Top Talking Points (And Watches) From Baselworld 2018—Day One And Two
All eyes are on Breitling following George Kern's defection to the brand from Richemont Group. At Baselworld 2018, Breitling unveiled its new set of Hollywood ambassadors, comprising superstars Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, Adam Driver, and Daniel Wu. More ambassadors will be revealed in the coming weeks, but these four have more than enough star power to drive the entire ship, if you ask us.
Breitling CEO George Kern has previously mentioned that they would be expanding Breitling's range of watches to include more than just the super sized. The Navitimer I, at 38mm, is a beautiful (and wearable) example.
But to make sure that they don't disappoint fans of Breitling's big boys, the brand has also launched the Navitimer Super 8, which measures a whopping 50mm in diameter.
Hublot started Baselworld off with a Big Bang—football style. The brand is a sponsor for the Football World Cup 2018, and has a number of footballers under their ambassador umbrella. They include Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, legendary footballer Diego Maradona, and footballer-hopeful and world-class retired sprinter Usain Bolt. Mourinho and Maradona each led a team in a Match of Friendship, which ended in an 11-11 tie. Bolt was placed on Mourinho's team, and played admirably well. Whether he will go on to become a professional footballer is still in question, but either way, the man is still a legend.
Connected watches are everywhere these days, even at Hublot. The brand appropriated the Connected Watch from fellow LVMH brand TAG Heuer, and created the Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia watch, which is targeted at football match referees and fans of the sport. The watch features a special app that will alert the wearer to world cup match scores in real time.
You might think that coloured ceramic is easy to produce, but you would be wrong. The material doesn't lend itself easily to colours that are not white, black, and brown, so it makes Hublot's latest Big Bang Red Magic in red ceramic all the more surprising. The material is incredibly difficult to produce, and the watch is the first to ever be made in red ceramic. The process of creating the material is under patent.
Chanel's J12 has become an icon of the house, and for Baselworld 2018, the brand decided to up the ante by creating a series of 12 limited edition pieces in white ceramic and black laquer. Each piece is unique, thanks to the stylised numbers of the dial and bezel, and will only be made available to select VIPs via an online purchase link. And even then, it's fastest fingers first. Do you feel lucky?
Chanel has been releasing a new in-house calibre every year since 2016, and 2018 is no exception. The Calibre 3 was made specifically to fit the beloved Boy.friend watch, and is shaped like the recessed portion on the dial of the original watch. Stunning.
The watch with Chanel's first in-house calibre, on the other hand, is getting a makeover. The Monsieur de Chanel now features a hand-engraved gold lion on the dial. The lion is a common motif in maison Chanel, and replaces the seconds subdial at 6 o'clock. The black dial is enamel, created by master enameller Anita Porchet. Black enamel dials are notoriously hard to create, as flaws are immediately and startlingly apparent.
Chopard's Happy Sport watch has become a firm favourite for the house. It was created by brand co-president Caroline Scheufele in 1993, and was the first watch to combine stainless steel with diamonds. Of course, as is the signature of the Happy Diamonds collection, some diamonds are left floating freely on the dial.
Chopard is well known for its elegant foray into serious watchmaking, with the L.U.C Chopard line being popular with many collectors. This year, those collectors are sure to be delighted with the new L.U.C All-in-One watch, which has a whopping 14 indications total split between the dial and back side, including a perpetual calendar with 24h indication, equation of time, and astronomical orbital moon phase.
Graff is better known for its stunning high jewellery than its watches, but that doesn't mean that its watches are a slouch. Far from it. This GyroGraff, for instance, combines a flying tourbillon with impeccable miniature painting, and has a solid gold moon at 10 o'clock that makes the scene of the night drive all the more vivid.
Sorry Piaget, but looks like Bulgari has broken your record. The brand's new Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic is the world's thinnest self-winding watch, measuring in at a scant 3.95mm (Piaget's Altiplano Ultimate 910P Automatic, launched at SIHH 2018 was 4.30mm). Plus, it has a tourbillon. Talk about impressive.
Bvlgari is raising the bar on the race to ultra-thin, but not at the expense of beauty. Its famous ultra-thin finissimo minute repeater movement from 2016 has found a new home in the Diva Finissima Minute Repeater, which combines the technical chops of the movement with the beauty of its jewellery watches. The watch has the characteristic fan-shaped lugs of the Diva collection, fully paved with diamonds, and a sparkling dial made from Japanese urushi lacquer.
TAG Heuer's latest watch has obtained the prestigious (if obscure) Tête de Vipère certification. Abandoned in the 1970s, then relaunched in 2006, the "Tête de Vipère" stamp has since been awarded to just 500 pieces. To obtain this certificate of excellence, each fully assembled watch undergoes a protocol involving 16 days of testing, in five different positions at three different temperatures. For TAG Heuer to be able to produce a watch of this calibre os impressive indeed.