Discover the latest releases with an indepth review of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Gruebel Forsey, Montblanc, H. Moser & Cie and Richard Mille. Watch the full video or jump below for your favorite brand:
We’re with Jaeger-LeCoultre, which has built a palatial recreation of the manufactured lobby here in the Palexpo. We’ve got a special treat for you today. Not precisely a watchmaker, but just as accomplished, you’re actually looking at Casa Fagliano in action, famed manufacturers of polo boots for royalty, the rich, the famous, the bright, and the beautiful, here crafting Fagliano straps for Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watches. As you can see this year, a broad range of Reverso watches will be available with Fagliano straps.
You’re actually looking at Edward Fagliano, son of Rodolfo, founder of the house creating a Reverso strap in real-time. He’s executing the finishing of the cordovan right now. You can see the traditional tools that he uses and traditional materials. It’s always helpful to have a little bit of water handy. At the same time, you can see how the raw materials eventually turn into finished straps on the 2018 Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso collection.
Edward has been here all day working away within the Palexpo. You can see the finished product is a product worth the wait. This is Edward Fagliano of Casa Fagliano with Jaeger-LeCoultre creating Reverso straps from shell cordovan at SIHH 2018.
Polaris Memovox 9038670
We’re going to handle the entire Polaris collection starting with the charter member. Now, this is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox. It’s a limited edition of 1,000 pieces. This is new for 2018, and it is the anchor of the line. The 1,000 pieces featuring pronounced vintage cues including the triple crown, the one at two o’clock for setting the alarm, the one in the center for the bidirectional, internal bezel, and the one at four o’clock used to wind and set the timepiece.
Now, the vintage cues here other than the obvious layout of the case, dial, and crowns include a dramatically-domed, box-section sapphire. This is common to only two models in the line although all feature a more prominent sapphire. You can see on the Automatic With Date and the Memovox it’s downright domed in tribute to the plexiglass that’s featured on the original.
The other feature that is exclusive to the Automatic With Date and the Polaris Memovox is the vanilla coloration of the indices and hands. That is the nomenclature I’m advised to use by Jaeger-LeCoultre. It’s not quite a simulated patina, and it’s not a modern, contemporary white or lime green luminovo, but it does have a charming and warm, vintage appeal.
Now, the watch features a sunray inner dial with a grained hour-track. All the indices and hour numerals are applied. Of course, you can see in classical fashion there’s a bidirectional, rotating, diving-style bezel.
The watch is a diver, two hundred meters water-resistant. The timepiece features caliper 956, automatic Memovox internally. You’ll also note the presence of a rubber strap. I should note that across the board, the 2018 Polaris line is available on leather, either calf or alligator, available on rubber, and available with bracelets.
Now, you can see that the watch features a full-deploying clasp. The case-back, also vintage-inspired, features small deviation from the original. You can see the Super Compressor case icon from the original 1968 Polaris. This was previously inside the case. It’s a multi-back case for various reasons of sound transmission and water-resistance. Now, it’s on the exterior of the case-back. You can see 20 bar water-resistance still passing through the 1,000 hours control. This is a 42 mm timepiece in stainless steel and again, a limited edition of 1,000 pieces.
Polaris Automatic with Date 9068670
Moving on to the other vintage-inspired or I should say closely vintage-inspired reference in the catalog. We’re looking at the Polaris Automatic With Date. This is also a 42 mm watch in stainless steel. You can see the twin crowns, one for winding and setting the watch and the other for the internal, rotating bezel.
Once again, this is a dive-capable watch and once again, it features the combination of the Super Compressor case-back, 200-meter water resistance, the vanilla coloration of hands, indices, and numerals, as well as the dramatically, box-section sapphire. You’ll also note that the lugs of the watch across the board are nicely cropped, relatively short, and sharply down-turned. Even though, for example, this watch features a strap with conforming end pieces, it doesn’t have a whole lot of tendency to flare, pretty much holds straight down.
Also, you can see it equipped with a full-deploying clasp. It should be noted that this year many references will include rapid-release spring bars through the Polaris range. Now, you get those on the leather straps. They’re not compatible with the rubber or the bracelet, but on the leather alligator or calf, you do get quick-release spring bars and a clasp that can be removed without tools so you can rapidly swap between models. Okay.
Polaris Automatic 9008471
We’re going to step down to 41 mm for a moment. This is the Polaris Automatic 41 mm. You can see it’s a little bit distinctly vintage in appearance than the Memovox and the Automatic With the Date. The coloration of the luminescence is more modern. It’s a straight white. It still has the sunburst inner dial, and the grained outer track with applied indices and numerals and, of course, it does feature the internal rotating bezel.
The timepiece actually features a display case-back and it features a variant of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Automatic Caliber 898, which you can see to good advantage. The steel watches in the line feature tungsten rotors. The gold watches feature gold rotors. All are free-sprung, so it is a sports watch movement architecture. Unidirectional winding with ceramic rotor bearings, very tough. One-thousand hours controlled, these are water-resistant to 10 bar of 100 meters.
Now, you can see even this entry-level model does include a deployment clasp and this is a robust calfskin giving you a sense of the grain and coloration as well as the thickness of the cut used on this model. On it, you can also see the quick-release spring bars that I mentioned earlier. What I can’t communicate or at least can’t communicate visually is the sheer softness of the strap on the underside. As you can see, made in France probably by Camille Fournet for Jaeger-LeCoultre. This is buttery-smooth leather, as good as it gets. Think Hermes and you got the general idea.
Polaris Automatic 9008480 & 9008180
Okay, we’re going to move over to a different look for a moment. I want to show you a quick dial variation, so you can get a sense of the dial colors. The metallic finish of the center dial is more evident when you look at the Polaris Date with the blue coloration. It’s rich. It’s a medium blue. It’s best described as a sort of metallic-cobalted center, and a lighter take on navy on the bezel as well as the hour track. Quite handsome, you can see this one also equipped with a calfskin strap.
