SIHH 2017: Introducing the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Annual Calendar

The entry-level full calendar watch from Lange is hand-wound and unusually, the date on a sub-dial.

While far from being the most complicated watch introduced by A. Lange & Söhne at SIHH 2017 – the honour goes to the Tourbograph Perpetual Pour le Mérite – the 1815 Annual Calendar is functional and affordable, relatively speaking. Being hand-wound and lacking a big date, the 1815 Annual Calendar a different take on a complication already offered by Lange, which introduced the automatic Saxonia Annual Calendar a couple of years ago.

Unusually for a Lange calendar watch, the 1815 Annual Calendar does without the brand’s trademark big date display, instead showing all the calendar indications in a conventional manner with three sub-dials.

Lange 1815 Annual Calendar 5

Like all annual calendars, the new 1815 has to be adjusted only once a year at the end of February. The pusher at two o’clock advances all calendar displays forwards simultaneously, while individual calendar displays can be set via pushers recessed into the case.

The L051.3 movement inside is based on the L051 family of calibres used in the 1815 and 1815 Up/Down. It’s hand-wound with a 72-hour power reserve. While the movement architecture is typical of Lange, the exposed ratchet and crown wheels for winding are uncommon for the brand.

Lange 1815 Annual Calendar 2

Lange 1815 Annual Calendar 3

Pricing and availability 

Measuring 40mm in diameter and 10.1mm high, the 1815 Annual Calendar is available in white gold (ref. 238.026) or pink gold (ref. 238.032), and priced at €37,500. It will be available at boutiques and retailers in fall 2017.


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SIHH 2017: Introducing the Time-Only, 40mm IWC Da Vinci Automatic

The entry-level men's watch in the new Da Vinci collection is to the point and affordable.

The restyled Da Vinci line is the focus of IWC‘s line-up at SIHH 2017, and it’s heavy on complicated watches for men and simpler watches for ladies. There’s only a single time-only watch for men, the Da Vinci Automatic.

Stainless steel and 40mm in diameter, the Da Vinci Automatic takes some inspiration from the Da Vinci SL of the 1990s, a sporty, steel model that sold modestly. The “SL” appellation has been used for various watches in IWC’s history, being short for possibly “Safety and Longevity” or “Sports Line”.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic 1

But the new Da Vinci leans towards being a dress watch, available with a silver or grey dial, both featuring applied Arabic numerals. The movement inside is the IWC calibre 35111, which is actually a low-cost but robust Sellita SW300.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic 2

Price and availability

The Da Vinci Automatic is priced at US$5400 on strap and US$6400.

Update January 30, 2017: Pricing added.

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SIHH 2017: A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the Tourbograph Perpetual Pour le Mérite

The flagship complication from Lange boasts a split-seconds, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, as well as chain and fusee.

The A. Lange & Söhne line-up at SIHH 2017 is half a dozen strong, and right at the very top sits the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite”, which builds on the first Tourbograph that was introduced in 2005.

The new Tourbograph adds a perpetual calendar to the original combination of split-seconds chronograph, tourbillon regulator as well as a chain and fusee constant force mechanism. This quartet of complications makes it the most complicated watch in the Lange catalogue, save for the gargantuan Grand Complication.

Lange Tourbograph Perpetual Pour le Mérite 1

Comprised of 684 parts, the L133.1 movement inside the new Tourbograph has some 50% more components than the original. Consequently the watch expectedly larger than the original, with the case is sizeable 43mm in diameter and 16.6mm high.

Visually, however, the movement is nearly identical from the back, with majority of the changes taking place under the dial, where the perpetual calendar mechanism had to be installed in a narrow space.

Lange Tourbograph Perpetual Pour le Mérite 3

And like most of the other Pour le Mérite equipped with a chain and fusee – there are now five of them – the new Tourbograph has a shortish 36-hour power reserve, because the chain and fusee mechanism takes up a significant amount of real estate.

