The Most Luxurious Timepieces From the Swiss Watch Show

A quartet of jaw-dropping watches redefine the luxury of time.

January 22, 2018 5:00 am

The Salon International de la Haute Horology (SIHH) show in Geneva is the first of the big winter Swiss watch shows that set the tone for the year for those fascinated by fine watches. While the show and associated exhibits through the week in mid-January debuted a multitude of more accessible timepieces from major brands, there are always a few pieces that just go above and beyond. Either through theme, design, detail, or complication, here are some extremely rarified timepieces that debuted at the show and caused a stir for the watch cognoscenti. And, of course, along with over-the-top execution, over-the-top prices just go hand-in-hand.

Ulysse Nardin Classic Voyeur
Ulysse Nardin Classic Voyeur. Ulysse Nardin Classic Voyeur.

Clocks, pocket watches and wristwatches with animated figures on the face have been a part of time-keeping history since the beginning. And so-called “erotic” animations have been the “toys” of the arch wealthy and well-heeled all along that timeline. While Swiss maker Ulysse Nardin is known as sober, classic brand, racy watch themes have been a tradition for them, as well. At the show, the company stunned attendees with this new release, the Classic Voyeur, that depicts some NSFW sexual activities from two superbly wrought couples in pink or white gold caught “in flagrante delicto.” In addition, this provocative 42mm watch functions as a full-on complicated minute repeater, with the switch at 9:00 activating the sensual figures as well as a subtle mechanical bell tone to indicate the time.

Limited to: 18 editions in pink gold or platinum.

Price: $295,000.

IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”
IWC Tribute to Paul Weber. IWC Tribute to Paul Weber.

Watchmaker IWC celebrated its 150th year with enhanced Jubilee versions for its popular Portugiesier, Portofino, Pilot Watch and Da Vinci timepieces all inspired by the rich enamel work and jumping digital hour and minute displays of the circa 1884 Pallweber pocket watches from the company. In addition to those commemorative line pieces, three very special Pallweber-inspired models took things over the top. Comparable to the best piano lacquer work, up to 12 layers of enamel are meticulously polished, adding an extraordinary depth and creamy richness to the watch faces of these special 45mm models, in both blue and white dial executions.

Limited to: 250 pieces

PriceFrom $36,600.

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon
Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon.

The SIHH featured a special exhibit of the house of Cartier’s famous “Mystery” clocks from 1920s and 30s that fascinated watch lovers during the Jazz Era. Today, Cartier’s innovative director of movement creation Carole Forestier-Kasapi takes that heritage onto the wrist. The latest in the house’s series of Mysterious movement timepieces, this 45mm execution in platinum features a double flying tourbillon that completes a rotation of its circular window’s diameter every 5 minutes, seemingly floating in mid-air! With no visible means of support on the special complication, additional skeletonization further opens up the timepiece to offer an impossibly airy and almost magical presentation of a compelling and visually dramatic way to tell the time.

Limited to: 30 pieces.


Bovet Edouard Bovet Tourbillon
Bovet Edouard Bovet Tourbillon.
Marc Gysin
Bovet Edouard Bovet Tourbillon.

With its patented Amadeo case that easily converts from a wristwatch to a pocket watch to a standing tabletop timepiece, elegant maker Bovet’s offerings always embody a refined and classic appeal. To commemorate company founder Edouard Bovet’s voyage to China to explore the possibilities of fine timepiece trade in Asia in 1818, the company honed in on a special 46mm timepiece that focuses on travel functionality equipped with a gravity-fighting tourbillon. The fascinating tourbillon, suspended at 6 o’clock, fights gravity’s accuracy-warping effects, while two additional time zones are indicated at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock with rich depictions of the earth from the north pole. The two additional time zones can be customized and labeled to the desires of each owner. While a masterful execution of classic watchmaking techniques, the addition of luminous paint adds a fun glowing element to the overall approach, taking this decidedly heritage-inspired timepiece into the modern day, especially after the sun sets.

Limited to: 60 editions

Price: From $315,000.


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