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The HH Journal is an online publication covering watchmaking news in all its forms and is published by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) which was created in 2005. The FHH aims to raise awareness and promote the values of fine watchmaking on an international basis. The HH Journal is written by twenty journalists located throughout the major global markets and takes a comprehensive approach to watchmaking, including technical as well as economic, historical, and human aspects. The HH Journal is dedicated to exceptional products with a daily update of its written or multimedia content. See some examples of recent HH Journal content below and click on the headline to read the full article.
Panerai’s Quiet Revolution
Panerai are no strangers to innovation. During SIHH 2017, they lived up to their reputation as a “laboratory of ideas” when they produced BMG-TECH, a metallic glass new to fine watchmaking, and the LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days – 49mm which requires no lubrication and is guaranteed for 50 years. The biggest difficulty the firm faces is holding onto the true fan club of Paneristi whilst also bringing in new fans. What the brand does to hold both old and new fans is hide ground-breaking developments within classic “Panerai-looking” watches. So, how does all this new technology really work?
Extraordinary Van Cleef Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels showed visitors “The Poetry of Time” with their Automate Fée Ondine on the opening day of SIHH this year. The idea was to harness the power of large mechanics and tell a far more elaborate story than those made possible by the Poetic complication watches. The unique piece has a manual-winding movement with: animation on demand with 5 cycles of 50 seconds when the mechanism is fully wound, a clock with retrograde hours and an eight-day power reserve. When still, it shows a sleeping fairy among water lilies. When set in motion, she awakens, lifts her head and gently moves her wings, meanwhile the lily leaves ripple and the largest flower blossoms to reveal a butterfly that rises from its centre.
Parmigiani offers the case in either 18k white or reddish gold. Each gold variant can be obtained with either the black or white dial colours. All models have gold palms, which I think is a nice touch. We also observe an “open” date window. I’m usually not a massive fan of these, but the implementation is not bad here and appears to provide the date (located above 6 o’clock) more than a passive purpose for the total layout. Under the date window is the “Chronometre” title of this watch on the dial, and it is a design detail that I do not mind.Dial proportions on the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre are fairly fine, if not too classic. A more contemporary interpretation of this dial would have easily had the hour numerals be larger in dimension. What consumers want is often a very personal choice. That said, the Parmigiani Toric Chronometre no doubt has a great deal of “white space” on the dial – the allure of that is going to be very subjective to the customers.
Sleeping Beauties Awaken
The ‘80s returned at this year’s SIHH in the form of three complete collections of watches from Cartier, IWC, and Girard-Perregaux, and the brands clearly had women on their mind, too. This trio of collections has confirmed three things within fine watchmaking: vintage is here to stay, ladies’ watches deserve to be more than diamond encrusted, smaller versions of their male counterparts, and brands are bringing their past back to life with a bang. Without further ado… we introduce to you: Cartier’s Panthère, IWC’s Da Vinci, and Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato.
Simple watches, complex problems
One of the most noticeable trends at SIHH was brands ‘toning down’ their offerings and extending their entry-level ranges. They have finally found their footing in reality but there is still one unknown factor: the customer, preferably young and less inclined towards luxury. Given the sharp decline in Swiss Watch exports over the past 18 months, fine watch brands have no other choice than to consider how suited their products are to an inventory-heavy market, where brick-and-mortar distribution finds itself increasingly in competition with online sales. The HH Journal looks at what brands are doing to reach new audiences and to entice the “new generation of luxury buyers.”
The chronograph is arguably the most useful complication within fine watchmaking. A challenge for watchmakers, but one which lends a sporty feel to watches. How often do you see someone going about their business, to then stop and use their chronograph? And yet, when it comes to the chronograph watch, there are seemingly endless choices. Has it come to the point now where the use of a chronographs becomes a measure of a watchmaker’s skill, rather than a timepiece choice for its functionality. The HH Journal takes a closer look at the new releases of SIHH 2017 and ultimately whether the chronograph is still relevant.
Michel Parmigiani, the horological heart doctor
Michel Parmigiani has made restoration an art form. However, 20 years ago he set up his own brand, one whose Senfine movements promise a new “historic” departure for fine watchmaking. The Parmigiani Fleurier Restoration Workshop is truly one of a kind, and because of its founder, restoration is as much of an art form as it is a science. He has been cited saying, “As a restorer, I like to say that five hundred years of history have passed through my hands.” A closer look at what makes Michel Parmigiani and his brand Parmigiani Fleurier so special.
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