For the last few years, the luxury watch industry has witnessed the resurgence of vintage-inspired watches and more affordable timepieces. However, at this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH), the impressive selection of technologically advanced offerings suggest that the appetite for innovation – and the high prices it commands – has not disappeared completely.

Slimming down

One of the most talked-about watches at SIHH 2018 comes from Piaget. The company publicly unveiled the flattest mechanical wristwatch ever made: the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Watch, which is just 2 millimetres thick.
Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH Van Cleef Arpels Lady Arpels Plan  tarium 4
Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH Van Cleef Arpels Lady Arpels Planetarium1
Van Cleef & Arpels’ Lady Arpels Planetarium shows the actual positions of Earth, Mercury and Venus around the sun, and the position of the moon around the Earth.
Audemars Piguet also introduced a slim new model: Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. The self-winding watch comes equipped with a perpetual calendar and a 2.89-millimeter movement.
Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD2
Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD21
Slightly thicker is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, which has a 2.89-millimeter movement.

 

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Both watches are concept pieces and not available commercially – at least for now. But German watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne has displayed two notable complicated watches that are available for purchase.
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A. Lange & Söhne’s 1815 Homage to Walter Lange was produced in honour of the company’s founder, who passed away last year.
Piaget‘s Altiplano Ultimate Concept Watch purports to be the thinnest mechanical wristwatch of all time.
Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Watch
sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Watch1
At 2 millimetres thick, Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept Watch purports to be the thinnest mechanical wristwatch of all time.
One, the 47,000-euro ($57,550) 1815 Homage to Walter Lange, was produced in honour of the company’s founder, who passed away last year. Its second-hand jumps once per second, and, because it can be stopped and reset to the zero position, can also be used as a timer.
At a higher price point is the A. Lange & Söhne $147,000 Triple Split, a watch with a simple name but a lot of parts – 567 in the movement, to be precise. This is a type of watch known as a split-seconds chronograph, which lets you time two events simultaneously. Most split-seconds chronographs can only “split” times less than a minute apart, but the Triple Split can do so over seconds, minutes and hours.
sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH AA. Lange & Söhne’s $147,000 Triple Split has 567 pieces in its movement.

Independent innovation

Among the most visually stunning watches on display at SIHH is Van Cleef & Arpels‘ Lady Arpels Planetarium. The $245,000 watch puts the planets of the inner solar system on your wrist, showing the actual positions of Earth, Mercury and Venus around the sun, and the position of the moon around the Earth. The time is displayed by way of a comet that moves around the dial once per day.
Continuing the out-of-this-world theme, Officine Panerai debuted the highly complex L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT. It’s the company’s first watch with a moon phase complication.
sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH Officine Panerai LAstronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT1
sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH Officine Panerai LAstronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT Officine Panerai’s L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT is the brand’s first watch with a moon phase complication.
But this year’s SIHH has also shown that small independent brands are often willing to take bigger risks than their larger rivals.
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Greubel Forsey, who specializes in exotic complicated timepieces with elaborate hand-finishing, displayed the new GMT Earth world-time watch, which features a miniature globe rotating inside the mechanism. It’s more a wearable art object than a watch and, at around 610,000 Swiss francs ($635,760), is priced as such.
Catering to more understated tastes, independent Belgian brand Ressence has unveiled it’s Type 2 e-Crown Concept. The watch, which was created with iPod co-designer Tony Fadell, contains a solar-cell chargeable electric motor and connects to an app that can automatically set the time or change the time zone.
sihh Luxury Event: Discover the Best Luxury Watches at SIHH Ressence Type 2 e Crown Concept1
Ressence’s Type 2 e-Crown Concept was created with Tony Fadell, one of the designers behind the original iPod
These models are all notable departure from the classic watches that have been in style recently. But watch enthusiasts of any taste and budget can appreciate the inventiveness the industry’s watchmakers and designers still have to offer.
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