It's been a pretty long Day 1 at SIHH 2017 in Geneva, and it began with a green plant. Yes, an artificial green plant was the first thing I saw at SIHH. What it was doing at the entrance of one of the most important luxury watchmaking fairs in the world? I’m sure if I took the time to find out about the story behind that plant, it would all start to make sense. And that, in many ways, is what the luxury watchmaking industry is all about. To understand why someone would pay up to hundreds of thousands for a wristwatch is to understand the ideology behind each of the timepieces presented today. But that’s a story for another day! For now, here's a round-up of the most interesting pieces spotted on Day 1 of SIHH 2017.
Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra Flat
The Drive de Cartier made its debut last year with the pretty damn cool coussin shaped case. For 2017, the collection has been extended, and the Drive de Cartier Extra Flat is a pretty sweet timepiece. Its white gold case, grey alligator leather strap and the fact that it's the only Drive de Cartier watch currently without a gilloche dial make for a really interesting combination. But the one thing that gives it just that extra push is a manually wound movement. Oh, and it’s less than 7mm thick.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Artistica Mystérieuse
Just look at the thing. Fantastically built, the entire watch from case to dial is openworked to offer an aesthetic that straddles art and architecture. The mystérieuse in the name comes from the fact that telling the time is not exactly apparent with this watch. A subtle rotating indicator indicates minutes and the hour by the flying tourbillon that orbits the dial.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Carbon
With a focus on ‘disruptive’ materials for 2017, one of the Roger Dubuis' offerings is a carbon watch. If you’re thinking carbon cases have been done a million times before, you'd be right, but the carbon composite material used for the case here extends to the mainplate and the bridges, within making it one of a kind. What’s even cooler is the honeycomb patter you see between the bridges (inspired by the grilles of race cars) is made from pure carbon, the brittle material artists usually draw with.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Limited Edition
The Shelby Cobra is back, this time, a manifestation of the Clifton collection. Where the first collaboration watch was done to honour Carroll Shelby and the second one was dedicated to the drivers, the third has been built in collaboration with Peter Brock, the man who designed the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. Stylistic elements of the iconic car have inspired the look of this watch, including the rotor designed after the rims and even a matte black rim on the caseback with a thin blue line to make it look like the tyres of the car. Best of all, the half-blue, half-white dial is the exact thing you'd see as the Cobra leaves you in the dust.