2009 Watch Trends from Geneva: Time is Money

Held at the same venue as the Geneva motor show, 17 exclusive watchmakers showcased their 2009 collections at this year’s SIHH.

Cartier discovers its wild side, IWC dives deep off the Galapagos Islands, Piaget plays polo, and Panerai is on the starting-grid in F1 – we show some of the highlights from the 2009 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH):

A. Lange & Söhne

The Richard Lange ‘Pour Le Mérite’ is the third Lange wristwatch with a ‘fusée-and-chain’ transmission and continues the tradition of ‘observation watches’ that solely concentrate on precise time measurement. Despite its up-to-date engineering, the clever movement in fact uses a principle discovered by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th Century – that of overcoming the unavoidable loss of winding torque by harnessing the principle of levers.

The watch is manually wound and limited to a running-time of exactly 36 hours. A key part of the mechanism is the chain comprising 636 individual parts. The watch is a limited edition of 50 in platinum and 200 in pink gold.

Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet presented three complex ‘skeleton’ watches but Classic Driver readers will be most interested in the Jules Audemars self-winding chronograph. It may surprise you, but this is the first time the company has made a chronograph with an automatic movement. The design of its dial is from the era of the 1920s, with highly visible numerals, pear-shaped hands and a ‘minute circle’ with red markers. The 41mm diameter chronometer is available in rose gold from April this year.

Baume & Mercier

Baume & Mercier celebrates 15 years of the Hampton model with new designs of its famous rectangular watch. A highlight must be the Hampton Magnum XXL PVD, an oversize chronograph with a black PVD steel and red gold case. The styling is inspired by one of the vintage models in the manufacturer’s collection produced in 1960. A black alligator leather bracelet with three-fold safety folding latch completes the classic look.


The Santos 100 takes the expression ‘skeleton’ to a new dimension. Instead of a conventional dial, the star of the Cartier collection at the 2009 SIHH features a sapphire crystal (front and reverse) with the Roman numerals, XII, III, VI and IX, made up of components of the movement itself, visible through the crystal.

This mechanical movement with manual winding was designed and developed by Cartier to relieve the dial of its traditional task of indicating the time and is the subject of a registered patent.


The case of the Girard-Perregaux WW.TC Shadow is made from black ceramic and houses the company’s self-winding movement GP3387. This simultaneously displays the date, small seconds and the time in 24 different time zones. It also features a fly-back chronograph and the visibility of all these functions has been considerably enhanced for 2009. At the reverse of the watch, the movement can be seen underneath a dark-tinted sapphire glass.


The Aquatimer has been a firm favourite in the IWC collection since 1964. For 2009, the Schaffhausen company has made a limited edition Galapagos Islands version to commemorate its charitable association with ecology, conservation and the Charles Darwin Foundation. Like the volcanic coastal rock of that region, the latest Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Islands is flat black. Its dial is rubberised to contrast with the sharp, white hands.

Jean Richard

The latest creation from Jean Richard needed five years’ development from prototype to production. The Paramount Tourbillon Linear Power Reserve is a square, Bauhaus-inspired white gold tourbillon with its power reserve expressed in linear (straight, as opposed to semi-circular) form. Hence the name. The designers have moved the power reserve from 4.30 to 10 o’clock; thereby making space for the pink gold skeleton bridge.


Montblanc, with its Star Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher Chronograph Open Date, wins the prize for ‘the watch with the longest name’ at SIHH 2009. It also won praise and plaudits for its clever use of revolving dials – rather than hands – as a timing method for its chronograph function. The name ‘Nicolas Rieussec’ is a reference to the man who invented the chronograph almost 200 years ago. The watch is manually wound using the chunky, knurled crown, which is decorated with an inlaid Montblanc emblem made of genuine mother-of-pearl. It is available in red gold, stainless steel or platinum, the latter limited to just 25 pieces.


In addition to the regular collection of ‘Ferrari Engineered by Officine Panerai’ watches, the 2009 Geneva show saw several special, all-new models. Of significance is the limited-edition (to just 100 watches) Ferrari Chronograph 45mm, DLC. It’s a twin-counter chronograph with an all-black case in DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) finish, natural rubber strap and not only the Ferrari logo at 12 o’clock but, for the very first time in a Ferrari Engineered by Officine Panerai watch, a silhouette of a Ferrari racing car, at 6 o’clock.


The Tondagraph model (Calibre PF 354) grande complication has joined Parmigiani Fleurier’s other Haute Horlogerie collections and is noted for its marriage of the technical function of a chronograph with the clever engineering solution of a tourbillon. Just 15 examples will be made: all in 18-carat white gold with a Hermès, alligator strap.


The Piaget Polo FortyFive Chronograph is made of titanium, a first for the company. It’s a new take on the classic shape of the brand, watertight to 100 metres and married to an injection-moulded rubber strap. The large diameter case – 45mm – is right up-to-date and curbed to match the shape of the wrist. Its sapphire back clearly shows the 880P movement (designed and developed entirely in-house, with a chronograph and flyback function).

Ralph Lauren

For Ralph Lauren’s very first watch range, the company has launched three different collections: the Ralph Lauren Stirrup Collection, the Ralph Lauren Slim Classique Collection, and the Ralph Lauren Sporting Collection. The silhouette of the Ralph Lauren Stirrup Collection watch is classic, and typical of the company’s equestrian theme. The stirrup-shaped chronograph, available in white gold, rose gold or platinum, is set on a calf or alligator strap in classic black or brown. For the ultimate in luxury, the chronograph model is offered in platinum, with a white enamel dial, blued hands and a crown inset with a black onyx. This limited-edition model is available in a series of 67 pieces issued to commemorate 1967 – the year the Polo Ralph Lauren brand was created.


Text: Classic Driver
Photos: The brands

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