Melwin Joy
AUTHOR

Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy
Baselworld 2018: World’s best watch fair

What Disneyland is to children, Baselworld 2018 is to watch enthusiasts! World’s biggest – not to mention most impressive and exquisite – watch fair every year, just before Easter, attended by the most preeminent watch journalists, buyers and horologists in the industry that come here to take in all the weird, wonderful and downright desirable new creations from the world’s biggest watch and jewellery brands.

With nearly 700 exhibitors and more than 100,000 visitors, Baselworld is by far the world’s largest offline platform for introducing new timepieces from the most famous brands. Glitzy stands fill the cavernous exhibition centre in Basel, showing off the best innovation and invention horology has to offer. Brands including Rolex, Tag Heuer, Hublot, Tudor, Omega and many more are the stars of this show.

Let’s take a sneak-peek at what has been unveiled this year.

ROLEX

Fans have been calling for a steel GMT Master II with the classic red and blue ‘Pepsi’ bezel for a while now, and Rolex has listened and has upgraded it. The Swiss brand has made welcome changes to the lugs and sides of the case, and fitted it on an attractive five-link Jubilee bracelet.

The new GMT-Master II watches are equipped with the new calibre 3285, a next-generation movement with big improvements in precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability.

Rolex also introduced a new generation of the Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36, Datejust 31 and Deepsea Sea-Dweller. If all of those sound too understated, the watch maker also unveiled an 18 ct Everose gold version of the Cosmograph Daytona, with a bezel set with a gradation of sapphires in rainbow hues, case is adorned with 56 brilliant-cut diamonds and 11 baguette-cut sapphire hour markers.

TAG HEUER

TAG Heuer took to the stage to unveil a new, modern version of its flagship chronometer, combining two of traditional watchmaking’s most famous complications: a tourbillon and a chronograph.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon Chronometer, as it’s called, looks fantastic with an understated midnight blue ceramic case, complemented by a ceramic bezel and lugs. This colour scheme is carried onto the movement, with elegant touches of blue on the weight and barrel.

What really makes this piece special is that it’s the first TAG Heuer chronograph to bear the prestigious “Tête de Vipère” stamp of excellence, awarded by the Besançon Observatory. As a result, the stamp has been applied to the movement, visible through the sapphire crystal of the case back.

Only 155 pieces are being released to celebrate 55 years since the Heuer Carrera was first created.

As part of the celebration, TAG Heuer also unveiled a new GMT version of the Carrera featuring the Heuer 02 manufacture movement, as well as a revised Carrera Calibre 16 Chronograph.

OMEGA

Omega has showcased the Seamaster 1948 Limited Edition at Baselworld. The original Seamaster was launched in 1948, and became Omega’s first family of watches. This limited edition has been released to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Seamaster, paying tribute to the brand’s post-war classic.

This piece oozes retro charm, with a stainless steel case, polished bezel, opaline silvery domed dial and polished crown. The dial is finished off with a small seconds indication at 6 o’clock, as well as leaf-style hour and domed minute hand.

As a tribute to the many aviators and mariners who placed their trust in Omega, the flat sapphire crystal caseback of each watch is laser engraved and lacquered by hand with a 70th Anniversary logo, a Chris-Craft boat and Gloster Meteor aircraft. Each model is limited to 1,948 pieces.

Omega also added a 42mm model to the Seamaster Diver 300 Collection and announced a “Dark Side of the Moon” Apollo 8 edition of the Speedmaster, with a striking black and yellow colourway.

TUDOR

Tudor’s Black Bay range has been tremendously successful, and looking to build on that success Tudor is releasing a more compact model with a 39mm diameter case.

Called the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, it’s named after the year in which Tudor released its first diver’s watch, and comes in a new colour combination. It’s a subtle variation on the exiting range, but the hour markers, hands and minute track of the black and steel bezel are now finished in gold.

They’re small touches but we love the vintage aesthetic it creates. The winding crown tube is made from satin-brushed steel, and the crown bears the Tudor rose logo.

