The annual edition of Baselworld 2017 concluded a few weeks ago, but we can't get the innovative and beautiful timepieces we saw out of our mind.
For eight days every year, the small Swiss city of Basel hosts about 1,400 exhibiting brands and welcomes well over 100,000 visitors for Baselworld, attracting collectors and amateurs alike.
Click through to see the highlights and brands that caught our eye at the world's biggest watch fair.
We had the opportunity to talk to Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, director of Bulgari's Watches Design Centre, who tells us about the brand’s two stars at Baselworld. First is the Octo Finissimo Automatic, where Bulgari once again holds a world record—this time for the slimmest automatic watch at a scant 5.15mm.
He also shares another evolution to their beloved Serpenti. Targeting a much younger consumer, the new Serpenti introduces double wrap-around straps in exotic leathers of various colours. He tells us that they “wanted to offer clients yet another way to wear the Serpenti. This approach is very new to this iconic line and easy to wear”.
Over at Glashütte Original, we witness German watchmaking at its best. A brand which is incredibly underrated, its timepieces deserve much more praise for their incredible craftsmanship and supreme technical accomplishments.
Two of the four new watches it introduced at Baselworld are the Senator Excellence Panorama Date, where we see their new in-house movement, the 36 Excellence movement, enhanced with the addition of a date and moon phase.
Breguet on this occasion introduces a grand complication called the Marine Équation Marchante 5887. The equation of time is one of the rarest and most fascinating horological complications. It serves to display the difference between mean solar time, corresponding to civil or standard hours and minutes, and true solar time, meaning the actual solar hours and minutes.
To put that in perspective, the mean solar time runs up to 16 minutes behind true solar time, as is the case on November 3; or up to 14 minutes ahead of it, as is the case on February 12.This incredibly complicated watch can indicate the civil time and true time by means of two separate minute hands, while the running solar hand provides a direct reading of solar time minutes.
Master of automatons Jaquet Droz mesmerises with the Loving Butterfly Automaton. This piece is inspired by an android automaton created by the brand’s founder Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz over two centuries ago, of a cherub seated on a chariot drawn by a butterfly.
With the press of a button, the butterfly starts to flutter its wings. Every part of the automaton has been engraved and assembled by hand. The automaton mechanism took three years to develop and is fitted with three barrels that allow the butterfly to flutter its wings 300 times over a period of two minutes.
Baselworld is full of surprises, but a bejewelled Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master Rolex was definitely not what we were expecting. This latest iteration of Yacht-Master has its bezel set with sapphires, tsavorites and a diamond.
Its 40mm case is made from a special rose gold alloy, Everose, which is exclusive to Rolex and produced right at their foundry. But make no mistake—this gem-set piece, fitted with the patented Oysterflex rubber strap, is still every bit a sports watch.
This year, Patek Philippe came out with a new perpetual calendar, the Reference 5320G, and it is stunning. Referred to by many in the industry as “pure, unadulterated vintage Patek”, this piece is a great addition for collectors who loved the Patek Philippe watches of the 1940s and 1950s.
A piece with stunning proportions, the day and month indicators are at 1 and 11 o’clock, while the moonphase and date display are at 6 o’clock. The cream lacquer dial matched with a 40mm white gold case makes it overall a very elegant piece that we’re certain will encourage you to check the time more frequently than usual.
Chopard L.U.C. XP
This is another stealth timepiece that sits beautifully on the wrist. At 40mm and equipped with an ultra-thin movement, Chopard’s new L.U.C. XP timepiece slips seamlessly under your sleeve—probably more than you’d like, as you wouldn’t want to keep this stunner hidden.
Featuring a clean silver-toned dial and decorated ever so subtly by an elegant Dacron finishing, the large blued numerals are matched by a blue cashmere fabric strap. Don't let this fine-drawn look deceive you: its in-house movement is equipped with two barrels the can ensure 50 hours of power reserve.
When a collaboration involves one of today's most innovative watchmakers, a design company headed by “the most elegant man in the world”, and an Italian tailor with an expansive and jaw-dropping collection of fabrics, the end result will naturally be epic.
Enter the new Classic Fusion Chronograph Italia Independent collection, where Hublot brings in Lapo Elkann’s design outfit, Italia Independent, and tailor extraordinaire House of Rubinacci. Together, the trio has developed an incredibly chic tartan-themed Classic Fusion collection that watch collectors and fashionistas alike will absolutely fall in love with.
This year, Omega highlights the Railmaster, a model often overshadowed by its more popular siblings: the Seamaster and Speedmaster. All three were created in 1957, although interestingly, the Railmaster hasn't enjoyed the same kind of attention and admiration that it quite deserves.
At 60, the Railmaster finally has its moment. Omega releases what is basically a replica of the first 1957 edition, and it's just as beautiful, but with improved anti-magnetic properties. Its strong yet unassuming aesthetic made it one of the biggest favourites at Baselworld.