I’m going to jump one more time, give you a different aesthetic. Now, you can see the same watch, the same model, the same dial albeit on the bracelet that can be had with the line. Now, again, all models available with rubber strap, leather in calf or alligator as well as the bracelet. The bracelet, as is traditional with Jaeger-LeCoultre since the 1990s, is double the point with quadruple triggers, and there are two micro-releases. You can see the notch of the micro-release. It has that on both sides of the clasp. Jaeger-LeCoultre tells me that it’s the equivalent if you deploy both of adding one full length. Likewise, if you take them both in, it’s the equivalent of subtracting one full length.
You can see the pin-style construction of the bracelet as well as the contrasting finish satin down the center, polished on the outer periphery. If you look at it in relief against my white base, you can see that it is robustly aerated to allow the wrist to vent on a hot day, sweat, oil, moisture, grit being able to escape.
Polaris Chronograph 9028180
Okay, we’re going to do another switch right now, and I’m going to show you the Polaris Chronograph. Now, the Polaris Chronograph I should clarify, along with the other Polaris models, will be replacing much of what’s currently known as the Master Extreme line including the Deep Seas. If it seems like it has a bit of overlap with existing model lines, rest assured it is going to become more or less the exclusive sports watch offering from Jaeger-LeCoultre, so let’s talk a little bit about the Chronograph.
This is caliber 751 manufacture, still 42 mm in diameter. You can see how it has the same case profiling as well as the same contrasting finish with the bevel and high polish accentuating the curvature of the lug. The watch features vintage-inspired rectangular pushers.
A deliberate decision was made to minimize the impact of the Chronograph graphics as well as registers on the dial. They wanted the indices. They wanted the hour track. They wanted the general look of the Polaris to be persevered and thus you can see outboard a visual substitute for the rotating bezel of the dive versions. You can see a tachymeter-scale appropriate for a chronograph. They also decided that a twin register featuring seconds and chronograph minutes would be less disruptive.
Now, let’s take a look at the case-back. Deploy both sides. Okay, let me see if I can get it. There we go, sort of. Okay. Now, you can see caliber 751. Believe it or not, this is the first time that Jaeger-LeCoultre has issued a watch in which a caliber 750 family member was visible. You can see the column wheel. You can see a richly-textured Côtes de Genève of the tungsten rotor has been slightly blackened.
Again, you’ve seen this movement in Cartier watches, but you’ve never seen it in a display case on a Jaeger-LeCoultre. This one’s also 100 meters water-resistant. As you can see, the bracelet is similar in construction. There’s no difference from the previous Polaris bracelet that we explored.
Polaris Chronograph Rose Gold 9022450
Now, I’m going to take you to the top of the line. This is the Chronograph in rose gold. You do get a few changes when you go with rose gold. First, you get this unique anthracite dial finish, sunburst at center, grained outer, rose gold hands for center seconds, minutes, and hours plus registers. The rose gold watch, and this is important, comes with a rose gold rotor so you so get that upscale refinement. You can see the same quick-release spring bars that are used across the line.
This was a decision made by Jaeger-LeCoultre, and it was a conscious one not to go with some sort of proprietary, quick-release lug system. If you remember the master compressor extremes of the 2000s, they used standard straps. You didn’t have to get a custom strap but if you look at, for instance, the new Cartier Santos, the old Cartier Roadster, the IWC AquaTimers, the Hublot Big Bangs, Ferraris, and Unicos, you need special straps that are both more expensive and remove your option of fitting aftermarket straps to your watch. You still get the option of going aftermarket, and you still get a reasonable purchase price for the strap with the quick-release spring bar. Paddock does it, Jorn does it, and now Jaeger-LeCoultre does it.
Moreover, it gets a matching, double-deploying clasp in rose gold that too can be released. As you can see, push here to remove the clasp. It’s easy to swap straps with these watches. This could be described as a variation on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s fourth generation deploying clasp or simply the fifth generation. Whether you consider it by design to be 4.4 or generation five, it does have a reprofiled outer buckle, and it is quite handsome as well as quite substantial with a curvature to trace the arc of your wrist for good ergonomics. This is the Polaris Chronograph in rose gold.
Polaris Chronograph World Time 905T480 & 905T471
Okay, we’re going to swap one more time. Now, we have the mechanical flagship of the range. Forty-four millimeters in titanium. This is the Polaris Chronograph World Time. Forty-four, it is the largest. Titanium, it’s also the lightest. The smallest watch in the collection is 41 mm in steel, this watch is lighter than the automatic. You can see there are 24 principle time zones representing 24 cities, and you can also see that there’s a small arrow index next to those cities in which daylight savings time is observed.
As ever, indices and numerals are applied to the dial. It is a twin-register chronograph. Once more, you can see the movement within the case, tungsten rotors for titanium watches. This one’s 100 meters water-resistant, which is the minimum for any of the new Polaris watches.
This is the blue dial in titanium with a calfskin strap and we’re going to go check out the other aesthetic available, which is the black dial. Now, this is also titanium, opaline, or frosted hour track with the sunburst center. Both of these watches are handsome and I have to say though, there’s been some controversy on my Instagram about the size of the watches. They’re really both quite reasonably sized. On the wrist, you would swear the watch is a 42. Eyes closed, you’d swear it’s a 39 or a 40 because it is so light.
Now, the watch comes with a double-deployment clasp. As you can see, the double-deployment clasp body is actually made of stainless steel for durability and like other strap-worn members of the Polaris class of 2018, features the quick-release spring bars.
The watch is handsome, well-made, and the chronograph-architecture with column wheel and a vertical clutch is both crisp to operate and there’s no jump or stagger to the second’s hand. Plus, you can operate the chronograph continuously with no additional wear and tear due to the vertical clutch architecture. This and the Polaris Chronograph feature twin mainspring barrels and a 65-hour power reserve and though they do not feature dates, they do retain the hacking or stop seconds function of the underlying caliber 750 architecture. Both are also free-sprung with laser-welded hairsprings and unidirectional winding systems on ceramic rotor bearings for longer maintenance intervals as well as greater durability in practice.
