Into day two, and the offerings from watch brands like Van Cleef & Arpels and Vacheron Constantin continue to dazzle the eager crowds of watch connoisseurs at the Salon de La Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. From spectacular design pieces to complicated technological masterpieces, these are our top picks from day two.
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Papillon Automate Watch
Described by one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ watchmakers as “an intimate companion on the wrist,” the Lady Arpels Papillon Automate watch once more proves that the French maison truly is in a league of its own when it comes to poetic time telling. Equipped with a sophisticated automaton module, it captures the fluttering of a butterfly, the pace of which dictated by the movement of the wearer. When you’re not under the spell of the graceful movement of the butterfly’s wings, you can turn your attention to the range of artistic crafts executed on its dial, which are equally impressive.
Why we love it: The Lady Arpels Papillon Automate is maybe one of the most mesmerising timepieces I’ve seen. An unapologetic romantic, Van Cleef & Arpels, used its mechanical ingenuity—this piece has four patents pending—to create something as beautiful and poetic as this one.
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers
For the Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600, Vacheron Constantin reaches for the stars—literally and otherwise. A true work of genius, the Celestia features a suite of 23 astronomical complications, which appear on the front and back of the timepiece. It provides three modes of reading time–civil, solar and sidereel– as well other astronomical indications such as sunrise/sunset, equinoxes and solstices, perpetual calendar and even a mareoscope, which shows the relationship of the sun, moon, and tides. It is to date the most complex wristwatch Vacheron Constantin has created.
Why we love it: The Celestia is a worthy follow up to last year’s much talked about Ref. 57260 pocket watch, which with its 57 complications—including a Hebrew calendar—is touted as the most complicated in the world. Crafted by Vacheron Constantin’s Atelier Cabinotiers, a team comprised of the brand’s most brilliant watchmakers and craftsmen, each piece will be customised to the owner’s preferences.
Piaget Altiplano 60th Anniversary
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Altiplano, Piaget released two new models–one manual and the other automatic. Inspired by the aesthetics of Piaget’s first ultra-thin watches, the anniversary editions will feature the historical logo, applied gold hour-markers and a central cross—just as it appeared in its maiden pieces. The pieces come with a sunburst dial in a deep shade between cobalt and midnight blue—again as a tribute to the maison’s first Altiplano pieces which carried exactly this hue.
Why we love it: Piaget’s Altiplano is the epitome of understated elegance. It’s barely-there appearance and feel makes it a timepiece that you’d want to wear all the time. The faint blue cross that runs across the dial makes the piece visually intriguing and exhibits perfect proportions.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Limited Edition
Baume & Mercier released at SIHH the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, a piece inspired by the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe—one of the most iconic cars in American motorsports. At the heart of this piece is an automatic movement with flyback chronograph function, which allows the wearer to move from one chronograph reading to another with the single button push. Framing the bi-colour dial are modern Arabic numerals, while the snailed horizontal chronograph counters are offset by its tachymeters scale, which highlights the speed record set by the car.
Why we love it: A bold sports timepiece, this would be a worthy addition to the collection of watch aficionados also crazy about motorsports.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Carbon
Roger Dubuis doesn’t disappoint with the Excalibur Spider Carbon, which is only one of the five spectacular novelties it presented at SIHH. This striking black and red timepiece features a spider-type skeletonised case with a DLC- treated crown and case back and container—all executed in titanium. The light yet sturdy material is combined with multi-layered carbon for the case, and vulcanised rubber on the “container,” and red lacquer lighting up the bezel. Last but certainly not the least, the Excalibur Spider Carbon features the first-ever movement plate, bridges and tourbillon upper-cage made entirely in carbon.
Why we love it: Just like most of Roger Dubuis timepieces, the Excalibur Spider Carbon has a strong aesthetic, with its bold red colour and honeycomb dial inspired by automobile radiator grills, which creates a bold background against the watch’s flying tourbillon movement. What’s more, it’s light, extremely light, thanks to the choice of materials and the brilliant skeleton movement and dial.