The first luxury watch trade show of the season, Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, has just come to a close. Known for highlighting experimental pieces that value beauty, luxury and concept over function, it's closed to the public and accessible by brand invitation only, making it one of the most exclusive horological events of the year. Ranging from Panerai’s $143,000, 3D-printed Lo Scienziato to Richard Mille’s million-dollar Split Seconds Chronograph, these are the best, most unique and most expensive timepieces presented at SIHH.
Photo Credit: Panerai
Panerai Lo Scienziato
The entirely skeletonized tourbillion Lo Scienziato is dedicated to Galileo Galilei, whose inventions and scientific discoveries laid the foundation for the mechanical timepieces of today. But Panerai’s hero piece brought that movement into the 21st century. Using direct laser sintering, a type of 3D printing, 0.02mm titanium layers were welded together to create pieces for the watch’s movement. Due to the new manufacturing process, the watch is 35 percent lighter than the brand's previous skeletonized pieces. The wearer can admire the hand-wound mechanics and cutting-edge technology through the sapphire crystal backing. Only 150 pieces will be made.
Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux
One of our absolute favorites was the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux. Inspired by the brand’s mystery clocks from the early 20th century, the old machines seemed to float within their glass casings. Cartier’s latest wristwatch mimics this illusion with a tourbillion movement that is seemingly suspended in the center of the watch face. Rotating every hour with the minute hand, the mechanics are actually supported by four transparent sapphire discs anchored to the dial’s perimeter. Only 100 of these will be made.
Photo Credit: Greubel Forsey
Greubel Forsey Signature 1
Most Greubel Forsey timepieces ring in much closer to the half-million dollar mark, but this entry level watch gives new buyers a chance to check out all of the beauty and craftsmanship of the brand. The company is known for using high-end materials and every single piece of the movement—from the springs to the gears—is hand-made in-house using centuries-old Swiss techniques. It lacks tourbillion and automatic movement, and some of the glitz of its equally-priced contemporaries, but the company hopes it will appeal to well-heeled traditionalists.
Photo Credit: Jaeger-LeCoultre
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon
To celebrate the 85th anniversary of their iconic Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre has reimagined the classic timepiece. The latest edition marries the brand’s spin on the tourbillion, the gyrotourbillion, and the Reverso into a piece that is 30 percent thinner than any of their previous attempts to combine the two. This one-of-a-kind movement can be seen from the front of the watch face below the dial where the gyrotourbillion seems to be floating in the air. The watch features a dual-time display, a day and night indicator, 24-hour mode, and a tourbillion-driven seconds hand. Only 75 pieces will be produced.
Photo Credit: A. Lange & Söhne
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon
With its classic watch face and simple color palette, A. Lange & Söhne’s Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is unassuming on the exterior, but its movement is actually quite impressive. The perpetual calendar indicates the days of the week, month and year, all in subsidiary dials that can switch instantaneously. It’s so precise that the next estimated adjustment will have to be made in March 2100. The moon phase display will remain accurate for another 122.6 years. The interior tourbillion rotates once a minute (visible through the back cage) and maintains accuracy throughout a 50-hour power reserve. Maintaining a frequency of 2.5 Hz, time is displayed accurately to within one-fifth of a second. Only 100 of these will be made.
Photo Credit: MB&F
MB&F HM6 SV
Known for their unique timepieces (or as they refer to them “horological machines"), MB&F presented the HM6 SV this year, an updated rendition of their HM6 Space Pirate that combines their breathtaking mechanics with 3D sapphire housing. Two interior domes rotate vertically to show the hours and minutes, while two turbines spin horizontally to regulate the winding system. Nine sapphire crystal domes, five on top and four underneath, are vacuum sealed together in a high-temperature oven to allow the wearer a full 360-degree view of the piece’s inner workings. Only 100 pieces will be made available.
Photo Credit: Richard Mille
Richard Mille RM 50-02 ACJ Split Seconds Chronograph
USD $1.05 Million
Richard Mille and Airbus Corporate Jets have combined forces to create the RM 50-02 ACJ Split Seconds Chronograph, a timepiece so detailed it could make anyone dizzy just by looking at it. The watch face replicates the look of jet windows and is made up of a combination of high-tech alloys like carbon nanofiber, aluminum lithium lital and titanium aluminide, the same materials that are used in the Airbus for its jet turbine blades. On the watch face sits the power reserve indicator, torque indicator, function indicator, hours, minutes, seconds and a number of other complications. The split second tourbillion can be seen through the watch’s skeletal front and back. Only 30 pieces have been made.