We’re here at Audemars Piguet in 2018 at SIHH. AP may have the strongest across-the-board group of novelties. A mixture of tradition and some forward-thinking design and, one must say, the most traditional of finish. The timepiece that you’re looking at right now is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillion Chronograph.
Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon 26343CE.OO.D002CA.01
The timepiece, a 44 mm entirely in black ceramic. I can’t overemphasize the difficulty of achieving the double finish you see here. I’ll polish it so you can see it to a greater advantage. It’s the combination of the satin finishing and the polished finishing that creates contrast and avoids a monolithic aesthetic. This requires diamond tools but it is done in traditional finish and so you get virtually indelible ceramic. You get it with a level of artistry that you would get with titanium, with stainless steel, with precious metals from Audemars Piguet.
The watch, a 44 mm, contains a caliber 2936 that is entirely openworked, an impressive power reserve for a power-intensive complication like the tourbillion. Seventy-two hours, manually wound, you can see it is a traditional, column wheel chronograph and once again, I apologize for my fingerprints. I have been all over these watches. The timepiece features a traditional column wheel architecture with a lateral clutch beautifully executed.
This is caliber 2936, 28 for the jewels and 299 parts. You can see it’s beautifully executed. All of the levers are beautifully satin-grained. The edge of everything that has an edge with beautifully rounded encollage, a mass of darkened metal and ruby pivots. It’s also a chronograph and thus highly practical.
While it is 20 meters water-resistant and thus not your first choice for diving, Audemars Piguet has those two this year. This is the 44 mm, Audemars Piguet Tourbillion Chronograph from the Royal Oak Offshore collection.
Royal Oak Offshoure Tourbillon Blue 26343CE.OO.D002CA.02
I showed you the beige-accented variant and now we’re looking at the blue-accented variant of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillion Chronograph. A timepiece 44 mm in black ceramic that is accented subtly across each version. This one features beautiful cyan-blue accents for the registers for chronograph minutes and seconds as well as accented hands. The watch features a manufacture caliber 2936 with 28 pivot jewels, 299 components, and the functionality of a chronograph as well as a tourbillion.
Now, if you look at the front of the watch, you can see the specular-finish of both the tourbillion carriage and the tourbillion bridge. Sometimes known as black polish, sometimes known as poly-noir in its native Français. You can see this is an openworked watch so technically it’s the Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillion Chronograph Openworked.
A limited series though Audemars Piguet isn’t going to hold itself down to a specific number. You can see it’s a traditional column wheel, lateral clutch chronograph with the levers and the horns of the chronograph interacting with the column wheel and the lateral clutch, beautifully driven off the fourth wheel of the main drive train, moving in and out at center.
Now, it’s 20 meters water-resistant, so though it’s highly scratch-resistant in ceramic and quite light on the wrist, it’s not necessarily an aquatic watch but you have a Royal Oak Offshore Diver for that. Seventy-two-hour power reserve, tourbillion chronograph, ceramic case, and blue accents, this is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillion Chronograph Openworked caliber 2936.
Royal Oak RD #2 Concept Watch 26586PT.OO.1240PT.01
You’re looking at the big piece, the flagship of this year’s Audemars Piguet offerings. This is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak R&D #2. Research and Development, technically a prototype, it presages some that may be seen in production in the not so distant future.
Now, there are a couple of highlights here. First and foremost, what you can’t see and that’s the heft of this watch in the hand. Entirely in platinum, nevertheless, the watch is record-breaking in its profile. The standard Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, the 15202, is 8.3 mm thick. This watch in total, 6.3 mm and that in spite of being an automatic winding, perpetual calendar with moon phase.
Let me see if I can take a little bit more of my grime off of this beautiful sapphire crystal. Now, the watch is designed with a few nods to history. First and foremost, the 1955 perpetual calendar with the first-ever leap year phase indicator. Now, that ancestral model featured its moon phase at 12 o’clock and thus so too does this one. With photo-realistic moon phase, you can see the watch also features the signature tapisserie cut on the pantograph machine, beautifully galvanized blue.
Let’s talk a little bit of tech here. The movement inside is Audemars Piguet caliber 5133. Now, it’s based on the essential architecture as you can see of the 2120 movement. You can see the same annular rotor born on four, ruby-roller bearings, skeletonized rotor, 40-hour power reserve beating away at a stately, traditional 19,800 vibrations per hour.
This is an all-timer among base calibers but it’s not the complete story because in order to make a movement less than 3 mm thick in a watch less than 6.5 mm thick, the total is 6.3. it was necessary to innovate in ways the company hitherto never had. Thus, the company established in 1875 has only ever issued two R&D models, this being the second with production intent but nevertheless a prototype serial number. I have to say that the watch, a 41 mm across is almost Olympic-like on the wrist.
Again, the slim profile of this watch cannot be overemphasized and its mass in full platinum with matching bracelet and clasp impresses. Intellectually impressive, artistically impressive, this is a watch that a fortunate few may be able to wear in the near future. For now, this is the Audemars Piguet R&D #2, the world’s thinnest automatic, perpetual calendar.
Since I know some will ask, how does the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak R&D #2 Perpetual Calendar wear? Well, you can see on my 16 cm circumference wrist, it’s still broad at 41 mm. It wears like a larger watch. The timepiece is immense lug to lug at over 52 mm for the 41 mm case and I say immense because you wouldn’t expect that of a watch so flat it’s almost flush with my skin when buckled down. Nevertheless, the feeling of platinum case, bezel, bracelet, and clasp is incredibly impressive, technically impressive, physically massive.
Royal Oak Jumbo 15202IP.OO.1240IP.01
We’re looking at Jumbo, a novelty for this year, technically reference 15202IP. This is the one you’ve all been talking about. A combination of the traditional 39 mm case, 8.3 mm thick with platinum bezel and the debut for 2018 is a titanium bracelet on the original Jumbo.