Price and availability 

Available at Lange boutiques and retailers in the last quarter of 2017, the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite” (ref. 706.025F) is priced at €480,000.


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SIHH 2017: Vacheron Constantin Introduces the Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600

Twenty-three cosmic complications.

Vacheron Constantin hits the ground running on the very first day of SIHH 2017, taking the covers off one of the most complicated watches of the fair. The Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 boasts 23 astronomical complications – ranging from a sky chart to the tide levels – packed into a two-sided, 45mm watch case. And it also has six barrels for a three week, or 504-hour, power reserve.

Conceived by Vacheron Constantin’s elite watchmakers in Les Cabinotiers, the department dedicated to custom timepieces, the Celestia was five years in the making. It follows in the footsteps of other one of a kind creations from the department – les cabinotiers is a 19th century term referring to a watchmaking workshop in Geneva – like the Double Axis Armillary Tourbillon and the Ref. 57260, the most complicated timepiece ever.

Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600-7

The Celestia is powered by the calibre 3600, a 514-part movement that’s a modest 8.7mm high, though it’s a very large 36mm in diameter. It has 23 astronomical complications, most of which were already found on the Ref. 57260 grand complication pocket watch.

The complications start with three types of time – civil, solar and sidereal. The first two are shown on the front of the watch, and the last on the rear.

Each time indication is distinct and powered by its own gear train. Civil time is shown by the white gold Breguet-style hands on the front, being the usual time based on 24-hours shown on ordinary watches.

Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600-8

A pink gold hand with a sun-shaped tip indicated solar time, also known as the equation of time, which is based on the motion of the Sun. This can range from -16 to +14 minutes throughout the year, because the Earth’s orbit around the Sun is elliptical. Notably, this is a running equation of time, showing solar time in real time, rather than being the more commonly found indicator that displays the deviation between solar and civil time.

Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600-1

Besides the time displays, there are a dozen more complications on the front. They include a perpetual calendar, a mareoscope that shows the tide levels in the aperture at 11 o’clock, sunrise and sunset times located at five and seven o’clock, and an indicator for the zodiac signs, seasons, solstices and equinoxes at four o’clock.


Display for zodiac signs, seasons, solstices and equinoxes

Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600-5

Over on the rear, the display centres on two sapphire discs. The key feature is the star chart that shows the night sky when seen from the Northern Hemisphere.

Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600-6

The outer edge of the back display shows the months of the year as well as a power reserve indicator (that goes from “Full” to “Empty”). And the discs also indicate sidereal time – based on the Earth’s rotation relative to the stars.

Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600-2

The calibre 3600 is hand-wound, with half a dozen barrels, arranged in threes, for a 21 day power reserve. Partially visible through the back, the movement has a frosted rhodium-plated finish, as well as clear instead of the usual red rubies, to maximise legibility of the display on the rear.

Vacheron Constantin calibre 3600

The white gold case is 45mm in diameter and 13.6mm high.

Price and availability 

The Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 (ref. 9720C/000G-B281) is made to order – with plenty of customisation possible – and priced at about €900,000.


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SIHH 2017: Audemars Piguet Facelifts the Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm, Plus One in Titanium & Platinum

The Royal Oak Chronograph gets two-tone dials, as well as a new model that combines platinum and titanium.

Five years after its launch, the Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm has been restyled for SIHH 2017. Audemars Piguet kept the fundamentals the same, applying some minor tweaks to the dial to give it a sportier look (compare it with the earlier version).

All the new Royal Oak Chronograph variants feature two-tone dials, with the sub-dials in contrasting colours. Another obvious change are the enlarged registers for elapsed minute and hours, while that for the constant seconds has been reduced. This improves legibility somewhat, since elapsed time has to be read, while the sub-seconds is merely a reminder that the watch is running.


To the same end, the hour markers are now wider and shorter, with a broader strip of Super-Luminova for increased nighttime glow; the same has been done for the hands as well (the counterweight of the seconds hand now has luminescent paint as well).

