⌚New Releases from SIHH and Baselworld 2019
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⌚New Releases from SIHH and Baselworld 2019

SIHH and Baselworld 2019


Yes, it’s here, the countdown has officially started, get ready for Chrono Hunters pre-coverage of the two biggest luxury watch exhibitions of 2019, oh, and a very happy new year to you all!

As I begin to write this article, tapping away happily at the keyboard of my computer here at the office, just outside of the window, I see the beginnings of yet another jet black January evening, rapidly closing in around me through the large window perpendicular to the desk.


I suspect many of us have now shaken loose those blurry midnight memories of some rather questionable renditions of Auld Lang Syne, no more than a mere two weeks ago, and yet, here at Chrono Hunter HQ, we are already eagerly marking off the days on our annual calendar watches with enthusiasm, as we set our sights firmly towards the two major watch shows that dominate the first half of the year within the horological community; Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève, generally considered to be the more high class event of the two shows, which begins on Monday 14th January, and runs until Thursday 17th January, and Baselworld, which is certainly the larger, brasher, all guns blazing event which takes place in March, from the 21st until the 26th.

2018 was a big year for the watch industry (and for those of us here at Chrono Hunter) with some of the most memorable, eagerly anticipated, and unexpected new watch releases of the decade hitting the shelves of authorised retailers around the globe, and, in seemingly less time than it takes to get our hands on a brand new 2018 steel ‘Pepsi’, our little planet has completed yet another revolution of that bright ball of burning plasma we saw an awful lot of last summer, and we’re already anticipating what will in turn be for watch lovers the hottest new releases this year, at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH from here on in for this article) and Baselworld watch fairs.


So with that in mind, let’s take a trip down memory lane at some of the noteworthy releases from the events of the previous year.

Among the many high profile releases we saw over the course of 2018, from historic houses such as Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Mont Blanc, Breguet, A. Lange & Söhne and Hermes to drop but just a few internationally and instantly recognisable names, there were also some surprise offerings throughout the year from the likes of Ulysse Nardin, Omega, Vacheron Constantin, TAG Heuer, Baume et Mercier, Tudor and Patek Philippe, a few of which we will discuss again in this article to feel all warm, fuzzy and nostalgic for last years high end wrist wear offerings.

The big story of course was Rolex, and the trio of new GMT MASTER II models with the new calibre 3285 which totally stole the show at last years event in Baselworld (even though Tudor did skim off a little attention with a ‘coincidental’ release of the all new Black Bay GMT).  


There was also an under the radar dial update from black to blue, of the entirely white gold GMT MASTER II ref. 126715BLRO.

Having finally delivered what the loyal fans, aficionados and followers of the brand had been calling for since first unveiling of the new reference 116718LN in solid 18K yellow gold way back during the Baselworld exhibition of 2005 (customers would be waiting a further two years for an all steel model to make an appearance within the catalogue) Rolex delivered the totally unexpected 126710BLRO in ‘Oystersteel’ with that glorious and instantly recognisable two tone red and blue ‘Pepsi’ bezel as seen on the original ref. 6542 ‘Bakelite’ and available only on a matching ‘Oystersteel’ jubilee bracelet, for the first time since the discontinued aluminium bezel ref. 16710 in 2007, and hasn’t everyone just gone mad for it!  


I remember seeing the first one of these that crossed my path in the autumn of 2018 briefly, only as it was changing hands to its new owner for the princely sum of around £17,500 (that’s more than £10,000 over the RRP!) - with today's resale values still very much in the region of double the asking price, you can see why there is such an incredible scramble from customers trying to obtain this particular model at Rolex authorised retailers the world over.



(The Rolex 126715CHNR that debued at 2018’s Baselworld watch fair)

But we’re not here just to reminisce about Rolex, however massive and in demand the 1905 founded brand may be, there were an awful lot of other interesting releases worth remembering from the year that saw the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore turn a quarter of a century old and commemorate this with a further steel chronograph model.



