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Three Watches From SIHH 2018 That Deliver Bang For The Buck

Three Watches From SIHH 2018 That Deliver Bang For The Buck
From left: Clifton Baumatic, Vacheron Constantin FiftySix and Panerai Luminor Base Logo 3 Days Acciaio.

At this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, an invite-only luxury watch trade show held annually in Geneva, several watch brands launched collections with an emphasis on value. Let’s face it, value is a relative term in the luxury watch realm. The show, as always, had its fair share of “wow” complications at nosebleed prices, such as A. Lange & Söhne’s $147,000 Triple Split, Greubel Forsey’s Différentiel d’Égalité (265,000 Swiss Francs), and Richard Mille’s $900,000 RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough. But a handful of Richemont brands also sought to entice a younger clientele by lowering the price of entry while delivering quality, no-nonsense mechanical watchmaking.

Baume & Mercier has long been the Richemont’s Group’s value-driven marque. Until now, the brand has used supplied movements from ETA, Valjoux, and Sellita. This year’s Clifton Baumatic is a game changer, though, as it uses the brand’s first proprietary automatic movement produced with Richemont’s ValFleurier, which makes calibers for sister brands Montblanc and Panerai, in collaboration with the Richemont Research & Innovation team.

The new Baumatic features state of the art advances such as a silicon hairspring and escapement, which help endow it with extreme antimagnetic resistance up to 1,500 gauss, 25 times higher than the average. It also delivers an extra long, five-day power reserve, COSC chronometer certification with accuracy of -4/+6 seconds per day, and an extended service period of five years. The brand says it is the first and only Richemont brand allowed to utilize these technical breakthroughs for the foreseeable future. With prices starting at $2,590, the Clifton Baumatic packs a serious punch for the money.

Panerai made a splash by outfitting its new entry-level sport watch, the Luminor Base Logo 3 Days Acciaio (from $4,750), with its in-house P.6000 manual-winding movement with a three-day power reserve. The minimalist design pays tribute to the first Panerais brought to market in 1993 with the original OP logo on the dial. Panerai debuted its first in-house caliber in 2002, and this year marks the first time the brand’s entire lineup is powered by in-house movements.

While $11,700 for a steel, three-hand automatic with date is certainly not cheap, it establishes a new entry-level at Vacheron Constantin, which debuted the FiftySix collection, inspired by a historic model from 1956. The collection is aimed at affluent millennials and others who have aspired to own a Vacheron but were priced out of the brand. While a Richemont Group movement powers the Self-Winding model, it is finished to Vacheron’s uncompromising standards.

For those with even deeper pockets and a taste for complications, FiftySix also includes a Day Date model ($17,400 in steel; $32,500 in pink gold) and a Complete Calendar ($21,600 in steel; $35,800 in pink gold) driven by in-house Vacheron movements that carry the coveted Geneva Seal.