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This year I attended SIHH in Geneva for the first time. It was a crazy week and I needed some distance to it before I could write about it. Being a noob in that environment is hard. What to do, were to go, who to talk to – that was my questions before I left my safe office. Thanks to a couple of hardened friends I figured out I had to be everywhere, do everything and talk to as many people as I could. And I did.

For those of you who have not been there, SIHH is a watch fair were brands unveil their novelties for the year. Dealers, journalists and VIPs join in on the fun for the whole week. I was invited by Richemont and went there as a journalist. Before I left I had a wish to see brands and watches that I have never seen or rarely see in Norway. Brands like Audemars Piguet, Kari Voutilinen, HYT, MB & F, Ulysse Nardin, Greubel Forsey, and many more, does not have a Norwegian dealer and is hard to find and study in the flesh here. The SIHH fair is also an opportunity to see and experience rare watches that I will probably never see again, like the new L’ASTRONOMO by Panerai.

Here is my list of what to remember if you decide to go to SIHH (based on hard learned experience):

DOs:

  • Learn the 3 kiss greeting – you may find a norwegian hug cozy, but it is very inappropriate.
  • Hang with a young crowd – they will often say “whaaat….you don’t look forty!” – It’s really amazing.
  • Go to Vacheron Constantin for morning coffee. They have the best barista and coffee in the building.
  • Dress nice. Remember that it is only Kristian Haagen that is allowed to wear beat up cargo pants. He’s earned it, you haven’t.

DONT’s:

  • Not everyone understand Scandinavian humour, and don’t use irony. Ever.
  • Never take off your shoes in public after a long day in the Expo hall.
  • Most important. Never drop a 1 mill EUR watch on the floor – It went well, not a scratch to the watch, but I thought for a second the lady would have a heart attack. I guess I will be banned from ever going to SIHH again.

So that’s it. Learn from a noob.

The rest will be a picture heavy feature. I always intend to give you good quality shots of watches. So it may take some time to load page.

Best of SIHH 2018

SIHH is also an overwhelming sensory experience. All the brands represent themselves with luxurious stands showcasing their watches and novelties.
From the second I entered the massive expo hall I was like a kid in a candy store. Design, artwork, food, drinks, loud music and watches just kept coming at me. Non-stop. So much fun!

Some brands had more interesting novelties than others, and I will try to give you my honest opinion on the best ones. Bare in mind that I like a classic look but I am also weak for modern madness. You’ll seewhen I expose my favorite novelty at the end of this post.

Panerai

If you followed the releases this year you may ask why Panerai is on my best of list. And you are absolutely right. They did not release anything very exciting this year. But what they did was to renew their whole base model lineup. What that means is that they decided to spend SIHH this year scrapping ebauche movements and introducing in-house movements on all their watches. I am all for that!

Also exciting is that they introduced 38 mm Luminor Due. For a smaller wrist  as they say themselves in their presskit. In Scandinavia that is a synonym for ladies. I will finally consider getting a Panerai for my wife.

IWC

Celebrating a 150th anniversary is not something you forget in the watchindustry. And IWC did not either. I had pretty high hopes for this year and I must say that I was a little disappointed at the beginning of the week. Their release was not what I had hoped for. But then I had the opportunity to spend almost an hour fondling their novelties. By the end of that hour I was sold.
What IWC did this year was to introduce lacquered dials on a wide range of their models. Pilots, Portuguese, Portofino, and Da Vinci will be seen in 12 layers of white or blue lacquer. And the new references inspired by the Pallweber pocket watches.

The Pallweber in red gold.IWC Schaffhausen Pallweber SIHH 2018

And the new perpetual calendar with the lacquer dial.IWC perpetual calendar 150th

The beautiful Annual Calendar Pilots watch.IWC Pilots annual calendar sihh 2018 blue

Jaeger LeCoultre

I guess no one could really miss the Polaris release this year. In the norwegian community it certainly stirred up the interest for Jaeger LeCoultre. I have always been a fan of vintage inspired watches, but lately there have just been too many. And as rumors started going about the Polaris being reintroduced a few days before the official release I was sceptical.
Jaeger LeCoultre nailed it! What a beauty. And about time they celebrated this iconic diver.

The MemovoxJaeger LeCoultre Polaris Memovox SIHH 2018

And the good looking golden chronographJaeger LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph Gold SIHH 2018

A. Lange & Söhne

While everyone was talking about the new and groundbreaking triple split I set my eyes on a classic beauty. First I want to say that I cannot be objective when it comes to A. Lange & Söhne. I love what they are trying to do. Making classic after classic and always with an eye for developing new and complicated movements. Always true to their design language and philosophy. You may call them conservative, but I find them to be nothing but uncompromising.

