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The dust has definitely settled down after a frenetic 24th installment of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, in Geneva. Looking back, what were the main trends and which conclusions should be drawn? Several colleagues from the press share the idea that it was indeed a great show, but I'm sticking with those who claim this year's edition didn't exactly provide the best crop destined to horological superstardom compared to previous ones. What I can say is that I'm struggling to come up with a top ten of watchmaking masterpieces with timeless mindblowing potential, while I'm still recovering from an overdose of artistic crafts and ultra-slim replica watches seen at the Palexpo exhibition centre. Anyway, in the aftermath of the year's first horological Grand Slam, here are a few very personal thoughts and preferences I'd like to share. Reverse universe: flip the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna and you're in heaven. A. Lange & S? hne Paving the Milky WayHow appropriate was the exhibition of the Federation de la Haute Horlogerie baptized 'Horology, a Child of Astronomy' held simultaneously, exploring the close relationship between watchmaking and the heavens? Because the Earth's satellite and the celestial dome proved to be quite popular yet again, with the launch of interesting perpetual calendars and exquisite timepieces highlighting the Moon and the skies - such as the Lange & S? hne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna with more than 2000 micro-stars, the Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium featuring a three-dimensional cosmic dance, the sidereal Cartier Rotonde Earth & Moon, and Greubel Forsey's QP a Equation with solstices and equinoxes. Les Indomptables de Cartier: replica watch with enamel dial inlaid with diamonds and enamel leaf, crocodile brooch in gold, diamonds and enamel to place on top. Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo. Decorative AvalancheDon't get me wrong, I even graduated in History of Arts and am quite sensitive to any kind of artistic display or arcane craftsmanship; plus, I truly admire how the so-called Metiers d'Art have been adding an old-school dimension to contemporary high watchmaking. Nonetheless, by the end of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, I felt like I had an overdose of rare artistic crafts after being swamped by a plethora of models featuring dials decorated with all sorts of enamelling, guillochage, engraving, embroidery, marquetry, granulation, mosaic, invisible setting, skeletonizing, miniature painting and so on. From timepieces to plain art pieces: how much is too much? Or is it due to the excessive influence of Asian and Middle-Eastern demandPatented NomenclatureVan Cleef & Arpels once again excelled in the name game, trademarking the expression Poetic Astronomy (after having done so with Poetic Complications and Extraordinary Dials) and forcing us writers to look for semantic alternatives in order to describe comparable romantic functions from other brands. Van Cleef & Arpels also had the best-named timepiece: Pierre Arpels Heure d'Ici, Heure d'Ailleurs (Time Here, Time Elsewhere). And Montblanc, after having Nicolas Rieussec dethroned by Louis Moinet as the inventor of the chronograph last year, corrected their own narrative to 'the inventor of the first *patented* chronograph'. And since we mentioned the word narrative: founder Carlos Dias has been deleted from Roger Dubuis' history. Haute Horlogerie on a strict diet: the Altiplano 900P's ultra-slim record case at 3. 65mm. Piaget Slim Shady UtopiaAnother powerful trend was the uber-thin quest, with Vacheron Constantin boasting the slimmest minute-repeater ever with the Patrimony Contemporaine's 8. 09mm until Jaeger-LeCoultre disclosed the Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon (aka Hybris Mechanica 11) with a tourbillon/minute repeater combination at just 7. 9mm. And Piaget, the self-styled Master of Ultra-Thin, introduced the slimmest mechanical replica watch ever with the 3. 6mm Altiplano 900P! Again, even though it's quite an admirable feat and a proof of technical excellence to reduce a calibre to the thinnest possible dimensions, most people looking for a mechanical timepiece and who are not slim fetishists actually appreciate a bit of volume and weight - I, for one, don't like to feel as if I'm wearing a coin on the wrist. It's 'just' a Perpetual Calendar, but at a highly competitive price point and symbolizing Montblanc's new era under Jer? me Lambert's leadership. Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo. The TroublemakerMontblanc definitely cranked up the heat and took the SIHH by storm, showing not only a technical breakthrough but also a price-positioning policy that had many a rival brand concerned. With the restless new CEO Jer? me Lambert at the helm and a new strategy for the Villeret manufacture movement, the company showed strong on all fronts aimed at every kind of horophile - starting with a complete overhaul of its 2,000 to 5,000 Euro offerings and including the launch of the appealing Meisterstuck Heritage line. The Meisterstuck Heritage Perpetual Calendar (at a mere 10,000 Euro!), the Homage to Nicolas Rieussec (featuring a hybrid ceramic hour ring with integrated luminous numerals), the TimeWalker Chronograph 100 and the Villeret 1859 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante were among the show's most talked about timepieces. Apparent IncongruenceA diver's replica watch featuring a perpetual calendar function? A few good-humoured journalists wondered how long IWC kept their master watchmaker Kurt Klaus (the inventor of the innovative in-house perpetual calendar system in the 1980s) on the bottom of the sea in order to come up with the idea of the huge 49mm Chronograph Perpetual Calendar - one of eight new references in its new Aquatimer collection that also includes a chronograph, an automatic, three special editions dedicated to the Galapagos and two technical diver's replica watches. The artistic Roger Dubuis booth: a flash mob of monocle statues? Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo. Best StandIt was called both the most artistic and the most futile stand at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie: the one unveiled by Roger Dubuis. The creativity was outstanding, with all those imposing monocled statues and an actual clock specifically brought in to tower over the entrance. Nonetheless, many reporters coming over from other essential booths such as A. Lange & S? hne's for instance, couldn't help thinking:"Is this theme park really necessary to present a collection or to sell high-end replica watches? ". Honourable booth mentions are also due to the discreet charm of Baume & Mercier, the voluptuous luxury of Ralph Lauren, the dangerousness of IWC with all those sharks flying above the visitors, and the teaching/learning area devoted to the "Naissance d'une Montre" initiative at Greubel Forsey. Image of the SIHH 2014 novelties presentation at Vacheron Constantin. Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo. Best PresentationAmong the various presentations, the best accolade should go to Vacheron Constantin's: no marketing hype whatsoever, elegantly sober and straight to the point with the help of rotating panels featuring high relief replica watches upon which different images were projected. Oh, and many missed the beautiful models that Piaget usually brought along in previous years to showcase the new timepieces on their wrists. And it felt odd listening to a professional presenter with a heavy American accent talking about Baume & Mercier's ancient watchmaking legacy. By the way, how's this for a lack of communication: three brands chose the same type of press gift - portable autonomous smartphone battery chargers…? Hidden TreasuresThere were the Talking Pieces. And then there were the timepieces that deserved to be talked about a lot more than they actually were - and some of them didn't even get a line in most wrap-ups of the event. One of those hidden treasures of the SIHH that, in my opinion, deserved a lot more attention certainly was the rose gold La Monegasque Club chronograph with fossilized wood dial and DLC treated bezel on an original alligator strap. Audemars Piguet's Millenary Minute Repeater was another interesting piece that was overshadowed by an avalanche of new Royal Oak references. And let's not forget Greubel Forsey's €1 million Art Piece 1 with an optical device to enlarge by 23 a less than 1mm micro-sculpture by Willard Wigan! With the help of master watchmaker Cristiaan Van der Klaauw, Van Cleef & Arpels introduced a planetarium for the wrist. Van Cleef & Arpels A Bunch of Men's replica watchesIn no specific order and without repeating brands, a list of the men's replica watches I considered to be the best and/or most relevant at the SIHH 2014: 1 - A. Lange & S? hne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna; 2 - Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium for its celestial dance; 3 - Piaget Altiplano 900P for its ultra-slim architecture, 4 - the updated Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 42 mm series (rather than the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon) for its popular appeal; 5 - Cartier Rotonde Astroregulator as a symbol of the exceptional job being done by Caroline Forestier-Kasapi's team; 6 - Montblanc Meisterstuck Heritage Perpetual Calendar as a symbol of the brand's new era; 7 - Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon because of its construction; 7 - Panerai Radiomir 1940 Chronograph for its retro charm; 8 - Baume & Mercier Clifton 1892 Flying Tourbillon; 9 - Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Openworked; 10 - Richard Mille RM 36-01 Sebastien Loeb; 11 - Greubel Forsey's QP a Equation. A bouquet of women's timepiecesAgain, in random order, a list of the women's replica watches I considered to be the best and/or most relevant at the SIHH 2014: 1 - Van Cleef & Arpels Pierre Arpels Heure d'Ici, Heure d'Ailleurs because of the original retrograde and double jumping hour complication (plus, with its delicate lug system, it's a man's replica watch that looks like a great oversized women's timepiece); 2 - Richard Mille RM 10-01 Natalie Portman; 3 - Ralph Lauren Stirrup Petite Link; 4 - Cartier Ballon Blanc; 5 - Piaget Altiplano in Miniature Enamel. An icon of fashion with a dog for a driver? Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo Weirdest imageI took a picture of a replica watch I saw on display at a window - then realized afterwards I had caught Ralph Lauren wearing a RL67 Tourbillon in a strange place alongside a dog driving his vintage car. Now that had to be the strangest sight at this year's Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, don't you think? It's exceptional to find a U. S. watchmaker who cares as much about his products and solutions as David McReady of D. Freemont replica watches. Within a market place stuffed with inexpensive quartz and high gains, McCready is what is thought inside the company as being a great man along with a shrewd businessman.