All the Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm models are equipped with the calibre 2385, which is actually the Frederic Piguet 1185, a compact and slim automatic movement.


The new range includes four models in pink gold, in either blue or brown, accompanied by either an alligator strap or matching gold bracelet, as well as three in stainless steel with black, white or blue dials.

All in stainless steel, except the bottom right in titanium and platinum

Ti and Pt

And most intriguing, the line-up also includes the Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm in titanium and platinum (ref. 26331IP.OO.1220IP.01).

This unusual, boutique-only model has most of the case and bracelet in brushed titanium, with the bezel and centre links of the bracelet in polished platinum for a striking contrast of surface finishes.

And the dial is grey with the sub-dials and minute chapter ring in dark blue, the same combination of colours found on the first generation Royal Oak Offshore in titanium.

The version in titanium and platinum

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.


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Richemont Posts Meagre Improvement in Quarterly Results Ahead of SIHH

The conglomerate's third quarter sales grew 5%, with slight improvements across all areas.

Just days before SIHH 2017 is due to open – the event is dominated by Richemont’s subsidiary brands like Cartier and IWC – the Swiss group got a slight respite in its third quarter results, after a dismal first half that saw profits fall by 51%, leading to drastic management changes.

Sales for the third quarter that ended on December 31, 2016, traditionally a period with strong performance thanks to the holidays, rose 5% globally compared to the same period a year before.

European sales were up 3% thanks to the weak sterling pound driving UK sales as well as good demand for jewellery. And in Asia sales were up 10%, with China and Korea being responsible for the positive showing, though Hong Kong and Macau continued their downward slide.

Another trend that continued was the divergence between the performance of retail stores (meaning boutiques owned by Richemont itself) against wholesale (authorised retailers).

While retail grew 12%, wholesale declined 3%, illustrating the continued pessimism of watch retailers. Most of Richemont’s wholesale revenue is from watches, while jewellery is sold exclusively through its own retail stores.

That was also reflected in the results by segment: the jewellery division grew 8%, while its watchmakers collectively saw a 2% fall in sales.

Because the uptick in the third quarter was marginal, sales are still down 6% for the first nine months of the financial year. The next quarter is not likely to change that. Full year results will be announced in mid May.


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SIHH 2017: IWC Introduces the Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph

IWC's flagship complication boasts a hacking, flying tourbillon, as well as a chronograph and retrograde date.

IWC unveiled the smartly redesigned Da Vinci just before SIHH 2017, but kept the top of the line model under wraps, until now. The Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph features complications found on other IWC timepieces, but never before combined together.

Powered by the calibre 89900 – a variant of the movement that also underpins the new Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph – its most unusual feature is the hacking flying tourbillon. When the crown is pulled, a pair of levers touch the rim of the balance wheel, which is somewhat small relative to the movement and case, stopping the tourbillon to enable more precise time setting. An unusual feature that A. Lange & Söhne pioneered, the hacking tourbillon is a first for IWC.

IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph 2

Also unusual are the diamond-coated silicon pallet fork and escape wheel, which boast the hardness of diamond plus the magnetism-resistance of silicon. Again this material has been used by Ulysse-Nardin and Cartier (which is a sister company of IWC), but is making its debut for IWC.

According to IWC, the properties of the diamond-coated silicon parts boost the efficiency of the movement enough that the it retains the 68-hour power reserve of the basic chronograph-only version, despite the addition of the tourbillon and retrograde date.

IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph 1

On an arc on the left of the dial is the retrograde date mechanism that ends at the sub-dial at 12 o’clock. Like all other watches that use the calibre 89000 family of movements, the sub-dial at 12 contains both the elapsed minutes and hours for the chronograph.

IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph 4

The red gold case is 44mm in diameter and 17mm high, with the articulated lugs that characterise the new Da Vinci.

Price and availability 

The Da Vinci Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph is priced at US$103,000.

Update January 30, 2017: Pricing added.

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