Any day that takes in Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Vacheron Constantin and Greubel Forsey is going to be pretty special for even the most jaded watch writer. Safe to say the editorial plans pretty much write themselves when there is so much of real quality on show, the main problem being to work out what to leave out. What was surprising was to discover how keen these brands are to look beyond the confines of their own workshops.
Vacheron, for example, will be extending their support of craft and applied arts to the UK with a project developed alongside the Walpole Group later this year, while Greubel Forsey's mission to pass their skills on to future generations takes another step forward in the shape of 'Le garde temps, la Naissance d'une Montre' - a project Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey conceived alongside the famed Philippe Dufour. And both showed the value of a wider perspective in the watches they showed at the Salon. Vacheron's remarkable enamel watches quixotically inspired by the fabulous 18th Century Florilegium created by Robert Thornton are simply astounding.
Jaeger-LeCoultre are possibly the most relentless innovators at the SIHH with, as every year, a tsunami of new watches, refined movements, exotic materials and the longest product names in the industry. Seemingly Jaeger are never short of an anniversary either, this year being the company's 180th, an excuse to show one of the thinnest and most exquisite wristwatches ever made, the Jubilee "Couteau". Panerai, by contrast, evolve incrementally to the point where a truly wearable 42mm Radiomir slips under the radar behind a Panerai with colour on the dial. Meanwhile, if you do not discover that this year is all about the Ingenieur and Mercedes F1 for IWC, it will not be their fault.