Well, the new Saxonia Moon Phase is nothing but beautiful. It comes in both white and pink gold.alangesohne saxonia moon phase sihh 2018

Another personal favourite was the new 1815 chronograph. I have said it many times. I love that watch.alangesohne 1815 chronograph sihh 2018

And I have to have the triple split in here. Front may look unsuspicious at first glance but the back reveals a complicated watch. Exactly what I am talking about. Design is classic, complication is groundbreaking.alangesohne triple split sihh 2018

alangesohne triple split back sihh 2018

Girard Perregaux

I have to say that I knew nothing about this brand before SIHH. Nothing.
Of course I had seen pictures and had heard about the brand, but I had never touched one, and I had never really buried myself in the details.
I found the Laureato Ceramic Skeleton to be very interesting. The Laureato is a classic GP design, but in the all black ceramic dress and light as a feather it was a nice acquaintance.GP Girard Perregaux Laureato Skeleton Ceramic SIHH 2018

Audemars Piguet

Already trapped in their own Royal Oak they did not release anything but this year. Not of importance anyway. I have no idea what happened to the rest of the references from this respected manufacture.
Still they continue to develop this line of watches with new technical achievements every year.

As with many of the other brands rumors started going in the days before SIHH and pictures of the novelties were revealed. I was once again sceptical before I had my appointment with AP.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore. Even though I liked the reedition of the 1993 model of the Offshore my heart skipped a beat when I saw the new case and bezel on the Tourbillon Chronograph. Audemars Piguet is one of the houses that bring us contemporary design features and they are constantly reinterpreting their classic Royal Oak. Watch nerds find this irritating, but I find it refreshing. At least for Audemars Piguet. This has been a strategic direction for them with the Royal Oak for the last few decades. And I like their Rock’n Roll attitude towards their heritage.
I guess similar stunts for the Patek Philippe Nautilus would be heavily frowned upon, even by me.

Audemars Piguet SIHH 2018 Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph

Audemars Piguet SIHH 2018 Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph

The Offshore Chronograph in camo colors was interesting in the flesh.Audemars Piguet Offshore Camo

And of course the RD2 – the 6.3 mm thick perpetual calendar.Audemars Piguet RD2 SIHH 2018

Vacheron Constantin

To finish off with my choice for Best in Show 2018 – the introduction of a new line from Vacheron Constantin – Fiftysix.
Inspired by the ref.6073 from 1956 (of course) they now offer a 40 mm rounded case and almost sector like dials on this new lineup. This was really a much needed facelift to their Quai de l’ile models. I never could swallow that case. In my opinion they now have a much more elegant watch with the elegance I expect from the maison.

Here is the Complete Calendar in pink gold.Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix 56 complete calendar sihh 2018

And the Day Date in steel.Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix 56 day date sihh 2018

That pretty much sums it up. Remember to follow my Instagram for pictures of all the great watches from this year.
And visit my book store.

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre recently launched a new Master Memovox Boutique Edition. When I have an opportunity to fondle a totally new watch, then I take it. This particular model is well known to every watch collector out there as the Memovox have been a cult watch since its first appearance in the 1950s.

Known as the iconic alarm clock, the Memovox have followed Jaeger-LeCoultre in many of their model ranges from the 1950s and up until today. The alarm function has been a continuous element showing up in both dress watches and more sporty watches.  Just imagine an underwater alarm clock for diving, or the Memovox Parking, which saves you from getting parking tickets by reminding you when your parking meter time is up.

Originally featuring a double crown and a mobile disc with the desired alarm time shown by a triangular indicator, the Memovox watch made its mark once launched. Its legendary movement, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 815, was the first automatic movement to boast an alarm function signed by the Grande Maison and has inspired many others since its introduction in 1956.

Memovox Snowdrop

Now celebrating the 60th anniversary of its automatic movement the Boutique Edition Memovox is a very contemporary interpretation of an 1970s Memovox Snowdrop design. A vintage looking blue-tinted dial is balanced out by the contemporary look of its finishes and case. And the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 956 that drives the Master Memovox Boutique Edition is a direct descendent of the original.

Well, how does it really feel?

Hands-On:

First impression is a surprisingly good looking dial. I had seen this watch in pictures and honestly I thought nothing much of it. A boring dial inside a boring case. I was wrong.

The dial is really interesting. It actually feels like there are three dials in one watch. The centre disc has a magnificent deep blue sunburst finish, followed by a matt dark blue hour index and a lighter blue minute index on the outer edge. I am baffled by how the dial just works. Both understated and interesting at the same time. I could spend hours playing with the sunburst centre disc and a lightbulb.

You see how simple joys can keep a monkey occupied.

Master Memovox Boutique Edition

There are two crowns on this watch. The bottom crown is used for winding, as well as setting the time. Setting the alarm function is simple: shift the top crown into neutral position. Then, in position 2, turn this crown in anti-clockwise direction until the desired ring time. In doing so, the mobile disc with its little “retro-style” and famous Memovox indicator triangle turns around the dial to the alarm time.

I don’t know how they do it, but the alarm have a very pure sound.

I have a video on instagram you should see. Remember Volume On.

The new Memovox Boutique Edition has kept all the characteristics of the Memovox Snowdrop. And I kinda like the “retro-style” look and feel. I am glad Jaeger-LeCoultre decided to have a more contemporary design on the stainless steel case.