Now, clearly, there’s more to it than that because you can see the dial is anything but the normal, though the blue-galvanized is generally the rarest of Jumbo dials. This is something else. A distinct gradient from almost cobalted at center to blackened at its outer edged, this is the petite tapisserie turned on a pantograph the old-fashioned way, but with a coloration that is entirely specific to this model. It’s going to be a rare piece. Rest assured that if you’re not already on the waiting list, you’re going to be sitting for a while. A boutique exclusive it’s important to note, so make friends with your Audemars Piguet factory store.
A timepiece featuring a variant of the caliber 2120. I believe this is caliber 2121 because of the date. Featuring the skeletonized, golden, winding rotor in a beautiful rose gold tone. Of course, an annular winding mass, it looks like a single-sided rotor, it actually runs the full circumference of the movement and it’s born on four ruby rollers. Forty-hour power reserve, this one, a heritage movement that is created and finished in-house by Audemars Piguet.
The 40-hour power reserve operates in tandem with a charmingly anachronistic 19,800 vibrations per hour beat rate. An ultra-thin caliber, an ultra-thin watch, and yet, rendered like you’ve never seen before. This is the 15202IP with platinum bezel, gradient tapisserie dial, and a titanium case and bracelet.
You’re looking at the wrist shot we all waited for. This is the new Jumbo 15202IP in platinum and titanium on my 16 cm wrist. If you’ve wondered, now you know and I’ve got to scram per AP
What we’re looking at here is perhaps the flagship novelty of the entire show, not just the brand, the Earth GMT 45.5 mm in white gold. The watch is part of a series of 33 that will be offered. It’s the subject of no fewer than three separate patents, so let’s see where all that brain power went.
Now, the watch has three separate displays of time on the dial. You can see the primary dial, luminescent. Absolutely no conservatism here with the smoked sapphire hours track. There’s a second display that you can read at what would conventionally be two o’clock on the dial. Driven by the GMT pusher on its flank, Greubel Forsey is nothing but if not user-friendly and readable.
Then, you have a 360 degree, blue globe that will show you northern and southern hemispheres. On the reverse side, you have world time. Now, it’s important to note it gives you world time in both the regions that feature daylight savings or summertime or those that do not and they’re color-coded such that you can see the white ones show you where daylight savings is observed and it’s readable at the center of the dial. Then, outboard you have the 24-hour format with black indicating those that do not observe daylight savings time.
The watch itself is approximately 16.18 mm thick but it’s more wearable than you might expect despite being almost 46 mm in diameter thanks to the tightly downward-turned, white gold lugs. It’s actually an excellent ergonomic proposition because of the case-back that’s broad and principally flattened.
Now, you do get an awful lot of refinement for your money with full deploying clasp. Anything but an anonymous, generic piece, you can see this is expressly made for Greubel Forsey. Paired with a beautiful and substantial alligator leather strap, black with a monotone stitch.
It’s important to talk a little bit about the watch. Three patents, let’s talk about the topography. Twin mainspring barrels, manually wound, the watch beats away at 21,600 vibrations per hour in refinement that should be standard in the watch industry. It features a decoupling device inside one of the serially mounted mainspring barrels to prevent accidental over-winding despite being a manually wound piece.
You can see there’s a power reserve of what would conventionally be three o’clock on the dial. Seventy-two hours and just beneath it, you can see the poly-noir or specular finish of the full balance bridge over a balance that’s inclined characteristically at Greubel Forsey’s candid angle of 30 degrees. Watchmakers and watchmaking theory have determined that 30 degrees is the most common angle of a wristwatch on a forearm, thus the logic of the 30-degree angle.
It also takes circuits of 24 seconds so you can see it’s actually twice the speed of conventional tourbillion and for good measure, it’s free-sprung to make it resistant to shock-induced timing deviation. Of course, there is also a stop works included and that was just brought into play.
The timepiece, easy to read, user-friendly, and incredibly deep. You can see the depth of the movement, approximately 10 mm, makes it almost like gazing into a maze of high horology. You see sapphire. You see rhodium. You see what are effectively [Foreign Language 00:26:57] or nickel-copper bridges made of nickel, copper, and zinc and beautifully frost-finished with a mirrored encollage.
Every standard of finish of traditional horology plus a few you may not associate with high horology are included. I would be remiss not to talk about the use of synthetic sapphire. It helps to make the 3-D globe entirely visible including in profile and it also provides a beautiful combination of box-section sapphire with a domed profile at its terminus at the top. Again, this ability is one of the keystones of Greubel Forsey along with user-friendliness.
The watch is big, beautiful, bold and again, with only 33 being made in white gold, it is destined to remain rare. The flagship of Greubel Forsey for 2018, this is the Earth GMT.
The watch is a novelty in many respects. You can see aesthetic as well as engineering and this is a production piece in prototype form. Remember, this may not be completely representative of what makes it to user’s hands, but it’s very close.
Proto #3, lets’ go. The watch is 44 mm in white gold. It will be built in a series of 33 pieces and the timepiece is actually reasonably slim at 15.3 mm, much of that due to the expensive, box-section sapphire, beautifully domed and rounded. That’s how you know time and effort was put in. Along with the differential finish of the flanks, you can see alternately polished and satin finish and not in just one direction. Vertical satin finish of the case-back and a circumferential satin finish of the case-back.
Of course, you get deluxe appointments in terms of strap and buckle, but this one’s all about constant force and to that end, the caliper here will run for 60 hours with constant amplitude due to the use of a spherical differential that acts as a constant-force device.
Obviously, this is not the first constant-force device to find it’s way into a wristwatch. Fusee found their way from first clocks and then later pocket watches, but they’re imprecise, they’re inexact and with so many moving parts, they’re also inefficient. Remontoir d’egalite, whether a linear spring or a spiral will create uneven pulses during the discharge of energy in quantized form to the escapement. So, how do you make it constant? You do it with a spherical differential.
The movement features twin mainspring barrels in series manually wound. Well, it’s a 60-hour power reserve at which point it will actually stop itself, but it could, in theory, run longer and that’s the key. The timepiece is beyond requirements in every respect.
Now, the timepiece also features an angled balance in characteristic Greubel Forsey-fashion. The idea being that in addition to the differential and its constant-force effect, you also have an angled balance. According to watchmaking theory, the most common angle on a wrist is 30 degrees and hence the angle of the balance.
