Baselworld, the world’s largest watch and jewellery fair, is over for another year. We soaked up the whirlwind action and saw the stunning new watches and jewellery pieces up close – here’s Part One of our favourites
That’s it. Baselworld, the world’s largest luxury watch and jewellery fair, closed its doors yesterday. Our challenge is to wade through thousands of new watches and jewellery, and zero in on the important launches for the year ahead – and we’ve done just that. There were so many fabulous timepieces that we’ve had to breakdown our round-up into two….read on for Part One!
This year we sent our expert team to the show where we unrivalled access to many of the top brands, bringing you the latest news and our verdict on all the new watch and jewellery launches. Catch up on all the Baselworld news on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller
Rolex always creates a lot of noise at the fair – and this year was no exception. Among its stunning new collection is a subtle update to the Sky-Dweller. The watch is always a popular choice with the jet set thanks to its second time zone and annual calendar functionality, and it’s now available in a white and yellow Rolesor outfit – a first for the line, which until previously had only been available in precious metal. Rolesor, the brand’s combination of gold and steel, has been a signature feature of the brand since 1933, matching precious quality with strength and reliability. This handsome White Rolesor version features a bezel cast in 18-carat white gold, while the crown, middle case and bracelet are made from 904L steel. And it looks like last year’s flood of blue-dial timepieces is here to stay: we love this model’s gorgeous blue dial with a sunray finish.
Zenith Defy El Primero 21
Jean-Claude Biver took the reins at Zenith earlier this year, and he’s already making his mark. The big talking point from the brand at Baselworld was the Defy El Primero 21, Biver’s passion project for the past two years as he attempts to inject the iconic El Primero with a touch of 21st century pep. He tasked his watchmakers with creating the fastest and most accurate chronograph in the world and, according to Zenith, they have succeeded. The chronograph hand on this 44mm watch does a full rotation of the dial every second when activated, achieved via a double barrel COSC-certified in-house movement that reaches 360,000 vibrations an hour. Put simply, that means this watch can measure time to the nearest hundredth of a second – an impressive feat of watchmaking. There are three 44mm iterations, including this titanium model with a cool silver-toned dial.
Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC
When it comes to diving watches, there are few as revered as Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms. First launched in 1953, it holds the title for being the world’s first modern diving watch thanks to its pioneering diving features, including the never-before-seen external rotating bezel. This innovation allowed the diver to measure time accurately and easily while underwater, while the watch’s oversized luminous markings aided visibility. The watch was the brainchild of the brand’s then-CEO, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, and soon after he incorporated a circular water-tightness indicator to the line. If liquid leaked into the watch, a disk at 6 o’clock would alert the wearer by changing from white to red. The water-tightness indicator was present on the dial of Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC 1, introduced in 1957-58 to meet the strict requirements of the military. This year’s Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC has a stainless steel 40mm case, and all the technical features of the Fifty Fathoms past. Its black dial showcases a water-tightness indicator at 6 o’clock, while the unidirectional rotating bezel is covered in scratch-resistant sapphire – an innovation first seen on 2003’s 50th anniversary model. The Tribute model is limited to 500 pieces and comes on a NATO strap, a sail cloth strap or a steel bracelet.
Omega Trilogy 1957 Limited Edition
With three of its most iconic watches turning 60 the year, we thought Omega would have something very special waiting for us at Basel. And we were right. The brand is celebrating with cool new versions of all three: the Seamaster 300, the Railmaster and the Speedmaster. Rather than simply tasking its in-house design team to reinterpret the heritage models, the Swiss brand has gone a step further and used unique digital scanning technology to provide the watchmakers with accurate representations of the originals – although the designs have been enhanced for the 21st century. All three are encased in brushed and stainless steel and feature black dials. The retro watches are each limited to 3,557 pieces, and come in a modern version of the original 1957 packaging.
This summer, Rado will be returning to the grass courts of Queen’s Club in London as Official Timekeeper of the Aegon Championships. This prestigious tennis tournament takes place from June 19-25, and as ever it will feature many of the world’s top players. As well as being on centre court with corner clocks timing every second of every match, Rado has also released a True Thinline Tennis with a shimmering blue dial to mark the occasion – and we’re excited to have a three-month exclusive on this watch ahead of the tournament.
Music fans rejoice! Raymond Weil has unveiled a stylish watch that pays homage to the icon that is David Bowie, in tribute to what would have been his 70th birthday. We were lucky to get a glimpse of this exceptional timepiece at the show. The dial looks like a vinyl record on a slick black leather strap, while a 1974 Terry O’Neill photograph is etched into the case back and Bowie’s signature lightning bolt is featured in red at 12 o’clock. The David Bowie Limited Edition freelancer will be released in September, limited to 3,000 pieces. Elie Bernheim, Raymond Weil CEO, says Bowie ‘embodies the free spirit that has guided Raymond Weil day after day’.