(The Royal Oak Offshore, a classic design reimagined by Emmanuel Gueit in 1993)


The new ref. #26237ST.OO.1000ST.01 in fact, a 14.4mm high, 42mm wide beautiful big bruiser of a watch complete with a that trademark distinctive blue ‘petite tapisserie’ dial flaunting crisp white gold hands and hour markers, ‘the future of first’ as the Le Brassus based company put it themselves in their advertising to describe this newest evolution since the 1993 original.   


Speaking of anniversaries, 2018 was the same year in which IWC (International Watch Company) marked its 150th year since being founded by American Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868, celebrating the occasion with no fewer than twenty-seven limited editions of classic production models.  

As we cast our minds back over the other big releases of 2018, let’s move on to talk about the coincidence of two of the most established watch brands in the industry, both of whom share a rich 150 plus years in the manufacture of swiss made watches, both of whom are still going strong to this day, and both of whom last year released a bold new chronograph model with bright orange accents and non metal straps (I can already sense that this has kickstarted the intense retrieval sequence via the hippocampus section of your brain, firing up numerous neurons and pathways in the memory process as you recall the specifics of those two previous watches).


If you were thinking of Patek Philippe and Omega releasing the Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A and the Speedmaster ‘Speedy Tuesday’ ULTRAMAN respectively, then give yourself a tidy round of applause, because the old grey matter is in tremendously fine form following all the free-flowing bubbly doing the midnight rounds a fortnight or so ago.


What is striking about the two models is that, how on paper, the specifications of the two watches have as many similarities as they do differences.


For example, both feature a bright orange central seconds hand atop of a non completely flat black dial.  Both feature an external case measurement of around 42mm, with a winding crown positioned at 3 o’clock and flanked above and below at 2 and 4 o’clock by polished chronograph pushers.  

Both feature a power reserve in excess of 40 hours, and both look incredibly cool and bring a feeling of exclusivity to lucky owners of the piece.



(Rock-et & roll - The minute hand within the chronograph sub dial at 9 o’clock is shaped to resemble ULTRAMAN’S ‘Beta’ Capsule from the show)


Patek Philippe Aquanaut

(The Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A)

However, the similarities begin to differ quite significantly from there, as whereas the limited edition Speedmaster ‘Speedy Tuesday’ ULTRAMAN gets by on the manual winding Lemania based caliber 1861 movement turning the cogs and springs and fiddly things, the Aquanaut is powered by the sum of the 308 seperate parts comprising the incredibly complex automatic in-house CH 28-520 C movement, equipped further with a flyback function and and additional 7 hours of maximum power reserve, over the 48 hours delivered by the Speedmaster.

Other exciting releases last year included the contemporary new Fiftysix collection from esteemed ‘Holy Trinity’ manufacturer Vacheron Constantin (the other two members as I’m sure you are already aware, are Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet)


These new watches were inspired by an earlier model from the back catalogue of same company, a deep-cut if you will (the reference 6703) which first debuted back in 1956.


The full line now comprises four additional models to the three that were revealed at SIHH 2018, and are available in either stainless steel or 18K pink gold, and range both in price and level of complication.


From the simplest, yet effortlessly elegant self winding three hander starting at just £10,100 you get a timeless silver dial displaying both arabic numerals and batons arranged in sequential fashion, a framed date window at 3 o’clock, all powered by the firms caliber 1326 automatic movement, with up to 48 hours of power reserve, and housed neatly within a 40mm stainless steel case.



(High-end needn't mean high-price - The FIFTYSIX in Stainless Steel, RRP £10,100)


At the other furthermost end of the collection, we arrive at the 18K pink gold Fiftysix Tourbillon, with up to 80 hours of power reserve and optimising a peripheral 22k gold oscillating rotor weight which revolves around the circumference of the 188 part caliber 2160 ultra-thin movement contained within the larger 41mm case


The full glory of the watchmakers craft can be seen through the transparency of the sapphire glass exhibition caseback, where the wearer is permitted to experience the joy of not just owning, but witnessing that glorious tourbillon movement, turning over a full rotation per minute, and beating away at a leisurely 18,000vph.