You also note a unique bridge on the case-back and that is part of the stop seconds, zero-reset mechanism. The watch is all about precision and you cannot have a precise watch that cannot be set precisely. Hence, not only does the balance stop itself, but the second’s scale, which is a deadbeat second for more precise reading, will also reset itself to the index at 60.
Now, you can see the watch is immaculately finished. A few more technical details before we move on. The twin mainspring barrels in series also feature a decoupler, so rare in the manual-wind watch category. You cannot accidentally overwind the timepiece. It’s a three-hertz beat rate and as you can see, it is both free-sprung for precise regulation and resistant to shock and vibration and blessed with an overcoil architecture, which in addition to the differential and the angle of the balance, helps to ensure concentric beating and thus greater accuracy. It’s a layered effect creating chronometer levels of accuracy and there’s plenty of aesthetic value as well.
As you can see, the nickel-copper bridge is beautifully frost finished with immaculate, mirrored encollage. The movement is deep and thus pleasing. You look into this movement rather than at it. Now, it’s also a practical timepiece so robustly luminescent. It’s an easy timepiece to see in any light, bright, low, or no.
Greubel Forsey timepieces are designed to be user-friendly and they’re also fairly easy to wear. It’s worth going back to the shape of the lugs. You can see how they turn downward almost 90 degrees with respect to the sweep of the case-band. Thus, even on my 16 cm circumference wrist, I can easily wear this 44 mm timepiece. This will be a series of 33 pieces in white gold. This is the new for 2018, Greubel Forsey Différentiel d’Égalité.
We’re looking at the Double Balancier, the Double Balance. This one is a cerebral timepiece. Now, we first saw the watch in a different metal in a different aesthetic in 2015. If you can imagine the Philippe Dufour Duality that went to college and received an advanced degree, that is the Double Balance from Greubel Forsey.
Now, the watch is easy to wear. Let’s start with the basics. Forty-three millimeters across the round of the case, the timepiece is just over 13.3 mm thick. You’ll note how the lugs turn down sharply, almost 90 degrees with respect to the case-band.
Let’s talk about exterior appointments first. A deluxe, rose gold, double deployment clasp, Greubel Forsey does not skimp when it comes to rich appointments and the strap is one of the softest and most substantial you’ll ever encounter. Case finish, polished, dome-style bezel, polished lugs on the flanks and hoods, polished case-back in a vertical satin finish, as you can see. To the case-band itself, it has sensuous compound curves. It’s poetry in rose gold.
Now, the aesthetic of the watch also changes internally as we now have the gold base but black anthracite dial. The timepiece featuring Greubel Forsey characteristic traditional finish with a modern take, but let’s talk about the movement first. Twin mainspring barrels running in series, they actually feature a decoupler such that you cannot accidentally overwind this manual-wind watch. That is all too rare and as you can see in traditional fashion, train jewels have been set in chaton. Now, it beats away at three-hertz times two. The timepiece with a 72-hour power reserve powering twin balances and twin escapements.
Now, according to watchmaking theory, 30 degrees is the average angle of the watch on the wrist, thus both balances inclined at 30 degrees but in different planes. This helps to equalize the action so that when on is any given position, it will run relatively quicker with respect to gravity and the other will slow down due to gravitational effects. They tend to cancel each other out on that basis alone.
Now, you add a differential. There’s a differential between them that helps to average out the error of the two. Then, there’s actually a metric display between them that is the display of the differential action that makes it tangible to the human eye. Thus, we wind up with watches that feature differential planes of balances, overcoils to promote concentric beating, and a differential to equal out their error. Very precise.
The timepiece also has incredible depth to it as you can see. Approximately just a little bit over 8 mm of total movement depth so you don’t look at this movement so much as you look into it. Now, it’s also robustly practical. Luminescent and easy to see in any light, the watch is user-friendly as well as eye-friendly.
The timepiece features a combination of traditional finish. You can see it in the encollage. You can see it in the poly-noir of the continuously-rounded specular finished balance bridges. Also, note that the balances are free-sprung for greater resistance to shock and vibration.
You’ll also note on unusual finishes such as the distinctive quasi-industrial frosting that’s evident in all Greubel Forsey timepieces. What sets this one apart may be its conservatism. It’s considered to be one of the most outstanding and, at the same time, least outré of Greubel Forsey watches. Simple by their standards, also muted by their standards, this is for the more conservative Greubel Forsey buyer. It’s also considered an appealing point-of-entry to Greubel Forsey ownership. Although, as ever, Greubel prefers to speak about value not price and I have to say in this echelon of horology, that’s downright refreshing just like their watches.
You’re looking at the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter. Now, if you recognize this sunburst, green dial from Montblanc’s only watch of 2017, you’re absolutely correct.
1858 Chronograph Tachymeter
Whereas you could not buy that one, or at least not more than one, 100 examples of this serial production piece will be offered. Unlike the bronze, this one is in stainless steel, the prince of metals. Beautifully finished and in a 40 mm size that almost anyone can wear, this marks the entry into mainstream watch sizes for the venerated Montblanc Villeret collection.
Now, the Villeret watch is built by the company formerly known as Minerva and you can still see their signature on the movement are exquisitely finished. Now, this isn’t the 1629 oversized chronograph caliber seen in the 44 and 47 mm 1858 watches, this is the caliber 1321 originally created in 1921. It is a monopusher and I’ll demonstrate that. A monopusher, column wheel chronograph with a 50-hour power reserve beating away at a stately 18,000 vibrations per hour. 50 hours of power reserve, manually wound, and impressively 100 meters water-resistant. Stainless steel, 40 mm, Montblanc Villeret caliber, green, sunburst-style with exquisite cathedral-style hands all in stainless steel. One hundred …
1858 Compass Monopusher
We are looking at both versions of the Montblanc 1858 Compass Monopusher Pocket Watch Chronograph. Now, you can see this example in rose gold that we haven’t investigated before features an obsidian dial, same 24-hour calibration in a rose gold case this time. Both watches can be worn as pendants on chains, conventional pocket watches. They can be worn as wristwatches and they can be set up as table clocks.
