As a sister event to SIAR Mexico City,June 11-13,2015, saw the Salón Internacional de Alta Relojería (SIAR) opening its doors once again, this year in Spain.SIAR Madrid is really a spin-off event (run by most of the same people) from the long-standing salon held in México that aBlogtoWatch founder Ariel covered for its 2014 event here. This was the second edition and, for what I hear from the exhibiting brands, the outcome was pretty decent, which augurs a third edition.
The preamble was not very promising, though: after days of scorching heat, Madrid was hit by a monsoon, a freak downpour which flooded the city. It proved two things: Swiss watches are water-resistant,nonetheless, provisional outdoor tents are not to be trusted in heavy rain. Following the deluge, exhibitors (some of them at least) raced to the scene at 3am to get things ready to fall in – which they did, for the most part.
SIAR Madrid 2015 was held in a nineteenth century mansion with a certain opulent decadence, an appropriate venue for the thirteen luxury Swiss watch brands in attendance. The main garden led to the Audemars Piguet stand, located in what was originally an indoor pool. The atmosphere was really agreeable. It was a bit like the SIHH but far more relaxed, with all the exhibitors willing to show and allow you to film and photograph the pieces for as long as you want. Two days were set aside for the press, and the last two days the doors were opened to the public, offering a unique opportunity to appreciate the watches that we would otherwise only see in press releases. The brand representatives actually encouraged conversations with professionals, collectors, and aficionados in a relaxed mood.
Some brands had watchmakers on show assembling calibres to give visitors an idea of the nearly – and sometimes downright – microscopic world they deal with. It is amazing how with all the noise, they can still concentrate and manage parts that often are less than a millimeter long.
As far as I knwo, what everybody wants to know are which watches were shown at the SIAR Madrid 2015. It is not all of them, of course, because the brands came with quite a repertoire, but let’s point out the most important ones.
Apart from around 20 historic pieces from Audemars Piguet’s museum, the manufacture showed its two concept watches. One was the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept RD 1, a minute repeater with a surprisingly loud sound. I was skeptical when it was first announced, but I must admit, I was very wrong. To give you an idea of the exceptional sonority of this watch, Claudio Cavaliere, AP’s Global Brand Ambassador, took ten steps away from my position at the bar. When he activated the repeater, the barman had the brilliant idea of pouring ice cubes into a bucket, but I could still hear it! Outstanding.
There was also the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher (article here), which is hands down the most complicated chronograph out there. While there is a detailed explanation in the linked article, I have done a video explaining it (in Spanish) to help understanding the complex functioning of the chronograph.
The powerful maison invaded SIAR Madrid 2015 with its creations, dedicating one whole room to the new Clé de Cartier. We were also shown the mighty Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon Skeleton (read more about the Astrotourbillon here), with its ethereal but at the same time blunt presence.
Another treat of the salon. One of the best watchmakers out there, each F.P. Journe piece is an exercise in exquisiteness. Take, for example, the F.P. Journe Octa Automatic Réserve, in which the dial is a block of stamped gold that is then sanded down and applied with a layer of silver – except for the numerals, which appear to be applied when they are in fact part of the solid face.