(price on request for this one, so head to your nearest Vacheron Constantin boutique for exact pricing details, but don’t expect change from less than £100,000).




(Without the rotor weight in the way, you can clearly see every detail that goes into finely decorating a movement as extraordinary as that of the Fiftysix Tourbillon)

Here at Chrono Hunter, we have been, figuratively speaking, very much keeping our ears to the ground, listening out for all the latest watch news and gossip that’s been surfacing as we lead up to the first of the two shows mentioned earlier in this article, SIHH, taking place in the Palexpo exhibition and conference centre, ten minutes downtown from the centre of the city of Geneva, Switzerland, which is unequivocally today the very heart of the luxury watch world.


New watches have been coming at us thick and fast ahead of the show, likely the result of the brands marketing departments not wanting to jeopardise future sales by being the last to unveil their new masterpieces in case all the punters have placed early orders with the rivals, or perhaps as I like to imagine, they’ve left the big cloth at home that covers the display case for the big reveal and need to get on with it.

Whatever the reason, here are three interesting new pieces that we think deserve your time if you happen to find yourself inside those hallowed halls of horology this coming week:

The Santos De Cartier ref. WSSA0013



(What a looker, available right now at the Cartier boutiques and later with authorised retailers)


Louis Cartier is widely credited with creating the first purpose designed men's wristwatch in 1904, for the legendary pioneer, adventurer and playboy Alberto Santos-Dumont, who was a significant contributor to the development of various forms of both lighter and heavier than air aviation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, after whom of course this collection takes its name.


While the collection to which this watch belongs is in no way new to 2019, this latest addition to the range looks undeniably stunning, and the Richemont owned watchmaker is sure to be on to a winner.

The iridescent metallic blue dégradé dial darkens from its centre to the edges as you track the sunburst pattern outwards towards the distinctive polished bezel with its unmistakable eight screws, transitioning from a rich, deep, inky indigo, almost to black.


The mirror polished hour and minute hands have been given a good coating of ‘Super Luminova’, giving this watch a far more sporty look and feel when combined with that mesmerising dial, and balanced with a subtle date window at 6 o’clock, with white numbers on a black date disc, this really is a great looking modern wristwatch that we are sure will sway many a new customer to the 172 year old marque.


The watch also features the patented ‘Smartlink’ and ‘Quickswitch’ systems that we have seen before on other models within the brands catalogue, so that the owner may dress up or down the watch in both size and appearance with relative ease, and with an in house caliber 1847 MC movement, 48 hours of power reserve, 100 meters water resistance and an RRP of just £5,900 (the same as the silver dial version currently available at retailers) this really could find a place on your own wrist in 2019.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Lamborghini Huracán Performante


Roger Dubuis Huracan

(This eye catching watch  takes its name and styling from the Lamborghini Huracán Performante LP 620-2 supercar used by the ‘Squadra Corse’ racing team and their rivals during the 2018 ‘Super Trofeo’ series in Italy)


There’s no question behind the motive for our second watch that you really need to check out during SIHH, as here at Chrono Hunter HQ, if we aren't talking watches, we’re talking cars.


If this happens to be your first sight of a Roger Dubuis watch, then buckle up, because the maverick watchmakers from Meyrin, a municipality of the Canton of Geneva located just down the road from this years exhibition hall and rather fittingly of their flair and futuristic space-age designs evident in their timepieces, almost right on top of the site of the Large Hadron Collider, or, as it has been more commonly referred to, 'the black hole machine’.


Roger Dubuis are currently making some of the coolest looking timepieces in the luxury watch industry to date.


Unveiled late in December 2018, this bold design with its openwork dial showcases the lightweight framework of materials that house the brands new RD630 automatic movement with its 12 degree inclined balance wheel that is chiefly associated with the auto manufacturer Lamborghini, which heavily influences the many design elements that make up this watch.


