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Still gearing up for next week’s exclusive watch show in Geneva, let’s take a look at those who color way outside the lines, forcing us to reexamine our own assumptions about how the world works. Whether they build every model on the base of their timekeeping innovations, or mix in the oddball piece with more standard fare, these pie-in-the-sky dreamers always give us amazing, thought-provoking pieces.

Hautlence Concepts d'Exception Vortex Bronze
Hautlence Concepts d'Exception Vortex Bronze Modern Luxury


Last year at SIHH, Hautlence devoted a large “kinetic fresco” to the concept of “People in Motion,” featuring a multi-layered, multi-colored display of walkers. This display of dynamism extended to the limited-edition Vortex Bronze, a steampunk model that makes exposed clockwork and a sharp-angled bronze case look futuristic and sleek. Jumping hours pass on the left, with dial-side shading and a bright white frame to remove ambiguity. Retrograde minutes dominate the center, with a power-reserve display arc in the upper right of the dial.

HYT Luminescent Skull Pocket
HYT Luminescent Skull Pocket Modern Luxury


HYT refers to themselves as the “Hydro Mechanical Horologists,” due to the brand’s trademark of displaying the time via tubes filled with brightly colored fluid, instead of the same-old central hour and minute hands. With the Luminescent Skull Pocket, the watchmaker incorporated 21 st -century technology (including a function that illuminates the fluid using a pushbutton at 4:30) within 19 th -century dimensions, a juxtaposition that encompasses even the cover of the watchcase, crafted in titanium and black leather.

MBF HM7 red gold
MBF HM7 red gold Modern Luxury


A consortium of iconoclastic watchmakers that focus mainly on pleasing themselves, MB&F chose SIHH 2017 to release a new chapter in its series of “Horological Machines”: HM7 Aquapod.

MBF HM7 Profile
MBF HM7 Profile Modern Luxury

It is also a marriage of opposites: the jellyfish-inspired design houses a rigorously mechanical central display. Rings for the hours and minutes slowly tick by on this imposing (Ø53.8mm x 21.3mm) wristwatch, lining up the time readoff against an arrow on the rim.

MBF HM7 luminescence
Barely there: MBF HM7 luminescence Modern Luxury

In a nod to undersea bioluminescence, the HM7 Aquapod glows in the dark.

Richard Mille RM50 03
Richard Mille RM50 03 Modern Luxury

Richard Mille

Swimming against the current in this as in so much else, Richard Mille prefers to space new releases out across the year, rather than front-load everything in January in Geneva. That leaves it a lot of flexibility, as well as breathing room for each new model as it is finalized (and debuts, invariably, to an astounding wait list). Last year at SIHH, Richard Mille introduced to the RM 50-03 McLaren F1, produced in collaboration with the racecar manufacturer. Crafted in titanium and grapheme-injected TPT Carbon, the timepiece boasts dimensions of 31.10mm x 32.15mm x 9.92mm, with a featherlight weight of just 40g.

RJ Romain Jerome X Donkey Kong
RJ Romain Jerome X Donkey Kong Modern Luxury

RJ-Romain Jerome

With an irreverent focus on today’s icons—video games—RJ-Romain Jerome devoted its SIHH 2017 release to an arcade classic that still tugs at the heartstrings (thumbstrings?) of Gen Xers: Donkey Kong. Produced in collaboration with Nintendo, and released in a limited edition of 81 pieces, the watch features tiny, pixelated design elements of the game, including a little fellow originally dubbed “Jumpman” and later introduced to the world as… Mario.

Urwerk UR T8
Urwerk UR T8 Modern Luxury


The UR-T8 marked the 20 th anniversary of the Urwerk brand. Inspired in part by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s staid (by comparison) Reverso collection, the timepiece presents two aspects: the wearer can revel in the “wandering hour” time display, in which the minute hand is in fact the hour marker, moseying down the arc at the right-hand side of the case. The unusually shaped, textured case is so distinctively Urwerk that the piece is immediately recognizable even when the entire dial is hidden, shielded behind the “transformer” case. With dimensions of 48.35mm x 60.23mm x 20.02mm, this piece is not for the faint of heart or weak of arm.