Now, while we covered the titanium version with the Dumortierite dial, the obsidian is new to the channel as is the extraordinary, bun-style strap designed to make this 60 mm titanium or rose gold watch wearable as a wristwatch. This thing is like Bane’s mask. This is so over the top, you have to love it. Twin pin buckles to hold a 60 mm watch on your wrist.
Both are limited edition pieces. Both powered by the Montblanc caliber 1624 that displays time in a 24-hour format. We’re actually going to take a look at the rose gold example now sitting in the bun-strap, fully made up for your wrist. That may be the craziest wristwatch of SIHH 2018. This is Montblanc for 2018, the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Pocket Watch With Compass. Wear it as a pendant, pocket watch. Wear it as a wristwatch, set it up as a desk clock.
We’re here with H. Moser & Cie. This is the Pioneer Centre Seconds. As you can see, the watch is reasonably sized for a large sports watch, 42.8 mm. It’s actually quite slim in profile and that’s where you note that the characteristic recessed lug profiles of Moser have been used to create a tonal contrast.
Pioneer Centre Seconds
In fact, the watch itself is a bit of a materials hybrid featuring a capped titanium structure. So, it’s rose gold capped on top of a titanium core, which helps the watch to actually feel light and wieldy, almost like ceramic on the wrist. You can see something you may not have expected is the immense domed sapphire, which you can’t really see in the profile shots online but also the quality of the strap that’s fitted and the fact that it can pull straight down unlike so many straps on sports watches. It doesn’t have any built-in virtual flare.
Supple and fluid, it’s also nicely vented on the underside so it can aggress against the skin while not trapping oil, heat, or sweat. It’s a nicely complimented, customized pin buckle for easy on-the-fly adjustments. The dial is upscale with applied rose gold indices, polished and faceted. Fully luminescent, it is a sports watch after all. You can see that the fumé-style dial, which I’m told amounts to something like 70-80% of Moser watch sales is present and correct with its gorgeous sunburst-style and its gradient shading.
Turn the watch over, you can see what is known as the HMC 230. Now, it’s a three-day, automatic winding caliber with a number of features that are characteristic of Moser. Features their platform escapement that can lift out for quicker servicing, which you’ll notice within the escapement itself there’s a free-sprung balance so it’s robust as a sports watch should be. Takes and holds precise regulation in the face of bumps and disruptions. Also, you’ll note that dual-anchored structure of the balance bridge for still more bracing against impact and blows.
This is the characteristic finish that you’ll note on many Moser movements with sort of double-scrolled Côtes de Genève. One hundred and twenty meters water-resistant, so you’ll never need to take it off, this is the Moser Pioneer Center Seconds at SIHH 2018.
Moser Endeavor Flying Hours
We’re making a second pass on a watch I consider one of the best in show and probably the best-dressed watch overall. It is the Moser Endeavor Flying Hours. Now, let’s start with the titular complication. It’s a take on the star-wheel, but it’s not a star-wheel. For one thing, the hours don’t move, unlike a star-wheel.
Let me explain why you see two numbers at the same time because 10 minutes prior to the turn of the hour relative to the hour disc that’s currently showing, you will see both the succeeding and the preceding hour and then, as it continues, roughly 10 minutes after it will lapse and you’ll see only the current hour. So, let me show you that one more time. As we approach 10 minutes to the turn of the hour, you can see the 11 appears and then, approximately 10 minutes after, you can how the 10 disappears.
Now, it works very simply. Over a 12-hour period, you have four discs or three discs I should say. Each of the three discs has four numerals, thus 12 hours in the day. There’s a sapphire scale featuring radio minutes and a beautiful tri-spoke arrangement at center. Then, you have an incredible blue, fumé dial that’s a signature of Moser. Something like 80% of their production is the fumé dials. Beautiful, funky blue as they call it.
Now, the Endeavor case. I can’t overemphasize that it’s a sensuous, fluid, almost multi-metal profile with a sort of convex curvature of the bezel and then there’s a camber from side to side. It’s actually cambered, the whole case rounded from the top to the edges. You can see how their concave lug profiles not just polished, but there’s a beautiful satin finish and vertically-arrayed satin finish at the mid case.
The take away here is that this is a complex shape. You can see that even the height of the bezel itself is not constant. It’s fluid, it’s flowing, there’s nary a straight line or an angle on this case. Now, turning it over, the watch features a three-day power reserve. It’s an HMC 200 base, so that is their three-day automatic caliber, free-sprung with as you can see and I may as well show you, free-sprung with a full balance bridge for shock resistance.
Now, it also features the platform escapement that pulls out for faster and easier servicing. Now, that is the base movement. HMC 200. The whole movement is called the C806 and that’s because the modular complication was created by Moser’s sister company, Hautlence, the two being owned by the MELB Holding Firm run by the Meylan family.
Now, this watch is handsome in white gold, 42 mm. The timepiece is actually remarkably slim at about 12.2. Although it’s complicated, automatic and the flying hour, it is not terribly thick. The timepiece, as you can see here, is featured on an unusual choice of strap. It’s a kudu and if you’re wondering, that is an East African antelope. Beautiful and supple, it’s also minimally treated and wonderfully raw. This is the H. Moser & Cie Endeavor Flying Hours. Sixty pieces, all sold out at SIHH 2018.
Now, this watch actually debuted last year at SIHH. Thirty pieces in white gold and as you can see, quite ornate. This is known as the H. Moser & Cie Heritage Moon. So, technically, part of the Heritage collection, one of Moser’s four core lines. The watch is just over 42.2 mm in diameter and just over 12 mm thick, which is remarkable considering the complication. More of that in a moment.
You can see the watch actually stretches back aesthetically to the ancestral Moser watches sold during the 19th century, the 1800s. You can see the sort of wire-style lug punctuated by what is known as a [French 00:44:12] case band, guilloche in the traditional rose lathe fashion, subsequently enameled and fired.