The latest piece in his assortment, the D. Freemont Sapphire Energy Reserve Diver, caught my eye quickly. Strangely adequate, it really is not a beefy diver nor will it appear like it belongs around the dashboard of a semi. Instead, it truly is a staid, intelligent piece employing a high-quality 2892 ETA motion and two superb difficulties rouded out by a powerful aesthetic that harkens from a different, more simple era.
The 1st thing you'll notice concerning this diver is the fact it has no lume. Oversight? Layout selection? Difficulty? When you really are a fan of your Orange Monster and various lume-tastic replica watches, you'll definitely be upset. This observe is for folk who continue to be on deck, soaking within the solar and making company discounts. If your organization is bringing up sunken treasure at ten,000 feet, search somewhere else.
Having said that, the ability Reserve Diver is an excellent journey view. This 40-hour enjoy provides a electrical power reserve indicator and GMT/second time-zone dial that is eminently usable.
Location this check out is easy. Initial, unscrew the crown. At its lax situation, the look at is usually wound like a common mechanical, although it also has an automated rotor. At first placement, you established the GMT hand one hour ahead by turning the crown clockwise therefore you established the day read-out by turning the crown counter-clockwise. You then established enough time at next place.
I didn't pop the again on this a single, from deference to your water-fastness, but this diver is drinking water immune to 330 feet. It will come having a black rubber or brown leather-based band. The rotating bezel is black and marked at 3, six, and nine o'clock with a standard, non-lumed dive triangle at 12 o'clock. The experience is delicately guilloched with gold pips and no hour markings. There may be an internal chapter ring demonstrating minutes.
The replica watch is really a total 40mm and the crown is protected by stainless-steel lugs. The dial includes a slight champagne colour to it plus the arms are all blued metal, which matches properly along with the enjoy itself. I was somewhat displeased from the brown band, as it did not very match the bezel and face with this product. The good thing is, they also carry a version that has a black rubber strap.
For the reason that there isn't any lume, this diver is usable primarily on snorkeling low-depth SCUBA expeditions. I wore this enjoy in LA, Hannover, and Boston up to now four weeks and it can be been a quiet and staid helpmate, permitting me to maintain house time about the principal dial and native time within the GMT dial, thereby guaranteeing I was nearly always punctually, hangovers allowing.
When it comes to wrist come to feel, this diver is very cozy and sufficiently small to remain unobtrusive. The deployant clasp permits for speedy on and off and you sizing the band by shifting the buckle up and down the common leather-based band. The leather-based band is sort of pleasant as well as clasp is signed. The crown is nice and fats and simple to grasp even between the lugs.
As we mentioned just before, it's exceptional to find passion in American replica watches. RGM and a few other people are developing some wonderful points, by D. Freemont tends to make matters which can be low-cost - this diver is $750 - and exquisite. Just about every check out is hand-timed by Mr. McReady and includes a timing read-out indicating the typical error and instability. This check out experienced a +/- three. one sec/day decline, that's undoubtedly just high-quality by me. This diver bucks trends and retains you with your toes, just as any great replica watch really should.
Solution Web site [D. Freemont]
High quality: 4/5
Design and style: 4/5
General: four. 5/5
— John