Are we pumped for SIHH 2018 yet? Just like the “holiday shopping season” and beginning around the same time, it seems like the new-product announcements get earlier every year. With still more than a month to go, the 2018 models that we will get to see in Geneva in January have already started coming in. The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) watch industry trade show, just like its organizing body the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), has continued to grow and evolve each year, adding more brands as well as a day where the show is open to the public for the first time in 2017 – this time around, it will be Friday, January 19th, 2018. Now with a total of 35 brands, SIHH 2018 promises even more variety than in previous years.
You already know that SIHH is one of the two most important events for the watch industry, as its exhibitors – while much fewer than at the biggest industry trade show, Baselworld – represent many major and influential brands, and this is the time of year when they introduce their most important new products. Vis-à-vis Baselworld – where around 300 brands represent the breadth of the watch industry from high-end and mainstream to obscure startups – SIHH has always carefully maintained an image of exclusivity and “prestige.”
So, while a few brands do introduce models in the “mid-level luxury” range that the average person might be able to consider saving up for and possibly actually wearing… you can expect a lot of skeletonization, avant-garde designs, artisanal techniques and haute horology finishing, “high complications,” precious materials, and stratospheric prices. Haute horlogerie is in the name, after all. It has largely been a spectator’s show for fans of high-end watchmaking, but with recent industry trends emphasizing more “down-to-earth” (it’s all relative) models, some balance and variety can at least be hoped for.
SIHH 2018’s 35 Exhibiting Brands
The Richemont Group along with some independent brands long represented the handful of SIHH exhibitors. However, the show’s 2016 edition added a “Carré des Horlogers” section with nine “artisan-creators and independent workshops” and expanded that number in 2017. This year, the Carré des Horlogers brands are up to no fewer than 17, with the primary exhibitors (referred to as “Historic Maisons”) at 18 for a total, again, of 35. The primary exhibitors are joined by Hermes, and the Carré des Horlogers adds five brands with Armin Strom, DeWitt, Ferdinand Berthoud, Élégante by F.P.Journe, and Romain Gauthier. See the full list of exhibitors in the image above.
The DeWitt brand has had its ups and downs over the years along with the global economy, but has recently really sorted out its organizational issues and is over back on track to creating a few of the most intriguing and distinctive timepieces around – like this quite infrequent DeWitt Academia Out Of Time collection. What makes DeWitt watches interesting and exclusive in my opinion? Well, along with creating a complete universe of quite distinctive in-house made motions with a few complications you won’t find anyplace else, DeWitt often employs designs and fashions quite removed from the rest of the watch market. With that said, DeWitt is still completely a Swiss-born-and-bred watch company living in harmony with additional unique market luxury brands.Someday, I’ll write more about Mr. Jerome DeWitt, the polite and bashful lover of all things mechanical who’s both an ancestor of Napoleon Bonaparte and probably a genius of sorts – and Ms. DeWitt, the fiery engine behind the operation who talks with New York-style purpose, and old-world landed aristocracy expectation.For now, I would like to spell out that the DeWitt Academia Out Of Time watch and making this intriguing timepiece. I kind of feel bad for individuals who cannot see this watch in person. You literally cannot understand what the dial looks like in action without viewing it function. The main dial has two subdials using the left having a “flying time” indicator and the right being a “beat second” index. The conquer seconds hand is no more than a dead hand. DeWitt is really into lifeless seconds complications (consider for example the cool DeWitt Academia Grand Tourbillon we proceed hands-on here). Those are if an otherwise sweeping seconds hand on a mechanical movement “ticks” like how moments palms function on quartz watches. For watch fans, the irony is fantastic (along with the background of the performance).
From a media perspective, Baselworld has tended to spread our resources very thinly in past years with simply too much to cover at once, so with some prominent brands having moved from Baselworld to SIHH, we can hope for some balance between the shows. Around 20,000 visitors are expected this year, and the FHH promises improved facilities and connectivity in order to make our job of bringing you high quality content more efficient – so we’ll see what that’s like in January. That’s just a glimpse into our point of view in preparing for the show.
We’ll continue providing news of new products ahead of the show – if mostly only renders and official product images from the brands with basic information before being able to see the watches in person to photograph and evaluate them in their glorious and gritty reality. SIHH 2018 runs from January 15th to the 19th, and again, the last day is open to the public with tickets on sale at the SIHH website. sihh.org