GENEVA - It’s not every day that you have a VIP pass to access the most prestigious and exclusively invite-only horological fair in the world. Luckily for me, I did. The 24th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), held from 20 to 24 January in Geneva, was a fabulous affair. The exposition sets the stage for the sixteen prestigious horological Maisons to unveil their up-to-the-minute timepieces amidst respected experts and creative minds.
At the SIHH I was not only exposed to exquisite timepieces, but was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with horological legends. I was lucky enough to see Greubel & Forsey and also to join a master class given by Philippe Dufour himself!
Master enamellers Anita Porchet and Suzanne Rohr.
I also had the good fortune to chat with the renowned master enameller Anita Porchet and her mentor Suzanne Rohr, two women who are much revered within the industry, known for producing flawless enamel dials on the most coveted modern watches. Suzanne Rohr and Anita Porchet are both exceptional in practise and are the last duo holding the torch for enamelled art within the trade.
The IWC Stand at the SIHH.
In addition to the contemporary manufacturers - such as IWC, whose display included an amazing fish tank - there was also an historical timeline from the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, which contextualised the development of horology throughout the ages. The display reiterated the huge impact and influence these past masters have on the production and techniques employed by current watchmakers. I had the privilege to be briefed on this by Gregory Gardinetti, a fine watchmaking historian and his mentor Dominique Fléchon, a famous writer and scholar in the field.
Dominique Fléchon and Gregory Gardinetti from the FHH.
The SIHH is a true paradise for watch aficionados like myself; with the vast number of experts, enthusiasts and specialists attending, it promises a progressive and prosperous market for the following year.