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SIHH 2018 saw many hits and misses. And of course, we’re more interested in the hits. Many eminent brands (take for example Girard-Perregaux, IWC, Cartier and Piaget) continue to impress, in many ways. Here are the four watches (more, actually, considering two features are collections) that outshine the rest showcased this year in terms of design.
1. RM 07-01 Gem-Set Black Ceramic
By: Richard Mille
With Richard Mille, the unexpected is only to be expected. Proving this a truism, the watchmaker posits diamonds within a black ceramic tonneau case. With red gold around the band and TZP black ceramic on the upper and lower portions, the RM 07-01 is an inventive exercise of a blinged-out timepiece. Prior to this timepiece, diamonds could not be set within ceramic due to the brittle nature of the material. The solution here was to have red gold prongs holding the gems before being inserted into the outer ceramic bezel. A dial of onyx and red gold, as well as a diamond on the crown, add extra sparkle to this automatic mechanical timepiece.
2. Metiers D’art Les Aerostiers
By: Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin rekindles that longing for the early days of exploration through its IMetier d’Art Les Aerostiers collection. A sumptuous rendition of five hot-air balloon flights undertaken in France between 1783 and 1785 are brought to life with engraving, pounced ornament and exquisite plique-a-jour enamel work in 40mm 18k gold pieces. Each hot-air balloon requires three weeks of crafting, while the translucent background of enamel recalls the techniques applied on stained glass windows to produce varying, subtle shades. This collection is produced in a limited run of five numbered pieces per reference.
3. Lady Arpels Feerique Day & Night
By: Van Cleef & Arpels
This year, the dreamlike world of Van Cleef & Arpels sees the debut of a pair of timepieces which fully displays the maison’s expertise in lapidary. In Lady Arpels Nuit Feerique and Lady Arpels Jour Feerique, the interwoven themes of day and night, and of a fairy figure questing for the heavens, are beautifully embellished. Bringing these artistic and fantastical notions to life are a combination of gems and precious metals; white, yellow and pink gold; diamonds; blue, pink, yellow and mauve sapphires; aventurine; onyx; garnets; turquoise; enamel and mother-of-pearl.
4. Carre H
The Carre H, a Marc Berthier-designed timepiece, first debuted in 2010. Its square case and emphasis on instant legibility made it an easy favourite for adherents of cool design. Now, eight years later, Berthier enlarges the square and employs light as the means to illuminate the new Carre H. Polishing and microbead-blasted finishes on the 38mm-squared case – as well as right-angled guilloche work on the dial – adds refractive surfaces for an animated, almost hypnotic lustre. The use of an exclusive font for the indices, including the use of zero, adds a wholly new character to an Hermes favourite which comes with dial choices of dark grey or black, paired with natural or black Barenia calfskin.