You can see how it adds nuance, texture, and differential shading to a case band that is also sensuously curved from top to bottom and lengthwise. Moving to the crown itself, note the vintage profile, oversized when viewed head on, slightly flat when viewed from overhead. The watch is all about craft arts and you can see that recapitulated in the dial which is Grand Feu enamel.
Now, this is beautiful, white, and thick and as you can see, highly floored in its style with a few hidden secrets. Now, you can see at center there’s a small 24-hour hand that’s hidden amongst the palm or pear-style primary hands. The watch features a traditional railroad-style seconds track, outboard with stylized Roman numerals. The moon phase I’m told, is accurate to over 1,000 years in contrast to the industry standard of approximately 122 or in the lesser example, approximately two years and seven months.
Turning the watch over, it’s powered by a manual-wind caliber with a 70+ power reserve, case-back power reserve scale. You can see the unique double-crested côtes de Genève employed by Moser as well as twin jewels set in screw-fixed chaton, almost a tribute to pocket watch heritage of which Moser has quite a bit. You’ll also note the 3/4 style of the bridge reminiscent of a pocket watch and if the watch has a vintage association that I could particularly pin down, it’s almost a sense of Russian, 19th-century aristocracy, the most decadent court in Europe as it was once known.
Now, the balance features a platform-style with a full-anchored balance bridge, a Breguet-style overcoil to promote concentric beating at any orientation relative to gravity beats away at a very stately 18,000 vibrations per hour so it’s easy to see and easy to appreciate. The balance has a large polar moment to make up for the slower beat. Right now you can see the escapement, just barely, but you can see the anchor and the escape wheel are actually fashioned out of gold and naturally, this free-sprung, dual-anchored balance bridge structure with the balance. The whole escapement lifts out for easier modular servicing of the caliber.
The timepiece is part of the Heritage collection, one of the four cardinal collections of H. Moser & Cie, 30 pieces crafted. This is H. Moser & Cie at SIHH 2018.
Heritage Flying Tourbillon
Now, we’re looking at a watch that is new for this year. It’s a flagship complication. This is from the Heritage collection. It’s the Heritage Flying Tourbillion. So, let’s start with the basics. Enamel case band. Just like last year’s moon phase, it is rose lathe cut to create the texture in the white gold and then the enamel is cooked onto the top. Translucent so you can see the texture, it adds a handsome recurring motif as well as tonal variation that breaks up the flank of the white gold case.
Now, the case, as with last years moon, is about 42.2 mm, but far thinner in profile. The lugs are designed to evoke vintage timepieces and Moser does have a formidable pocket watch legacy. In many respects, this watch almost feels like a pocket watch from the 19th century adapted for wrist use. Grand Feu enamel dial with a wonderfully thick disc. You can see it’s beautifully white, glossy rich, almost like a piece of liquid surface into which you can plunge your finger. It’s enticing in more ways than one with the traditional railroad track outboard for the minutes, stylized Roman numerals. You can see that the hands are pear-style and beautifully cobalt blue.
Now, the Flying Tourbillion is a highlight. You can see it keeps no secrets, but beautiful flying structure with no top bridge. It’s also free-sprung so it does feature some modern technology amidst the Classicism. Now, you know just how beautifully evacuated and visible the escapement is as it sits side saddle on the tourbillion cage to minimize its polar moment as well as its outcropping and effect on the balance of the structure. Now, you can also see the beautiful toothed-track along which it drives itself.
Turning the watch over, you can see this is a very practical everyday complication. Automatically driven, virtually everything you see, save the pivot jewels, is created by Moser or its sister company Precision Engineering. They do make small parts, which is exceptional even for a large firm. For a small one, it’s rather unheard of to the point that they actually make parts for a lot of larger brands you may have heard of.
Golden-rotored, beautifully double finished with a combination of directional grain and a frosted center, you’ll also note that the large mainspring barrel is set in a basically screw-fixed chaton.
If there’s anything that I can compare this to, it’s a pocket watch adapted to the wrist and I’ve often paid reference to the Russian Imperial Court to which Moser was a watchmaker in the Classical era. It feels like something decadent, 19th century, and Romanov. It’s beautiful. It has emotional pull and being German-Swiss, you also have a level of reliability of serviceability that you’ll never find in a vintage watch. This is the H. Moser & Cie Heritage Flying Tourbillion at SIHH 2018.
Venturer Big Date & Endeavor Comparison
With a piece of a Moser watch, this is how Moser uses a limited space to create a large date on its Venturer Big Date. As you can see, there’s a top disc and there’s an underlay. In order to sequence the months, they’re superimposed with the upper disc featuring one through 15 and the lower disc featuring the remainder. You’ll also note that it is bidirectional and if you want to know what this looks like in practice, here is the Venturer Big Date. This is H. Moser & Cie at SIHH 2018.
Now, it’s easy to get confused when viewing profile shots on the internet between the Endeavor case and the Venturer case. The difference is crystal clear when you see them in person and a comparative study’s warranted.
Let’s talk briefly about the Endeavor. The Endeavor is best described as fluid. You can see that is has nary a right angle and precious few straight lines. The recess of the lugs are deep with a rich compound curve. You can see they are of high polish and they contrast with a vertically-satin finished flank about the crown.
You’ll also note how the concave bezel is not just concave in the fashion of some of the tech references, but it has unequal height. It’s actually higher at six o’clock and at 12 o’clock than it is along the case band and you’ll note the watch has a pronounced camber from end to end. Now, you also note that there’s a minimally domed profile to the sapphire. Remember that because we’re going to see a contrast with the Venturer.
Okay, here’s the Venturer. The first thing you notice is that the bezel is minimized. It’s quite thin. It’s almost like a silvered-halo about the funky blue dial on this Venturer Big Date. Let’s turn it over. Now, you can see the contrast in the profile of the crystal. It is immense rounded, almost bubble-like. You can see just how small but regularly-shaped and convex the bezel is. Now, you still have the signature Moser concave-style lug flanks, but they’re a little bit less complex, a little bit more broad and sweeping and rounded and inset.
