Are we pumped for SIHH 2018 yet? Just like the “holiday shopping season” and beginning around the same time, it seems like the new-product announcements get earlier every year. With still more than a month to go, the 2018 models that we will get to see in Geneva in January have already started coming in. The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) watch industry trade show, just like its organizing body the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), has continued to grow and evolve each year, adding more brands as well as a day where the show is open to the public for the first time in 2017 – this time around, it will be Friday, January 19th, 2018. Now with a total of 35 brands, SIHH 2018 promises even more variety than in previous years.
The movement in this piece is your hand-wound IWC caliber 94805, which defeats in a leisurely 2.5Hz and features 96 hours of power reserve. The movement could be admired through a sapphire display caseback and features an inlaid insignia that celebrates the 150th anniversary of this brand.These two exceptionally complex special anniversary watches will be generated in extremely small numbers. Just 50 pieces of the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition “150 Years” (Ref. IW504501) will be produced using a cost of $110,000. IW590202) is limited to just 15 pieces for a price of $253,000. Founded in 1868, IWC prepares to celebrate its 150-year background in 2018 using five limited models from different collections, along with also the IWC Da Vinci Automatic Edition “150 Years” watch has become the most available among them. Apart from this “150 Years” from the names, all share the lacquered dial with printed numerals — all white except the Da Vinci Automatic you see here in blue. This is not simply a “small-seconds” version of last year’s three-hand Da Vinci Automatic (hands-on here), as it represents an in-house motion alternative using a new member of IWC’s 80000 household of movements.The Da Vinci has gone through quite a few redesigns because it was introduced in 1969, housing the first Swiss quartz movement, the Beta 21. IWC reimagined the Da Vinci collection last year to re-introduce a round Da Vinci situation silhouette with prominent articulating lugs. One thing I could say for the new Da Vinci watches is that articulating lugs are often something that I love, however — and perhaps it’s only me — it seems like the dressy, restrained character of this round Da Vinci is currently fairly well represented at IWC from the Portofino and Portugieser collections.
You already know that SIHH is one of the two most important events for the watch industry, as its exhibitors – while much fewer than at the biggest industry trade show, Baselworld – represent many major and influential brands, and this is the time of year when they introduce their most important new products. Vis-à-vis Baselworld – where around 300 brands represent the breadth of the watch industry from high-end and mainstream to obscure startups – SIHH has always carefully maintained an image of exclusivity and “prestige.”
So, while a few brands do introduce models in the “mid-level luxury” range that the average person might be able to consider saving up for and possibly actually wearing… you can expect a lot of skeletonization, avant-garde designs, artisanal techniques and haute horology finishing, “high complications,” precious materials, and stratospheric prices. Haute horlogerie is in the name, after all. It has largely been a spectator’s show for fans of high-end watchmaking, but with recent industry trends emphasizing more “down-to-earth” (it’s all relative) models, some balance and variety can at least be hoped for.
SIHH 2018’s 35 Exhibiting Brands
The Richemont Group along with some independent brands long represented the handful of SIHH exhibitors. However, the show’s 2016 edition added a “Carré des Horlogers” section with nine “artisan-creators and independent workshops” and expanded that number in 2017. This year, the Carré des Horlogers brands are up to no fewer than 17, with the primary exhibitors (referred to as “Historic Maisons”) at 18 for a total, again, of 35. The primary exhibitors are joined by Hermes, and the Carré des Horlogers adds five brands with Armin Strom, DeWitt, Ferdinand Berthoud, Élégante by F.P.Journe, and Romain Gauthier. See the full list of exhibitors in the image above.
From a media perspective, Baselworld has tended to spread our resources very thinly in past years with simply too much to cover at once, so with some prominent brands having moved from Baselworld to SIHH, we can hope for some balance between the shows. Around 20,000 visitors are expected this year, and the FHH promises improved facilities and connectivity in order to make our job of bringing you high quality content more efficient – so we’ll see what that’s like in January. That’s just a glimpse into our point of view in preparing for the show.
We’ll continue providing news of new products ahead of the show – if mostly only renders and official product images from the brands with basic information before being able to see the watches in person to photograph and evaluate them in their glorious and gritty reality. SIHH 2018 runs from January 15th to the 19th, and again, the last day is open to the public with tickets on sale at the SIHH website. sihh.org