This year was the first SIHH I have ever attended, and it completely blew my mind!!! Ironically, when I mentioned to several of my friends who have been in the horological business for decades, that I had been invited to attend SIHH, they kept telling me how envious they were, and repeated that they really wished they could attend. I thought this was kind of strange, and didn't understand what the big deal was, until I walked in the door of SIHH, and was stunned with the amazing world that unfolded in front of me.
I know understand why there were envious. Approximately 14,000 guests attended SIHH this year, from around the planet, of which 12% were journalists. The theme at this years SIHH was, Horologie, A Childe Of Astronomy, which was chosen since so many of the watches featured had amazing movements in them that were like miniature universes.
SIHH is held at a convention center in Geneva, located near the Geneva Airport, named PalExpo, and from what I learned, it has one of the longest build times of any trade-show in the world, at 4-5 weeks. Meaning, that the attending brands begin building out their stores over a month before the invitees attend. If I didn't know any better, I would think I was walking into an enormous, elegant mall, with 24 dedicated watch brand stores. Each brand has its own store, which is highly customized to be an extension of its personality, and the Panerai venue was absolutely stunning!!!
SIHH is enormous, and in many ways it seemed like attending a black tie event, without black ties. In other words, the vast majority of people were wearing elegant business suits. In between all the brand venues/stores, there are restaurants that have an amazing assortment of superb food and drink. When you attend SIHH, there is a magic in the air, and you get the idea you are attending a very special event. Everything about SIHH was absolutely First-Class in every way possible.
Panerai first exhibited at SIHH in 1999. Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati is pictured below chatting with an friend in front of the Panerai Section at SIHH 2014, just as the show began.
Angelo Bonati is considered to be chief architect of the modern Panerai company, and under his decades long leadership, Panerai has grown into a colossal success, which continues to innovate and grow at an unusually fast pace.
I was extremely fortunate to gain the first appointment to for a journalist to preview all the new Panerai models in person, and I immediately published these first wrist shots of the all-new highly limited-edition 45MM Panerai Chronograph models (Reference PAM00518, PAM00519, and PAM00520], which took my breath away!!! These stunning beauties are unique in many senses. Particularly, they are the first Panerai chronograph models to feature the Historic Panerai 1940 case.
The photo below shows the 6152 (pictured above) from the side view, and you notice it features an standard 8MM Rolex "Big Crown" winding crown. This watch is truly sublime and without pier. A true timeless Italian beauty, just like Sophia Loren.