Seriously, it’s almost as if somebody at CERN broke out the prototype ‘shrink ray’ and pointed it square at the Sant’Agata production line and initiated the firing sequencer.  Zapp! Direct hit! One baby portable wrist sized Lambo that just happened to restructure its molecular sequence to that of a wrist watch during the process.


All over the watch are design cues taken directly from the exotic supercar, from the Pirelli tyre tread pattern to be found in the textured underside of the ‘Alacantara’ rubber strap, to a flurry of hexagons incorporated to the structural design of the watch that are usually seen adorning the Italian car makers grills, air vents, the reverse lever, the petrol filler cap, the steering wheel, the mirror controls on the door handle, the…well, you get the point.


Throw in a splash of signature Lamborghini yellow paint for the flourishes and finishing touches, and you have yourself one very special collaboration between two of the most expressive and exciting designers in the world.


The watch is limited to 88 pieces to be sold at Roger Dubuis boutiques only, so see it while you have the opportunity, as like the Lambo upon which it derives its name, it’ll go like the clappers.

Ressence Type 2 e-Crown


Type 2 e-crown

(The new Ressence Type 2 e-Crown - the future of smart-watchmaking)


Ressence is a watch brand unlike any other within the horological community.


Founded in 2010 in Antwerp, Belgium by industrial designer Benoît Mintiens, whose previous works have included aircraft cabins, high speed trains and medical equipment, Ressence landed onto the global watch scene at Baselworld the same year, with three prototype watches which were followed up with the release of the so called ‘ZeroSeries’ production run of 50 watches, during the spring of 2011.


However, it wasn't until much, much later (2017 to be precise) when the Ressence Type 5 dive watch came along, that your author became extensively aware of the brands existence, and began to truly appreciate the acute number of watches that this unique company was producing.


The new Type 2 e-Crown was first unveiled around this time a year ago as a concept watch, and the prototype of which went on to receive much interest during the SIHH of 2018.

Working in collaboration with Tony Fadell, often referenced as ‘one of the fathers of the iPod’ whose successful leadership as Senior vice president of Apple inc.’s iPod division gave birth to the pocket sized device that revolutionised the way we listen to music on the go, has co-developed here not so much an upgrade to the mechanical watch as it first seems, but more of a gentle step back on the kind of wearable technology we have seen of smartwatches in recent years, that loom large to present traditional watchmaking with a second ‘quartz crisis’.


The Type 2 e-Crown follows the brands distinctive visual aesthetics, as a result of the in house ROCS module (Ressence Orbital Convex System) used which causes the face of the watch to exhibit a state of constant change, due to the nested orbital dial revolving on satellite discs driven by a planetary gear train.


The e-Crown module itself comprises a total 87 components in addition to the 47 jewel entirely mechanical base ETA 2892 as to be found within the Type 3 and Type 5 watches from the same company.


The watch works by first setting the reference time by lifting a lever concealed within the caseback, and then adjusting similarly to other Ressence watches.

Once this has been set, the wearer can interact with the watch by tapping the crystal once to access the settings functions displayed within a sub dial of the watch, to choose whether they would like one of two different time zones displayed, or to set the watch via bluetooth with a companion app that can be controlled via your mobile phone.


The watch also features a fourth mode which is an entirely mechanical setting, for users who have a particular fondness for the traditional methods that a watch should function to tell the time.


The e-Crown module is powered not by only by stored kinetic energy from the movement, but by solar energy which is collected via 10 appetures on the dial which open and close when necessary to charge the module.


By double tapping the crystal, the watch awakens from sleep mode if it has not been worn for some time, and automatically adjusts itself to the correct reference time, without the help of any GPS or radio control.


The anthracite PVD titanium case of the watch will be available in two dial colours come April 2019, either Type 2A in Anthracite or Type 2G in Grey, and is priced at $48,800

The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève begins on Monday 14th January, and runs until Thursday 17th January.

Baselworld takes place later in March from the 21st until the 26th.


Chrono Hunter wishes you a safe and pleasurable experience if you are attending either exhibition.


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