At the 11th annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie this week in Geneva, Switzerland, the 14 high-end watch brands that exhibit once again expect women to claim the fastest-growing segment of their markets. Debuts from brands including Cartier, Baume & Mercier, Piaget, Roger Dubuis and Girard-Perregaux focus on feminine wrists.
Diamonds and colorful bracelets lead the stylistic direction, and dials have gone beyond traditional mother-of-pearl especially at Cartier. Cartier's innovation lies in a technically difficult dial that results in a simple yet ingenious "secret" dial pattern visible only to the wearer. The Cartier double-c logo is placed in a checkerboard of diamonds for a stunning yet subtle effect.
Piaget will turn heads in the U.S. with its newly revived Polo line, which was formerly its signature piece. Again it's at the forefront of a strong gold statement. However, Piaget's first-ever steel watch will likely be the most important brand-specific debut. The new watch, called Upstream, features a rectangular case that also opens to serve as the watch's buckle and is made in gold or steel. Upstream's debut is widely discussed here.
High-end technical watches from Roger Dubuis, Girard-Perregaux, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars-Piguet and Cartier's Privee collection feature stunning executions replete with tourbillions and perpetual calendars.
This year's SIHH show runs from March 27 to April 3. Next year the show moves to Jan. 18-25 and adds recent Richemont Group brands IWC, Jeager-LeCoultre and Lange & Söhne.
- by Michael Thompson