Therein lies the real difference. The Endeavor case is a bit more rounded, a bit more fluid, a bit more intricate with a different shape to the bezel and a less domed sapphire. The Venturer with less emphasis on the regularly-shaped, convex bezel, that huge, domed sapphire and some distinctions in the profiling of the case. You’ll also note if you look at the case-back sapphire that there is some camber to the Endeavor’s case-back sapphire whereas the Venturer is a little bit more flattened and broad from end to end across its case-back. Now, you know the difference between an Endeavor and a Venturer case here at Moser & Cie.
We are with Richard Mille and we’re looking at the RM7-01. This watch is a standout because it’s a world premiere. The first-ever setting of gems in ceramic. You can see the black ceramic in conjunction with the rose gold forming a hybrid case. It’s worth mentioning up front how this is achieved.
First, the channeling is created by etching into ceramic. It’s actually milled and drilled to fit a cradled, brilliant-cut diamond. Now, the way this is done is the gem is first set in a cradle of gold, which is then nestled into the channel.
This is the smallest Richard Mille women’s watch. It’s approximately 45.66 mm from end to end and not including a little bit of flare of the strap and across, it has a width of approximately 31.4 not inclusive of the crown. The crown, by the way, beautifully set.The timepiece features a paved center dial. It is luminescent so this is a true sports watch. You can view it in just about any light thanks to the indelible qualities of the sapphire and the ceramic. It’s designed for long-wearing durability.
Horology is not neglected as you can see. This is the CRMA2, automatic movement, which you can see is both … if I can get my focus on the controls … both free-sprung and equipped with a full balance bridge, both features robustly shock resistant. It is not the Pablo Mac Donough, nevertheless, it is solidly constructed and can take more knocks than a conventional ladies watch.
A sporting watch in the Richard Mille tradition, you can see this combination of gold and ceramic, diamonds and sapphire, beautifully executed in the iconic tonneau shape. This is the Richard Mille RM7-01 at SIHH 2018.
RM53-01 Pablo Mac Donough
You’re looking at the Richard Mille flagship novelty for 2018. This is the RM53-01 Pablo Mac Donough, a polo specific, shock-absorbing watch that features both extended power reserve tourbillion and nearly indestructible packaging. Let’s talk first about what you’re getting.
Outside is TPT carbon fiber, which is both robustly anti-shatter, that is shatter-resistant, and almost impossible to scratch. Effectively indelible material like sapphire ensures the watch is both feather-like and incredibly robust. Now, the bare case dimensions are not inclusive of the crown, 44.5 mm across and from edge to edge, the lug to lug dimension is effectively 50 mm within hundredths of an inch. We’re going to call it 50 lug to lug. I can tell you in the hand, the watch almost disappears. On the wrist, I would guess it’s 30 mm round watch because it’s so light and wieldy.
Let’s talk about what makes this watch truly distinct from previous efforts. If you remember the original 2012 Pablo Mac Donough, the RM53, then you remember it was a dramatically-cowled, tungsten carbide, tourbillion piece that basically protected itself against shock with extreme and ultra-dense metals as well as very small apertures for viewing the time and the tourbillion. This watch reclaims the iconic Richard Mille tonneau case with a distinct switch in material composition. Though you can’t see it, the crystal is effectively 2.4 mm thick and constructed in the same fashion as a laminated Mercedes S-Class window or even armored glass.
A single piece of sapphire is taking and then to avoid continuous runs through granular patterns, the back is superimposed over the front and between them a polymer layer is seamlessly laminated and no, you can’t see any of this in person. The result is that you can strike the crystal with a polo mallet, with a hammer, with a sledge or pile driver and effectively create nothing more than a crack. It’s virtually shatter-resistant even as a complete spider web of fractures, it’s not going to give way because of the laminated structure.
Now, that’s part one. Part two is the fashion in which the tourbillion is actually protected from shock up to a rated level of approximately 5,000 g. Now, you can see the suspension of the movement via two sets of pulleys. There are 10 pulleys in total and there are two independent, steel wires that bare the movement. In high tension and suspension, there is a titanium frame outboard that acts as a brace for the movement and then there are twin mainplates flanking the guts of the movement, front and back, in grade five titanium and blackened.
Nineteen jewels, the highlight of the movement is the fact that it is both shock resistant and the tourbillion beating away at three-hertz has a robust, manually-wound, 70-hour power reserve. The timepiece is one of 30 that will be constructed. The retail price is going to be approximately $900,000 USD. The important thing to remember is this is a watch that is first and foremost shock-resistant and effectively indestructible in the course of normal sports, polo included.
Graded for Argentine sports star and polo ace, Pablo Mac Donough, the watch features signature Argentine blue on its hybrid textile and leather strap. Moreover, it’s important to note the timepiece features subtle blue accents about its chapter ring with blackened coloration and luminescent indices. A full-featured sports watch, you’ll note the same in the script of Richard Mille as well as the tone of the skeletonized hands.The watch is ethereal. The watch is airy. It’s almost like a snowflake in weight. Big, voluminous, and light on the wrist, while at the same time having unmistakable physical presence and a very functional purpose for those who engage in extreme sports or simply those who had wished to. This is the Richard Mille RM53-01 at SIHH 2018.
You’re looking at the RM53-02 Pablo Mac Donough on my 16 cm circumference wrist. Now, you can see how a true dream watch actually fits. Two things I want to emphasize, it’s light and compact. Don’t think of it as a 44.5 mm wide watch because lug to lug, it’s about 50 and it wears more compact than that. I would say if you can wear a typical, modern Supercase, 40 mm Rolex on an integrated, solid, end link bracelet, you can wear this watch with comfort. It even weighs less.
Now, critically, not only does the TPT carbon fiber case and mostly air-filled case reduce the mass on the wrist, but the watch has practically been mounted on a Velcro strap. If you’re Pablo Mac Donough and for all practical intents and purposes adhesion and comfort as well as a minimum of encumbrance are priorities, you can wear this watch comfortably and fix it securely with a clever and, let’s face it, realistic Velcro fixation.