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By Roberta Naas | February 22, 2016 | Watches
Mesdames et messieurs! The 2016 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva unveils the year's most exquisite watches from the industry's Swiss masters.
A deft blend of beauty and technology, the playful Cartier Panthères et Colibri Calibre 9915 MC watch ($183,000) offers an artful tableau on its dial: a diamond-adorned panther at rest with a hummingbird nearby. When the winding crown is pressed, the scene comes to life: A baby panther (hidden behind its mother) peeks out as though to chase the golden bird. Fun, yes—but functional too, for the hummingbird’s position on the dial indicates the power reserve of the new 367-part movement. Enshrining it all is an 18k white-gold case set with 314 brilliant-cut diamonds, while mama panther herself is bejeweled with 270 brilliant-cut diamonds, a pear-shaped emerald eye, and black lacquer spots. Ben Bridge, The Domain, 512-491-8014
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Vacheron Constantin unveils its new Fabuleux Ornements collection of timepieces. An in-house-made, ultra-thin 117-part movement powers each watch in this series celebrating the decorative arts of different cultures. This version ($135,000), based on Chinese embroidery, is crafted in 18k gold and features a jade cloisonné dial with hand-engraved leaves of mother-of-pearl and pink opal surrounded by 145 round-cut diamonds. Just 20 pieces will be made.
The complex Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Tourbillon 1950 (price on request) features an in-house-designed and -built 60-second tourbillon escapement and an ultra-thin PF 517 movement that houses the world’s lightest tourbillon cage. The gray mother-of-pearl dial has a fine cut at 7 o’clock (a nod to the time, 7:08, when the founder of the brand was born), that offers a view of the tourbillon aperture. Jack Ryan, 3520 Bee Cave Road, 512-732-2408
In honor of the 85th anniversary of the famed Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso (with a case that turns over to offer a second dial), the brand unveils a host of new Reversos, including the One Duetto Moon ($11,500). Powered by a manually wound mechanical movement, the watch displays two faces: One side offers the moon phase via a mother-ofpearl lunar disk; the other side is a classic time indication of hours and minutes.
Piaget also looks to the night sky with the new Limelight Stella ($29,700), the brand’s first complication created just for women. Powered by a mechanical movement, it features a diamond-adorned moon-phase indication at 12 o’clock as well as an aperture base and case bedecked in diamonds. But the watch is driven by serious technology: The astronomical moon depiction requires a mere one-day correction after 122 years. Sam L. Majors, 2727 Exposition Blvd., 512-473-0078
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This year, Montblanc unveils an all-new collection, the 4810 line, in honor of the altitude (in meters) of the brand’s namesake mountain. The newest, stainless-steel 4810 TwinFly Chronograph 110 Years Edition ($6,900) is a flyback chronograph, meaning that it allows the wearer to time an event, stop, reset, and restart the chronograph with just one press on the pusher at 4 o’clock. Complex to build, it is an exceedingly advanced chronograph that allows timing of multiple events at once. It is powered by a self-winding movement that also offers dual time indication and 72 hours of power reserve. Just 1,110 pieces will be made. Tourneau, The Shops at La Cantera, San Antonio, 210-694-5654
It is the year of the pilot’s watch at IWC Schaffhausen, and the new, 46mm Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” ($32,400) is a grand salute to the theme. It is powered by a mechanical movement and offers an annual calendar with day and month displays, a power-reserve indicator, and a small-seconds counter at 9 o’clock. The IWC-manufactured caliber houses high-tech materials, as well as an 18k gold rotor. Just 250 pieces will be made.
In a return to ever-classic yellow gold, Audemars Piguet unveils the newest Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ($95,700). A balance of beauty and function, the watch houses a mechanical movement with 374 parts, and offers an astronomical moon indication so precise that it won’t need an adjustment for more than 125 years.
Baume & Mercier continues the saga of its Clifton collection with the Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar watch in steel ($4,990). A statement in elegance and sophistication, this automatic timepiece combines a chronograph function with perpetual calendar indications of date, month, day or night, and moon phases. Ben Bridge, The Domain, 512-491-8014
Richard Mille unveils the RM 67-01 Automatic Extra Flat skeletonized watch ($85,000), which houses an all-new movement that is as thin as it gets (3.6mm). For strength, the baseplate and bridges are constructed of Grade 5 titanium, and the metal numerals mounted on titanium rails are filled with LumiNova for extra readability.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF CARTIER, VACHERON CONSTANTIN, PARMIGIANI FLEURIER, PIAGET, AND JAEGER-LECOULTRE