Why we love it:

Let’s get one thing straight—the Lady Arpels Planétarium is not simply an adaptation of the Midnight Planétarium, a timepiece Van Cleef & Arpelsintroduced four years ago. It features a completely new case, dial and movement, where within a mere 38mm frame. Against a deep blue aventurine dial, we see Mercury, Venus and the Earth rotate around the Sun at their actual speeds.

A key addition to the timepiece is the Moon—made in a diamond—which rotates around the Earth at its actual rate of 29.5 days. In a timepiece that is as much a technical accomplishment as it is an aesthetic one, Van Cleef & Arpels proves that it still truly is the master of poetic complications.

Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers 

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Why we love it:

If you love artistic dials, are either a history buff or a romantic, Vacheron Constantin’s Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers is a collection you must check out. Comprised of five watches, this whimsical collection captures the fearless and relentless balloonists of the late 1700s known as aérostiers. Each dial depicts specific balloon flights in France between 1783 and 1785, interpreted using various crafts including hand engraving, sculpting and for the first time for Vacheron Constantin, plique-à-jour enamelling.

The level of detail is astounding, making them truly miniature works of art. Beating inside these pieces is a manufacture movement featuring four discs that display the hour, minutes, day and date, and a dedicated oscillating weight. 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris 

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Why we love it:

Jaeger-Le Coultre, by its own admission, was missing a line that catered to more rugged inclinations. As such, the Maison revisits its iconic Memovox Polaris—a line launched 50 years ago—and creates a completely new collection that comprises of five models: a three-hand automatic, a chronograph and a chronograph world time, as well as two models for vintage lovers: the Polaris Date and Polaris Memovox.

Between these models are a total of 14 references, with variations made to its metal choice, size, strap and bracelets. Sporty elegance is the underlying theme of the collection, which makes it a beautiful and complementary addition to the Jaeger-LeCoultre family.

Need more convincing? The price is quite competitive, starting at a little over HK$50,000 for the time-only version. Make sure to put in your order, as we’re pretty sure these will sell like hotcakes come April when it hits Hong Kong.

Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Why we love it:

Featuring a world timer, two globes displaying the northern and southern hemispheres that make a full rotation in 24 hours, the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere was created in the spirit of mountain explorations. Dedicated to the world’s Seven Summit mountaineering challenge, the piece features a day/night indicator, a longitude reference meridian, a second time zone indicator and date, and is water resistant to up to 100 metres.

Turn the watch over and you will see the names of the seven most difficult summits to conquer, and on the globes marked in red are their exact locations. We love this watch because it features a multitude of practical functions, and what’s more, makes a great talking piece.

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept 

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Imagine an entire watch—movement and case included—measuring just 2mm thin, or to put it in perspective, just about the width of a strand of hair. This is precisely what the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, Piaget’s first-ever concept watch, accomplishes. There have been other brands who have, at least momentarily, broke Piaget’s ultra-thin records but this one puts a rest to them all.

Here, Piaget manages to pack all of 283 components within a 2mm-thin revolutionary, two-layer construction that holds five patents. While one can’t actually own this piece, it demonstrates what the “king of ultrathin” can achieve, and what we can expect to trickle down to its product lines in the coming years. 

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT (PAM00920)

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

It’s been eight years since the first L'Astronomo model was introduced and this new model certainly makes it worth the wait. Dedicated to Florentine genius Galileo Galilei, the L'Astronomo collection is where the brand can push the boundaries of traditional high-end watchmaking, but still offers its avid fans a “very Panerai” watch.

Like the first, the L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT is made to order. Everything from the type of metal to use, finishing, down to the colour of the hands can be handpicked by the owner. What’s more, the movement is personalised to operate according to the geographical coordinates of a city chosen by the client.

This bespoke piece carries the same set of functions as the original L'Astronomo, and in addition, a GMT function, a moonphase indicator, and an original system for displaying the date using polarised crystals. Now if you want an unconventional astronomical timepiece, this would certainly be it.

