SIHH 2019: The independent brands that caught our eyes

Independent maisons like H. Moser and Richard Mille prove they’ve got what it takes to stand tall among the old houses too.

Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Edition 47mm

Panerai wants to draw your full attention to its Submersible range this year, beginning with the Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry Edition. Following up on that, it released a similar two-watch edition of its long-time ambassador Mike Horn, world explorer and sailor.

As far as design goes, it doesn’t stray too far from the Submersible’s signature styling but this one stands out because it includes access to an Arctic expedition led by Horn. The two pieces are almost identical save for the colour of the luminous materials on the dial. One comes in the standard green-lume while the other in blue. The blue however, is limited to only 19 pieces and is twice the price of the green because it will grant the owner an invitation to join Mike Horn on a trip to the Arctic.

Both are housed in cases made of Panerai’s Eco-Titanium that is made of recycled titanium, comes with titanium relief bezels, are water resistant up to 300m and run on Panerai’s in-house 3-day P.9010 automatic movement.

Richard Mille Bonbon

Among the most daring and colourful of all of this year’s novelties are 10 limited pieces from Richard Mille that are a rebellious melding of childhood and haute horlogerie. They come in a total of 60 zingingly bright pop colours across 6 carbon cases (including a new world premiere of a turquoise hue). Cute motifs of candy and fruit made of ceramic make for an explosion of art, the brainchild of Richard Mille artistic director Cécile Guenat. Each miniature sculpture is painted in acrylics and lacquered by hand before powdered in enamel and fine sand employed in hourglasses for the ‘Sugar-coating’ effect.

Laurent Ferrier Bridge One

At first glance, you might not even recognise this piece as a Laurent Ferrier – it’s got none of its signature understated aesthetics nor the softly rounded Galet shape case. The Bridge One is a completely new debut, premiering a dramatic stainless steel case that draws inspiration from the Passarelle de I’lle bridge in Geneva (which Mr Ferrier gazed upon for hours in his younger days from his childhood bedroom) and a new movement that highlights a more traditional lever escapement.

Harmonious is how we’d describe this watch, new shape and all. The slim Roman numerals are sophisticated and classic against the white grand feu enamel dial. Muted honey alligator strap with a simple pin buckle complete the timepiece’s understated elegance.

Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain

Greubel Forsey premiered its smallest watch yet with this Balancier Contemporain that measures in at only 39.6mm. It looks complicated, but it’s not – it shows the time and power reserve while the bottom third of the dial showcases an oversized balance bridge and wheel. It’s got a lot of space – 12.6mm in diameter – for optimal stability while poised weights are recessed to minimise air friction.

It retains the signature Greubel Forsey commitment to quality with grained surfaces, black polishing and broad chamfers and is limited to only 33 pieces.

H. Moser Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black

The watchmaker that’s made elegance its watchword and minimalism its signature returns with another prime example of its beliefs with the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black. It’s removed its own logo and indices from the dial for a watch that with no hands. Take that – it’s a watch that gives the time without displaying it. Its glossy black dial features only a one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock and nothing else.

To read it, you listen to it. It relies solely on a minute repeater to chime out the hour and minutes, a delightful homage to a play of contrasts if there ever was one. Ringing home (pun intended) this bizarre method of time-telling is an even more odd design aesthetic. Everything is housed in a rectangular case reminiscent of a smartwatch despite the watch utilising one of the most traditional ways of time keeping.

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