The Fifty-Eight launches with the Calibre MT5402, the first of Tudor’s second family of movements. With its 26 mm diameter, it’s been designed for medium-sized watches, which is capable of displaying hour, minute and second functions. Despite its smaller size, you’ll still get a 70-hour power reserve.

Tudor has also released its first GMT model, the Black Bay GMT. The piece sports a distinctive blue and burgundy bezel, managing to retain a strong ‘Black Bay’ identity, and features a new manufacture movement. The additional time zone is indicated by the red ‘snowflake’ hand, which spins around the dial in 24 hours.

HUBLOT

Hublot’s new Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon is completely transparent, everything from the case, to the dial, strap, and tourbillon movement have been given a clear makeover. It represents a breakthrough in the use of sapphire in watch making, and it looks absolutely stunning. The crystal mechanics appear to float, while the dial and its numbers, index and power reserve indicator are all opalescent to add some subtle contrast.

Hublot also announced a smaller Big Bang Unico, now measuring 42mm, perfect for slimmer wrists, and Big Bang MP-11 in 3D carbon. The MP-11 is reinforced with three-dimensional fibre woven resin, and shaped into a case inspired by a race engine.

PATEK PHILIPPE

To celebrate the 50th birthday of Patek Philippe’s classic ‘Golden Ellipse’, the watch maker has graced this iconic design with rose gold.

When it first appeared in 1968, Patek’s Golden Ellipse was a bold departure from traditional watch shapes, inspired by the principle of the “golden section”. It was crafted using the ‘divine’ ratio of 1 / 1.6181. It forms the basis of some of history’s greatest works of art, architecture, and, since 1968, horology. It has a timeless elegance to it, which is emphasised by the thin 5.9mm case and simple black face.

Patak Philippe also added to its sporty watch collections, with the first perpetual calendar in the Nautilus collection and the first chronograph in the Aquanaut range.

BELL & ROSS

Bell & Ross is, perhaps, the ultimate reference when it comes to professional aviation watches. With its iconic square shape and clean graphic lines, there really is nothing else like it.

The brand brought two new pieces, the BR03-94 Horolum and the BR03-92 Horoblack. Their name comes from ‘Horo’, which is a reference to B&R’s concept using matt micro blasted steel on the boxes and dials for an optimal readability.

The Horolum features lashings of ultra-phosphorescent Superluminova C3 on the hands, indexes, and numbers. The colour designed to mimic the lighting on landing strips, and will offer excellent readably at night. Horoblack features an identical design, but replaces the lume with black paint. We think this bold monochromatic colourway looks fantastic.

The Horoblack is limited to 999 pieces, while Horolum is limited to just 500 pieces.

The Bell & Ross BR V1-92 Racing Bird and BR V2-94 Racing Bird Chronograph are also being unveiled at Baselworld, designed as companions to the BR-Bird racing plane concept.

NOMOS GLASÜTTE

Nomos Glashütte presented a new sporty automatic watch at Baselworld 2018 drawing inspiration from a car’s speedometer. Its name? The Autobahn of course!

The piece uses Nomos’ new neomatik date caliber (DUW 6101), and looks distinctive at 41mm in diameter. Its design makes reference to the mechanism beneath, with the date ring running along the outer edge; showing off an elongated date window way down at six o’clock.

Nomos also released ‘Tetra Petit Four’, four square watches in spring colours, and added the neomatik date movement to its existing Tangente, Orion, and Ludwig models.

MONDAINE

Three years since the launch of Mondaine’s first horologically-styled hybrid smartwatch, Mondaine has released a successor – Mondaine Helvetica Regular Smartwatch.

The new hybrid watch uses a 281 module technology created in collaboration with MMT, allowing it to easily sync with an iOS or Android phone through the MMT-365 app. It has the added ability to receive Call & Email Notifications, in addition to the existing model’s ability to track daily Activity and monitor sleep. It also has an impressive 2 years battery life.

More to follow…

Melwin Joy
AUTHOR

Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy