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.
Considering that the total complexity of the hand-wound Caliber 853 triple calendar movement inside and the apparent contemporary desire for bigger cases, the dimensions grows even in the Large Duoface’s 47mm by 28mm measurements to 49.4mm tall by 30mm wide. Concerning thickness, the watch sits a reasonable 10.9mm high. Truly, the joy of a Reverso like this comes in the double faces and world class finishes. It really sits in a category of its own with no real peers, also that I have a feeling a lot of people are going to drool over this particular watch. Even those folks who, somewhat correctly, feel that JLC is dependent upon the Reverso to the point of interchangeability will agree that this watch is a good reason why.The 853 manifests itself in 2 dial executions on the Tribute Calendar — foremost with the silver ‘front’ dial of the watch which shows a split day/month aperture and a moonphase index using a pointer date encircle at 6:00. It has more information than many might be accustomed to seeing in this a little number of real estate but it stays extremely well-balanced, as a result of textbook uses of symmetry and comparison between the beveled dauphine hands, employed rose gold markers, and the gorgeous silvered texture of the dial itself. And speaking of that silver dial, it acts as an antidote, counterbalancing the rose gold’s warm tones with a cold, refined masculinity that is only a joy to behold — something that couple rose gold watches can put claim to.Before we flip the watch above, allow me to discuss the movement itself for a minute — that the hand-cranking 853 hums along in a comparatively low 3 Hertz, or even 21,600 vibrations per hour, even granting an energy reserve of around 45 hours. On paper, higher oscillations are always more of a joy to behold, but because there is no running moments hand on this Reverso, there’s no visual indication that the watch is running in a lower rate. Granted, we get a moonphase indicator rather, so it is hardly a terrible trade-off.
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