Some say SIHH was very subdued this year…and I tend to agree

There was definitely the feeling that it was less crowded than last year.
Alex, Joseph and others have already posted some marvelous pictures and insights into last week’s SIHH.  I’m a little late in posting, so I’ll only add my, incremental, 2 cents:
This was my second year and I had a great time, again!
First of all, I arrived in Geneva on Sunday, the day before SIHH official started.  On Sunday night, VC held a Collector’s Dinner at VC’s first building, the historic Maison on the Quai de l’Ile.  As you would expect…the food was fantastic!

Some say SIHH was very subdued this year…and I tend to agree 

During last year’s tour, we had the chance to disassemble and reassemble some large, pocket watch movements.  Taking them apart was not that difficult, but trying to put them back together again in working order, well…only 1 out of 10 of us actually did it successfully.  Most of us, including me, ended up breaking the smallest components.  After we were done, the VC watchmakers that had to try and fix these movements were speechless:  they had no idea what happened to these poor watches!!!
This year I had the chance to try my hand at finishing a small, metal, item.  This included anglage, perlage and Geneva Waves.   Luckily VC prepared some metal Maltese Crosses that are not used in any watches…therefore there would be no damage to anything important. 
We can’t really take credit for the complete, final, result: because our teachers helped us A LOT in starting things off and fixing our mistakes.  I was sweating while finishing my cross, which VC let us all keep as souvenirs.
Some say SIHH was very subdued this year…and I tend to agree

These activities are my favorite part of the tours, they really let the average person get a feeling for how difficult it really is to make these fabulous watches/works of art.
At the SIHH Exhibition, VC’s booth was, as expected, very classy.  Even the little, paper, mats for drinks were branded with the Maltese Cross J
Some say SIHH was very subdued this year…and I tend to agree 

Across the hall was IWC’s booth, where IWC was focusing on it’s new line of Pilot’s Watches.  They really went all out for their booth, making it look like an Aircraft Carrier…with a jet cockpit and flight simulator.  From inside VC's meeting rooms, we could hear an airplane - but had no idea where it was coming from.  (PALEXPO is close to the Geneva Airport, but we never heard planes before).  The sounds were coming from IWC, surprise

Some say SIHH was very subdued this year…and I tend to agree

Some of us had dinner on Monday night at a great restaurant, Café Papon.  Besides the wonderful food, this is also the oldest, still operating, restaurant in Geneva - dating back to 1420.
Some say SIHH was very subdued this year…and I tend to agree 

During the days at SIHH, I had the pleasure of helping to present the new watches to other collectors and online media VIPs.  During these presentations, I had a great time conversing with others, holding and trying on the new watches (as well as some older, but very special pieces). 
Some say SIHH was very subdued this year…and I tend to agree

This year’s SIHH was over on Friday, January 20, 2012 but I’m already looking forward to next year!!!
Vacheron Constantin introduced very different types of watches at SIHH 2012. 
The Technically Complex:
Patrimony Traditionnelle 14 Day Tourbillon
Even with the tourbillon visible through the dial, it is still elegant (I personally prefer tourbillons without an open dial). 
The Artistically Complex:
Metiers d’Art – Les Univers Infinis

All of the dials are made internally by VC, the 4 specialized artists were all at SIHH – demonstrating the skills they use to make these beautiful dials!  They also allowed attendees try their own hand at some of these crafts, it was great fun!

The Dove Watch has the most complicated dial, as it utilizes all 4 specialized art crafts.  Personally I would have preferred that a different design was used, instead of just changing the colors from the unique Only Watch piece (I think it detracts from that special watch).

The Fish watch is my favorite of these 3 watches because it is one that I feel comfortable actually wearing.  It is beautiful and fits in very well with a grey or nave blue suit!
Some say SIHH was very subdued this year…and I tend to agree
The new shape is longer and skinnier than the previous versions and looks more masculine, because it is not a “round/soft” looking to me.  I also like that this new design looks like there are no lugs.  I only saw pictures of these watches at first and was not really impressed.  But after seeing the actually watches, I changed my mind…they really do look much better in person!

The limited edition, platinum case, version has a dial that is quite fascinating because it has a grainy, yet shiny, dial.  Although at first glance, it may appear plain…after looking at it in more detail, it’s a real beauty and subtle details start to shine.  This is my favorite watch of the new VCs that I think I could afford.
Malte – Tourbillon
This is me favorite VC of the entire show, even though I could never afford it, sad 
This movement was newly made to match the same form and size of it’s tonneau shaped case.  It is a redesign, not just a minor form change from the tonneau shaped tourbillion movement used in the older Malte case.

The dial opening for the Tourbillon was enlarged (I think it is 14mm in diameter?) to really showcase this complication.
Some say SIHH was very subdued this year…and I tend to agree 

As I’ve already said before, I generally don’t like having the tourbillon visible from the dial side… but if you are going to have it visible - make it big enough to be the center of attention and enjoy the beauty of it!
That’s all I’ve got.  Thank you Alex, fellow Loungers that were in attendance, and the entire VC team for making last week such a joy!
Best Regards, Dan
Thanks for the report, Dan
01/25/2012 - 15:37
I am with you on preferring tourbillons to be invisible from the front dial, but I could definitely live with (although I cannot afford) the new Malte Tourbillon. The Métiers d'Art pieces are probably my favorites for 2012, at least from all of the photos. Each of those dials is really stunning - I can only imagine what they must be like in person. Thanks for the additional report. Best, respo
Thanks for the insights Dan
01/25/2012 - 19:25
And how many balance pivots did YOU break wink, or were you the star that actually got it back together?
I think I hit par for the day...
01/25/2012 - 21:06
and only broke 1 pivot, wink. The star of that day was a brilliant eye-surgeon, who I still believe had an unfair advantage to the nature of his profession, laugh. But we also had at least one other person successfully assemble the movement back together during this year's tour.  Congrats to WHL!!! yes...go ahead and put the rest of us to shame! devil BR, Dan
Thanks Dan - a nice insight into SIHH nt
01/26/2012 - 00:04
Last night I was mentally comparing Malte & 1912
01/26/2012 - 00:47
since I've not seen the actual Malte pieces. I thought that 1912 is more 'feminine', curvy & fuller (in thickness) & shorter. Malte, as Dan said is more musculine
thanks for the write up Dan :-)
01/26/2012 - 10:19
Dan almost 'takes-off' from the next booth!........
01/26/2012 - 23:31
Thank you Dan for a most interesting article. I just hope that the engine noise from the 'aircraft carrier' didn't worry you too much? You covered some interesting 'angles' all duly supported with some lovely scans. Well done and thanks. Tony
Thank Dan for the write-up
01/27/2012 - 19:08
It was nice to finally meet you. I'm proud to say that fared better than you at the watch assembly, breaking only 0.5 piece (I did break one part, but since I was teaming up with Richard for the exercise, we'll share the blame...)