SIHH has come to a successful end for another year, leaving us with a mountain beautiful watches to discuss, but which ones made my list of top men’s watches from Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2017? With the enormous numbers of timepieces on display with a seemingly endless choice of styles, complications, and options where does one start?
After some careful consideration, I decided to make the choice simply by selecting those watches that made a visual impression because anything else is fraught with difficulty, especially when we have to accept that most of these pieces are priced out of most mortals budget.
Top Picks For SIHH 2017
Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta
My first choice is the Sporty Marine Regatta in blue from Ulysse Nardin. If you are not familiar with them, Ulysse Nardin is a luxury Swiss watch manufacturer founded in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland best known for its manufacture of highly accurate marine chronometers.
With America’s Cup 26th May to 27th June 2017 fast approaching the Marine Regatta watch would seem an appropriate timepiece of choice for their brand ambassadors, Loïck Peyron, French yachtsman and Iain Percy, English sailor and double Olympic champion.
The Marine Regatta comes in two flavors, one in blue with yellow accents in honor of the team colors which you see here, and in white with yellow accents, both of which look absolutely stunning. The interesting thing about this piece is the regatta yacht timer that counts those crucial 10 minutes before the start of the race as boats position themselves into their tactical starting positions and make final preparations.
You might ask what’s so special about that and you’d be right to do so. The unique function offers a count up/count down option equipped with a bi-directional second hand that goes anticlockwise during the countdown, then to clockwise action automatically once it hits zero. Pretty cool eh?
But, above all, as I said in the intro, just look at it. It’s beautiful and it doesn’t matter if I can’t afford it, it’s just worth knowing it’s out there looking resplendent on someone’s wrist.
Price wise, you ain’t gonna like it: For the black Grand Feu enamel with the Artemis Catamaran etched into it, your looking at approximately $16,000. There will be a limited edition of 35 pieces but that will set you back around $26,000.
Drive de Cartier Extra Flat
My second choice is the classic design of the Drive de Cartier reimagined in a slimmer incarnation of the Extra Flat. The Drive de Cartier is a year old now and this year the brand brings the new look and reduced dimension with the slimmed down case.
Drive de Cartier Extra Flat On The Wrist
This piece with the unique Cartier design cue of a cushion-shaped case contains the beating heart of the in-house Cartier Manufacture Movement 430 MC movement, a mechanical movement utilizing manual winding.
This models` case is 18K white gold with the length: 38 mm, width: 39 mm, and thickness: 6.6 mm, with octagonal crown also in 18K white gold set with a faceted sapphire. The dial is silvered brushed satin with sunray effect against blued-steel sword-shaped hands.
Markers are Roman numerals under Sapphire crystal, and the strap in semi-matte gray alligator skin 18 mm wide with 18K white gold ardillon buckle to secure it. With such a slim case it’s hardly surprising the water resistance is only 30 meters.
It may seem slightly fancy for a pure Dress Watch but with only two hands, slim case, and fresh markings you could easily wear this at black tie functions, just as you could while wearing a day suit. For me, it’s a real winner, although you already guessed it, it’s not that cheap.
Two versions of this piece are available, the 18-karat pink gold version retails for $15,600, and this white gold version produced in limited edition of only 200 pieces retailing for $16,700
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ultra-Thin “Jumbo”
My third choice is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ultra-Thin “Jumbo” and in this case with a blue dial.
Yellow gold case with the gold and blue tapisserie dial
Yellow gold case with the gold and white tapisserie dial.
Audemars Piguet is a Swiss manufacturer of complicated mechanical watches founded in 1875 by watchmakers Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet.
The Royal Oak was designed back in 1971 by Gerald Genta and released at the 1972 Baselworld. At the time it was seen as quite ground-breaking for the Audemars Piguet house because it was the first sports watch produced by the brand and considered somewhat avant-garde.
Over the years Audemars Piguet has produced numerous versions of the Royal Oak and the Royal Oak Offshore, but interestingly, none as thin or simple as the original 5402.
Jump to 2017 to Royal Oak Ultra-Thin “Jumbo” we see the most striking difference is the material used in construction. The 39mm case is no longer steel or rose gold, but yellow gold with a thickness of 8.1mm topped with sapphire crystal. The Dial comes to you in two flavors, the one favored by myself is the yellow gold case with the gold and blue tapisserie dial, but you can opt for the gold case with the gold and white tapisserie dial is you think it’s more your taste.
Just as the styling has remained relatively unchanged the bracelet is the same multi-link construction that was originally made by Gay Frères back in 1972, so it just goes to show. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Seriously, this has just had a slight upgrade, a facelift if you will, and it looks just great whichever flavor you choose.
If I had the cash I’d invest in both but if I had to choose, it would be the gold and blue tapisserie dial but of course, this is a moot point because I don’t have that choice. Oh well, dreaming is free, right?
Royal Oak Ultra-Thin “Jumbo” is available in either a blue or yellow gold dial both models priced at $55,400
Baume et Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra
Finally, but certainly, not least I choose the Baume et Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra, not only because I love anything Shelby Cobra, but this is also the only piece that is anywhere close to being affordable.
Baume & Mercier is a Swiss luxury watchmaker founded in 1830, now a subsidiary of the Swiss luxury conglomerate Richemont, but despite the boring corporate stuff they can boast true racing pedigree.
As you may have guessed the new Baume et Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra has been produced in partnership with Shelby of motoring fame, and it doesn’t fall short of expectations. It’s a real head turner just like its names sake.
So what can I say about this piece? Or more to the point, what do I need to say about this piece? You only need one look at it to know it’s a winner, right?
Ok, lets touch on the details. The piece is a masculine 44mm flyback chronograph, the Dial comes to you with a stunning satin-finished, half blue & half silver-colored dial. Against this dial, you can see the red chronograph’s hands with Cobra logo stand out to greet your admiring eyes, and if you look closely you can see the tachymeter scale has the 196 mph mark highlighted, not to mention the nod to the infamous Cobra on the back end of the second hand.
The movement is automatic La Joux-Perret Caliber 8147 featuring flyback chronograph, tachymeter, day & date functions and the case is constructed from titanium with polished stainless steel, featuring sweeping lines echoing the aerodynamics of the Daytona Coupe. Further detailing includes foot pedal shaped chronograph pushers and Cobra insignia found on the case band.
Finally, the strap is designed as a carbon fiber like and calfskin with rubberized soft-touch lining and red contrast stitching.
The piece has been produced in a limited edition of 196 pieces so it may not matter whether you can afford it or not because I don’t think they will be around too long priced at a modest Price: $7,950
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