Hermès Carré H

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Naturally, everyone was looking forward to what newest SIHH tenant Hermès had to offer and delightedly, they did not disappoint. On its debut, the luxury brand revives the Carré H, a line Hermès first introduced in 2010, then a limited edition designed by Marc Berthier and produced primarily titanium in a 36.5mm wide square case.

This year, Hermès relaunches the Carré H with a new case size and dial, and as it is crafted from stainless steel, is offered at a more accessible price point starting at only over HK$60,000, less than half the price of its predecessor, then sold at about HK$117,000.

This year’s re-edition sees a more symmetrical dial—with all hours presented in double digits—an addition of a pendulum-inspired sweeping seconds hand and a slightly bigger case at 38mm wide. This is one watch fashionistas would appreciate.

Audemars Piguet RD#2 Perpetual Calendar

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

A few steps down from the booth of Piaget, where the brand proudly revealed its latest ultra-thin record, was Audemars Piguet, the Las Brassus watchmaker who this year did some serious did some serious slimming too. Enter this year’s Audemars Piguet’s star—the Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, which holds the thinnest automatic perpetual calendar today.

In reducing the thickness of the overall watch down to an astounding 6.3mm, Audemars Piguet has created a complicated watch even slimmer than their current ultra-thin time-only model: the 8.1mm-thick Royal Oak Extra-Thin. The RD#2 is crafted in platinum, with a blue grande tapisserie dial, and promises a 40-hour power reserve. And I promise you, this is one Royal Oak you would want to add to your collection.

A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split 

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Want your fix of high complications? Head right towards A. Lange & Söhne and you won’t be disappointed, and true to form, astound it did. The Glashütte brand this year unveiled the Triple Split, a watch that takes the split-seconds chronograph to the next level with its ability to perform multi-hour comparative time measurements—a first in the watchmaking world. Now let’s break that down for you.

Basically, the split-seconds chronograph, or “Rattrapante,” can measure two separate intervals of a concurrent time measurement via two seconds hands when the chronograph is engaged. It may take one a while to grasp this concept so seeing it in action would be recommended—that is if you manage to get a hold of one.

The Triple Split, which comes in white gold, will come in only 100 pieces and at a very attractive price considered its limited run and level of complication.

Parmigiani Kalpa Chronor

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

Parmigiani has hailed 2018 the year of the Kalpa, as the iconic barrel-shaped watch celebrates 20 years. And because Michel Parmigiani thought that simply engraving “20 years” unto the case was not enough to mark a milestone for the first movement he’s created, he decided to create a solid gold, manufacture chronograph movement.

Now, to be able to produce a chronograph movement entirely in-house is itself a great accomplishment, but to do so using such a malleable metal like gold is another story altogether. Only 50 pieces—all of which are numbered—will be produced, making it a great addition to your collection of truly rare timepieces.

IWC Tribute to Pallweber 150 Years

Photo: Kevin Cureau/Hong Kong Tatler

As IWC celebrates its 150th year in watchmaking, its entire roster of novelties this year—all 28 references—were to be limited edition Jubilee anniversary pieces. Of the spread, however, we had our eye on one: the IWC Tribute to Pallweber.

At first glance, you wouldn't think it was an IWC watch. A departure from the brand’s traditionally sporty and rather conspicuous style, this piece is decidedly discreet. Inspired by the historic Pallweber pocket watches of the 1880s that showed the hours and minutes in large numerals on rotating discs—a technical accomplishment at the time—the IWC Tribute to Pallweber 150 Years is just beautiful to wear.

It comes in stainless steel, red gold and platinum and is limited to 500, 250 and 25 pieces respectively. We feel rather lucky having had the chance to wear the watches for a few minutes, as based on the overwhelming response to the watch, it’s highly unlikely we’ll get the chance to see another one in the flesh.

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Tags: Watches, SIHH, Exhibition, Timepieces, Geneve