(Bloomberg) -- Next year, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) will move out of the cold.
The mid-January show for the timepiece industry will move to April in 2020, to better align with Switzerland’s other premier watch trade event, Baselword. It’s one of a series of such shuffles as the industry reorganizes to better market to its global audience. (This will be Audemars Piguet’s and Richard Mille’s last year at SIHH, which primarily features brands owned by parent company Richemont. Van Cleef & Arpels is already gone.)
Amid the organizational changes, journalists and buyers can also expect to see new ideas in products once the fair opens its doors on Jan. 14. Preshow teases so far show a return to more complicated watches after several years of simpler pieces, for example. Case sizes will continue to be scaled down, and designs will look more vintage.
Some trends are continuing: blue-on-blue colorways show no sign of slowing, nor do efforts to produce more and more movements in-house. Here are a handful of highlights that have surfaced ahead of the show.
IWC will roll out new models in its most emblematic and successful line, the Pilot’s collection. These will include the Pilots’ Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium, The watch is the first in the company’s Top Gun sub-brand, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Navy’s fighter pilot school, to put a split-second-caliber chronograph into a Ceratanium case. (This patented composite material combines the lightness and toughness of titanium with the scratch-resistance of high-tech ceramic.) It’s also the brand’s first all-black Pilot’s watch.
Parmigiani Fleurier will unveil the latest in its flagship Toric Chronometre collection, whose cases have been famously designed by brand founder Michel Parmigiani, inspired by ancient Greek columns and other architectural examples of the golden ratio. The new model has a captivating slate gray dial with a hand-guilloche pattern that evokes the look of a pine cone, an example of the golden ratio found in the natural world. An in-house-made, chronometer-certified movement drives the javelin-shaped hour and minute hands.
Master jeweler and watchmaker Cartier, Richemont’s 800-pound gorilla, introduces an entirely new collection of tonneau-shaped (ovoid) timepieces called Privé, inspired by a pioneering watch design from 1906. The double-bracketed, oblong curved cases hug the contours of the wrist, with smoothly flowing bezels and winding crowns topped with cabochons. The most horologically complex Privé model is a skeletonized, rose-gold watch with a movement divided into two independent mechanisms, each hosting a separate time zone display.
Girard-Perregaux takes its relaunched Laureato collection, a modern revamp of a fondly remembered 1970s model, to its highest level of complexity with the Laureato Perpetual Calendar. The octagonal bezel that made its “me-decade” predecessor a standout frames a blue dial with the clous de Paris hobnail motif, here with an unconventional but eminently legible layout of subdials for the calendar functions. A user-friendly pusher at 8 o’clock quickly advances the date.
Montblanc continues to move beyond its role as a purveyor of fine pens and stake a claim as a high-end watch manufacture with its Star Legacy collection, whose stylistic cues come from chronograph pieces produced by Minerva, a historically significant watchmaking atelier Montblanc acquired in 2006. Among the novelties are two pieces in the Nicolas Rieussec family, with dials designed to resemble a 19th century “time writing” device, named for its French inventor, that was used to time horse races.
Iconoclastic independent watchmaker Laurent Ferrier, a former technical director of Patek Philippe, won the Men’s Complication prize at 2018’s Geneva Grand Prix—the Oscars of watchmaking—with his Galet Annual Calendar School Piece, a tribute to his days as a student. The outwardly simple but inwardly complex timepiece is now offered in a new “desert sand” yellow-gold case with a choice of two new opaline dials, inspired by the sober look of classical chess boards, in black or white.
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