Professional Jeweler Archive: Innovation in Geneva

July 2004


Innovation in Geneva

High-end companies focus on in-house development and new collections at SIHH

Jewelers who sell or plan to sell any of the 16 brands that introduced their newest timepieces at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, Switzerland, in April can look forward to an innovative year. The annual event, which features largely Richemont watch brands, was lively and brimmed with innovation and creativity.

The designs tilt toward the masculine, but several brands highlight designs exclusively for women, notably the traditionally masculine brand Audemars Piguet. Conversely, the large dive brand Panerai refocused on its core pieces, showing not a glimmer of diamond or a scale of galuchat (stingray). Panerai also announced plans to develop its own movement.

Numerous Highlights

Among this year’s numerous highlights was a complement of new IWC dive watches, reintroduction of the already hot Cartier Santos, the first in-house movement from the young company JeanRichard and a bold new collection by Dunhill.

The IWC debuts include an expanded Aquatimer collection with several innovative features and rugged looks. The collection effectively replaces several of the company’s GST sport models. IWC also debuted its own tourbillon, placed on display atop its acclaimed caliber 5000-series automatic movement. A new IWC skeleton model is carved from a pocket watch movement and includes a minute repeater with hammers visible as they gently chime the time.

The attention to male wrists continues at Roger Dubuis, which offers a first-time sport line made in steel rather than the precious metals of its other collections. A tourbillon is included.

The Santos line-up includes a large-case men’s model; a thin, luxurious men’s dress model; and a new yellow gold, diamond-set version for women.

The new JeanRichard Paramount JR 1000 features a rectangular steel or gold case as well as the brand’s first in-house movement, called the JR1000, an automatic model with a 48-hour power reserve. During the past year, the company’s new managing director, Massimo Macaluso, and its new product developer/marketing manager, Stefano Macaluso, have worked together to forge a new identity for the company, which now has become a true timepiece manufacturer.

If the names are familiar, the two are sons of Gino Macaluso, the esteemed head of the Sowind Group, parent of Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard.

Additional Tech

Jaeger LeCoultre’s Gyrotourbillon garnered much attention – its three-axes tourbillon orb appears to float inside the intricately constructed masterpiece. Even jaded Geneva veterans lined up at a special viewing scope to see the horological tour-de-force in action.

New women’s watches tend to feature oval cases (Piaget, Cartier and Girard-Perregaux) or tonneau models (JeanRichard, Baume & Mercier and Audemars Piguet).

The latter brand, which has deemed 2004 the Year of Women, released numerous models for thinner wrists. Baume & Mercier showed a fun “Hampton White” collection of Hampton models, each with a mink bracelet.

Vacheron Constantin produced a limited-edition enameled piece with a “wandering” hour hand that swings along an arc at the lower half of the dial. The hand and intricate dial design represent the travels of explorers Zeng He and Magellan.

A. Lange & Söhne developed a new caliber with its “Double Split,” which places a flyback chronograph and a double rattrapante mechanism on one watch.

Dunhill’s Bold Look

Dunhill recently hired dynamic timepiece designer Tom Bolt to build its timepiece collection. The results are bold and brimming with British personality. With names such as the City Tamer and the Bobby Finder – plus Bolt’s use of the highly regarded Swiss company Dubois Depraz for watch construction – Dunhill has combined strong design with top-notch assembly. The Bobby Finder SP 30, for example, has a patented feature in which a turn of the bezel retracts the chronograph pushers into the case, thus protecting them. Some of the other models feature unusually large sapphire crystals and inventive bezel controls and winding mechanisms.

– by Michael Thompson

JeanRichard places its first in-house movement, the automatic JR 1000 (inset), in this Paramount JR1000. JeanRichard, Rutherford, NJ; (717) 581-8387,
This Minute Memory model is from IWC’s expanded Aquatimer collection. The secondary hand independently shows elapsed time in minutes. IWC, New York City; (800) 432-9330,
Jaeger LeCoultre demonstrates its manufacturing expertise with this Grande Complication Gyrotourbillon I. The tourbillon rotates on three axes, giving the wearer a multidimensional view of the delicate work inside. Jaeger LeCoultre, New York City, (212) 891-2363,
Dunhill’s Bobby Finder SP 30 features a patented bezel that, when rotated, retracts the chronograph pushers. Dunhill, New York City; (212) 891-2410,
Montblanc’s best-selling Timewalker collection now includes this chronograph. Montblanc, Murray Hill, NJ; (908) 508-2322.
Parmigiani’s Forma XL Minute Repeater is the company’s first use of gold and platinum for this larger case. The rose gold model is shown. Parmigiani Fleurier, San Juan Capistrano, CA; (949) 489-2885.
Cartier’s Santos 100 (51 mm by 42 mm) was delivered to some retailers in April and is selling quickly. Cartier, New York City; (212) 753-0111,
Baume & Mercier Hampton Spirit PM (left) and XL Moonphase. The moonphase is an automatic movement assembled by Dubois Depraz. Baume & Mercier, New York City; (800) 683-2286,
Piaget simplifies its Altiplano with this award-winning XL model, a larger case with a 1950s look. Inside is Piaget’s own hand-wound mechanical movement. Piaget, New York City; (800) 628-4344,

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications