Geneva’s Luxury Show Grows With Time

More than 7,000 retailers and guests viewed an extensive array of new timepieces by Car-tier, Baume & Mercier, Piaget, Franck Muller and Dunhill at the sixth annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, the luxury watch show founded by the Cartier Group. The event was held in April in Geneva, Switzerland.

This year’s show offered a wider slice of the conveniences that befit the term “luxury.” It was held in a new exhibition area with twice the space used last year, allowing many more private meeting rooms, greater showcase area and more open space for attendees and exhibitors.

Cartier’s major launch was the Tank Francaise, which features a square bezel with silver-grained dial and blue-steel sword-shaped hands under a sapphire crystal. The octagonal crown is capped with a sapphire cabochon. The watch comes in four sizes in three versions — quartz, automatic and split-second chronograph with perpetual calendar and time-zone indication — and retails for $3,600-$20,500 in the U.S. The watch is the first Cartier Tank made in 18k gold and steel with gold. The small quartz version is expected to become Cartier’s newest “everyday watch” for women, says Simon Critchell, president of Cartier (US).

Cartier also updated a wide range of watches in its Baignoire, Panthere, Panthere 1925 and Tank collections. A new Baignoire features a leaf and pearl motif. The new Panthere draws inspiration from nature with pave diamond flowers on the bracelet. A new Panthere 1925 watch coils pave diamonds and sapphires around a translucent 37-ct. brut faceted sapphire. Its bracelet is composed of twisted strands of sapphire balls. A new Pasha watch emphasizes golf, with complications that allow four players to tally their scores. Cartier also issued limited editions of the Tank Basculante and the Tank Asymetrique (shaped like a parallelogram) originally made in 1936.

Baume & Mercier debuted a high-end line of men’s watches called Milleis. The line features mechanical movements, silvered and engraved dials and wide, beveled hour markers. In the best-selling Malibu line, Baume & Mercier introduced a sporty chronograph with automatic movement, center seconds hand and 40-hour power reserve indicator. The new Ilea line of women’s luxury 18k timepieces features jeweled bezels; some have diamond-covered bracelets. The popular Hampton line has two new steel tonneau models and an updated dual time zone model. The company also introduced new models in the 18k white and yellow gold Linea line.

Piaget’s new models incorporate enhancements of its 9P2 ultrathin mechanical movement. The movement is the heart of a men’s ultrathin (4mm) watch made with a round case and screw-down caseback. Also new were Piaget Citea, a full line of men’s and women’s gold watches; a full line of Rectangle L’Ancienne white gold watches; and a large chronometer in the Gouverneur line. The chrono-meter comes in pink or yellow gold with automatic movement (50-hour power reserve), transparent caseback and, for the pink gold models, a limited-edition number from 1 to 199. The collection also features new hand-engraved dials made of anthracite, nickel or white gold and applied hour markers. In addition, the company expanded its Emperador and Possession jewelry watch lines.

Franck Muller displayed his technical wizardry with Endurance 24, a sports-minded chronograph with a 24-hour display. It’s inspired by day-long automobile races in which the driver requires quick-reading elapsed time over the course of 24 hours. Muller also one-upped himself with an addition to last year’s Imperial Tourbillon — a minute repeater, a world first. Two tiny gongs sound the hours, quarter-hours and minutes. Muller’s new Master Banker displays three time zones simultaneously — all controlled with the same winder.