Master Memovox Boutique Edition

A  deep blue braided cotton was selected by for the strap and it plays nice with the light blue stitching. Further the calfskin lining ensures a nice and comfortable wearing strap.

All in all this new watch is an unexpected surprise from the Jaeger-LeCoultre Maison. And it is priced very comfortably. Now you just need to get your hands on one. Only 500 pcs made and only for sale in one of the 90 or so Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutiques worldwide.

Master Memovox Boutique Edition

 

Memovox Boutique Edition

Reference:

Q141848J

Movement:

Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 956

Automatic mechanical movement

Produced, assembled, and decorated by hand

28,800 vibrations per hour

45-hour power-reserve

268 parts • 23 jewels

7.45 mm in height

Functions:

Hours, minutes, second

Date

Alarm

Case:

Stainless steel, polished finish

40 mm in diameter • 14 mm in height

Solid case-back

Water-resistance: 5 bar

Dial:

Inner dial blue sunburst

Outer dial Opaline blue

Hands:

Baton, polished, Super-Luminova

Strap:

Calfskin in Trieste black, blue topstitching

Limitation:

500 watches exclusive to Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutiques

-We have passion, says big brother and master watchmaker Lars Christian when I ask how Tidemann Watches managed to establish a luxury watch boutique in record time. Tom Andre, is both the younger brother and manager of the boutique. He nods. Ironically they opened the doors to their boutique on Black Monday of 2008. Dow Jones took a plunge on Monday 6th of October 2008, and the rest of the world markets followed. This date will forever go into history as the day when the stock markets crashed.

When I visit the store 7 years later the brothers have just received the first delivery of watches from one of the leading manufacturers of luxury watches. The delivery from A. Lange & Söhne marks Tidemann Watches position in the norwegian luxury market.

Urmaker Tidemann luksus klokker
Brothers Tidemann – Tom Andre (left) and Lars Christian (right)

A.Lange & Söhne

Glashütte Original was the first brand the brothers signed.

-We worked hard with this brand. We established Glashütte Original in the norwegian market, and we established our boutique with this brand. Says the brothers. Their success with GO was noticed in Switzerland and more brands followed. Today they have Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger LeCoultre, Cartier, Piaget and Frederique Constant. Signing on A. Lange & Söhne is the icing on the cake.

-The fact that we managed to sign all these great brands is something we are incredibly proud of, says Lars Christian.

-Look at these watches from A. Lange & Söhne. The bear every sign of great workmanship. Lars Christian’s eyes glow. We are back to the passion. His arms wave in every direction and he runs to the back of the store, where his workshop is, to show me a pocketwatch he is servicing.

-Look at this beauty! An A. Lange & Söhne 1891 pocket watch. Look at this. The movement looks as good as new. Look at how the balance swings. He is almost shouting now.

A.Lange & Söhne

Already a watchaddict, Lars Christian and a friend started hanging around in the boutique and the workshop of Alf Lie as kids. He graduated a watchmaker in the late 90s and took over Norways oldest workshop in Fagernes.

Tom Andre have always had the interest for watches. But he ended up a lawyer. A chance meeting with a Lange 1 in the storefront window of Wempe in Germany made his destiny.

-Right there and then I knew I had to get A. Lange & Söhne to Norway. That was my life goal. Now we are there, he says with a big smile on.

-Now we have two of the top brands in the watch industry. Vacheron Constantin and A. Lange & Söhne. It is exciting how these brands manage to make contemporary and innovative watches still with a deep respect for their history and heritage. These watches are all top level workmanship. Art.

-In a time where you change your smartphone once a year these watch brands represent the antipode. The mechanical watch symbolize something lasting. They last for hundreds of years and for generations.

Lange 1
A.Lange & Söhne Lange 1

ALS-12

In 2008 the brothers had a goal to sign on the first top brand within 10 years. It had been the dream of Tom Andre since his trip to Germany, but the Tidemann brothers never expected A. Lange & Söhne to the boutique in just 7 years.

-We hoped for one of the five big ones in 10 years. It is usually 50 years to build a portfolio like ours. The brands we have now is the brands we aimed for 7 years ago. Mission accomplished.

Tidemann Watches is located in between Mulberry and Louis Vuitton in one of Oslos main streets for luxury. The brothers did not have an easy start in this location.

-With the world economy at it’s knees there where no banks willing to invest in our project. We had to roll up our sleeves and do the job ourselves.

-It has been an extreme amount of hard work and we have both sacrificed a lot to get this boutique to the level we aimed for. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you are driven by passion. At the same time we have to realize that we need to be here for our customers and it’s been nice to experience how well both the norwegian and international customers have welcomed us. We are happy to create lifelong relationships with our customers every single day, says Tom Andre.

What Tidemann Watches have managed to establish in just 7 years is nothing but spectacular. They have both been an important driver for the growth in the norwegian watch market and they have challenged the established businesses in the industry. The result is a larger variety of brands over all in norway. The victor of all this is the watch enthusiast.

Urmaker Tidemann
Tidemann Watches