Design Highlights from the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie

Top Design Watches from SIHH 2019

The invitation-only timepiece show includes debuts from many of the world's best luxury watch brands. Here, a selection of horological design highlights chosen by Surface.

Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 Selfwinding

Code 11:59 by Audemars Piguet was undoubtedly the most discussed collection unveiled during SIHH. And there was plenty to talk about. The materials, various complications, the round case shape—it’s an entirely different aesthetic from Audemars Piguet, for whom new watches are rare and design decisions aren’t made lightly. The Code 11:59 Selfwinding is the entry point to a larger 13-piece (!) collection that includes a bit of everything—chronographs, perpetual calendars, flying tourbillions, openworked dials, even a chiming minute repeater supersonnerie. Debates continue to rage about the look. Love it or hate it, as any student of horology will tell you, controversial watches fair well over time.

(Photo: Courtesy Audemars Piguet)

Cartier Baignoire Allongée

Baignoire Allongée literally translates to “extended bathtub”—a nod to the watch’s uniquely oval shape. First designed in 1906, this special Cartier piece proves that a timeless design can be endlessly adaptable. Reconfigured and retextured for 2019, the super-tactile surface of its new pink gold case resembles rows of teeth, studded in a contemporary post-punk way.

(Photo: Courtesy Cartier)

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar

For perfect combination of mechanical expertise and aesthetic beauty, look no further than the automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar. (It’s part of a larger collection of three new Master Ultra Thin enamel models, alongside a moon phase and tourbillon.) From a design point of view, the 40mm Perpetual Calendar relays the most amount of information—hours, minutes, and seconds, of course, but also the month, year, day of the week, and phases of the moon—in the most elegant way possible. Packing all the art deco history and beauty of Jaeger-Lecoultre, it’s anything but old-fashioned. 


(Photo: Courtesy Jaeger-LeCoultre)

Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Twin Beat

The remarkable Traditionelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar from Vacheron Constantin stole the hearts of technical watch lovers at SIHH. A highly complicated piece, it features a pioneering in-house movement (internal code: 3610 QP) that can operate at two different frequencies, selected by the wearer. They’ll be able slow the watch from 5hZ to 1.2hZ at push of a button, and in doing so extend the power reserve to a remarkable 65 days. White gold details are sandblasted for a contemporary look, while sapphire crystal elements provide unique transparency into the groundbreaking mechanics that lie within. 

(Photo: Courtesy Vacheron Constantin)

Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph

Powered by an in-house Minerva movement (legendary manufacturer of high-end Swiss watch calibers), the limited edition bronze 1858 Split Second Chronograph continues to elevate Montblanc into the realm of horological excellence. This 44mm piece is also a design standout, with the mono-pusher functionality and a brilliant black chronograph dial. The 1858 collection finds inspiration in the adventurous side of Montblanc, raising the bar each year to help clarify the identity of the multi-category brand that continues to produce writing instruments, leather goods, and accessories.


(Photo: Courtesy Montblanc)

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