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Best of SIHH 2014: The most beautiful watches from the Geneva show

Having perused the latest offerings from the luxury manufacturers at SIHH 2014 – from Audemars Piguet to Van Cleef & Arpels – our roving reporter J. Philip Rathgen presents his favourites from the fair…

Lange & Söhne 1815 Tourbillon: Saxony, the home of beautiful watches

The fine timepieces of Saxony-based A. Lange & Söhne prove that it's not only the Swiss who can produce watches respected the world over. Glashütte’s 2014 tourbillon stays true to a classic style, and despite the rose-gold model costing 130,000 euros, it remains understated – and that’s a good thing, in our eyes. 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph: A pound of gold

Although chunky gold watches have traditionally been associated with less-desirable figures, that looks set to change in 2014. Proof comes in the form of AP’s new Royal Oak Chronograph, which has an unpolished rose-gold casing and matching band. Traces of Gérald Genta’s original design remain, but the large (42mm) case and its resulting weight (almost a pound!) mean that this is now a watch that can only be worn by ‘real men’.

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton: A clock with a view

Refreshingly, the design statement behind Cartier’s watches are made by a woman: Carole Forestier-Kasapi is the Parisian watchmaker’s in-house creative genius. This year has seen Cartier introduce numerous technical innovations, as well as creating one of the most beautiful watches ever to come out of France. The Tank Louis Sapphire Skeleton is a real work of art, and reminds us of an installation by artist Carla Guagliardi with its seemingly ‘floating’ mechanism encased between two panes of sapphire glass. 

IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition ‘Galapagos Islands’: Black, beautiful and full of breath

With the revival of the ‘Aquatimer’ diver’s watch collection, IWC follows the underwater trend. The new ‘Galapagos Islands’ model was unveiled in Geneva and has a unique look, with rubber covering the entire casing. Buyers will be confident in the knowledge that they’ve not only invested in a reliable diver’s watch, but also that they’ll be supporting the Charles Darwin Foundation, which focuses on protecting the island’s unique landscape.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Left-Handed 3-Days: Left is right

Whether there’s really a need for a left-handed watch is debatable, but undoubtedly the best timepiece specifically made for left-handers is produced by Panerai, which first introduced the variant back in the 1950s. The latest model looks like the original models, albeit with the left-handed crown and its extravagant protector deleted. For those who insist on sporting a left-hooker, the Luminor Left-Handed is right on the money.

Parmigiani Tonda Metro: A classy introduction

A budget cap of 20,000 euros previously meant you’d have to overlook the products of Parmigiani, but that’s no longer the case. With the Tonda Metro, the relatively new watchmaker is using a starting price of 15,000 euros and a new design to attract a younger audience, with young designers enlisted to create no fewer than five variants. One thing’s for sure: this is only the start of the realignment at Parmigiani.

Classic and modern watches from all the major luxury manufacturers can be found for sale in the Classic Driver Market.