The French fashion and jewelry brand Cartier has recently updated its best fake ladies’ Le Cirque …
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.
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.
Entire books are written about Cartier as well as about the Cartier Tank watch itself, and also the simple story that Louis Cartier established the Tank design on the shape of WWI tanks found in the Western Front is probably familiar to a lot of readers. Cartier made clocks, pocket watches, and women’s wristwatches earlier wristwatches for men began to catch – and when guys did start to wear wristwatches, Cartier played a significant part in their wider adoption and the Cartier Tank was an important part of the transition from pocket to wrist.The initial wristwatch for men is sometimes believed to be the Cartier Santos from 1904, made by Louis Cartier – at the least, this started to help enhance men’s wristwatches. It was certainly among the earliest watches made as a wristwatch, instead of a pocket watch accommodated with straps for the wrist, or “strap watch.” Called a “silly ass fad” by some around the first part of the 1900s (that I find beautiful), men’s wristwatches still needed the time to be approved by the mainstream. Back in 1916, The New York Times admitted that wristwatches were a passing craze, and WWI saw soldiers beginning to strap watches for their wrists for practical reasons.Louis Cartier (1875–1942) made quite a few watches which are still part of Cartier’s lineup now, such as the Santos, Tank, and Tortue. At the time Louis perhaps thought that the future of wristwatches supposed non-round instances. This would also help distinguish them in the round pocket watches that had simply been adapted to your wrist. The very first Cartier Tank watch was made in 1917 and the story goes that those initial models were given to General John Pershing of the American Expeditionary Force and his officers. In 1919, a total of six Tank watches were produced, but an icon was established, and new versions have followed frequently since – you can view more about early twenties along with other ancient Cartier men’s watches here.
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