Baselworld is one of the shiniest jewels in the firmament of the watch world. And this year’s event will be as gloriously action-packed as ever. More than 2,000 exhibitors from over 45 countries will descend on Messe Basel in Switzerland at the end of March, in a week-long cavalcade of movements, bezels, complications, hairsprings, tourbillons, good teeth and better parties. With all this brilliance whirring about you, it can be hard to keep up. With that in mind, here is our first eleven from Basel 2018.
Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 Ceramic Blue
The Big Bang is an acquired taste: as the name suggests, it’s an attention seeker. But the latest Blue Ceramic model can’t be accused of not being as progressive in materials as it is looks: the folding clasp, for example, is made of a high-tech, hard, lightweight ceramic called zirconium dioxide, while the innovative movement gives it an impressive 10-day power reserve.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367
That’s not a typo – for extra-plat’ read ‘extra thin’. And, indeed, this watch, at just 7mm deep, set the benchmark as the thinnest tourbillon in production. That was in 2013. This update comes, despite its slender proportions, with an 80 hour power reserve, possible because of some clever friction reduction in the movement. This you can see through an enamel dial – note the slightly off-centre minute track – which ramps up the classic in classique.
Zenith Defy El Primero 21
The Zenith Defy is a serious showstopper: a 44mm case with oversized stepped chronograph buttons, and open-worked aluminium dial and subtle use of colour highlights. But what really makes this watch news is its update of the legendary El Primer movement. That 21 stands for 21st Century and means it has two escapements – one for the time, one for the chromo – and a barrel spring made of Carbon-Matrix Carbon Nanotube. So precise is this chrono as a result that it runs out of energy after 50 minutes. But it’s a start.
Tag Heuer Link Chronograph
Sometimes you have to look beyond the pretty face. Tag Heuer’s Link won plaudits when it was first launched just over 30 years ago thanks to its distinctive bracelet and super-smooth S-shaped links (hence the name). The model got a makeover in 2016 and now, at last, comes a chronograph version. The 41mm all-steel piece’s best variation comes with a blue sunray open dial which some how highlights the Link’s unusual case shape – neither round, nor cushion, but somewhere in between.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel
The world is not short of macho sports watches. Elegant dress watches, on the other hand, are much harder to pull off. Jaquet Droz’s new black ’n’ gold model may dial up the glitz – there’s the 18ct red gold case, the grand feu enamel dial, the black onyx moon disc. But behind the pizzazz is some serious watchmanship: a self-winding movement with 68 hour power reserve, and astronomical moon phase complication. If you must, you could even swim in it.
Bell & Ross V2-92 Steel Heritage Chronograph
Bell & Ross launched its vintage line in part to draw in people who perhaps found its signature square dialled models just a bit too much, partly to tap a nostalgic trend, but also because – so it proved – they were pretty good at it. Their latest is a case in point. At a neater 41mm diameter, the Steel Heritage models (there’s also a chronograph) may only be water resistant to 100m, and may only have an ETA-clone movement, but they are military-inspired beauties: check out the outsized numerals and cream-coloured luminous paint.
Blancpain Traditional Chinese Calendar Year Of The Dog
Blancpain has once again presented a gorgeous limited-edition wristwatch equipped with the Traditional Chinese Calendar in tribute to the splendour and grandeur of the Chinese New Year. A horological complication exclusively developed by the Manufacture in Le Brassus, the Traditional Chinese Calendar is housed in a sleek platinum case, while the movement’s oscillating weight is engraved with the symbol of the current lunar year.
Oris continues to be the unsung hero of good value great design in the watch world and one of its latest, the Clipperton is no exception. It’s named after Clipperton Island, at atoll off the Baja Peninsular and one of the most remote landmasses on the planet, and this is one timepiece you might want should you find yourself stranded there. A stripped back 300m diver, its best detail is the bezel’s black ceramic insert – the kind of thing you’d find on a much pricier watch.
Omega Seamaster Olympic Games
Omega provides all the timing tech for the Olympics, as it has done since 1932. It’s an Olympic year, so naturally Omega is celebrating with a special edition of its Seamaster in six colour ways, one for each ring of the Olympic flag. This alone makes them pop visually in a way most watches – somewhat fearful of using colour – don’t. But the dials – despite their seeming modernity – are also based on on a stopwatch used at the 1976 Montreal/Innsbruck games.
Longines Conquest VHP Chronograph
The brand of the winged hourglass has reached new heights in technical precision with their sports-focused and highly innovative new Conquest V.H.P. The movement, developed exclusively for Longines, has a degree of precision very rarely seen in analogue timepieces, not to mention the ability to reset its hands after impact or exposure to a magnetic field, using the signature Gear Position Detection system.
Glashütte Senator Chronograph - The Capital Edition
The titular capital here is Berlin, and the new Senator Chronograph has been inspired by the city’s remarkable Berlinale festival. With its smoky dials in a unique “Bourbon Grey” hue, the piece matches the inimitable flair of this artistic and entrepreneurial hub, while under the cover the innovative flyback chronograph with 4 Hertz automatic movement maintains the highest standards of stability, aesthetics and precision.
Want more timepieces? Check out our watch of the week, the Watches of Switzerland Zenith Cronometro TIPO CP-2