At the close of Baselworld 2016 the numbers came in; yes, visitors to one of the most important watch and jewellery fairs in the world dropped to 145,000 attendees marking a 3% decrease from 2015, but the number of journalists grew to 4,400 (+2.3% vs 2015) members of the press from over 70 countries. “I have witnessed how just eight days of exhibiting at Baselworld can infuse the industry with immense positivity. The favourable feedback we’ve received, the outstanding business opportunities available, and the massive press interest will drive us forward constructively,” concludes Eric Bertrand, President of the Baselworld Exhibitors’ Committee. Here’s part two of our top picks out of Baselworld 2016.
Bell & Ross
Interestingly enough, this year at Baselworld we see Bell & Ross stepping out of their comfort zones and going off on a tangent with the Aero GT. Although the brand was one that always took inspiration from aviation elements, this year they have set their sights on the motoring world. First came the announcement to collaborate with Renault’s Formula One team then came the unveiling of the Aero GT. This concept car was designed with an avant-garde concept but as co-founder Bruno Belamich recounts “The aim was to produce a car that can ‘hold its own’, even amongst automotive professionals.”
There are many new developments in the Rolex household but the one we are excited about is the fact that they are extending their in-house Superlative Chronometer certification to all of their watches. This includes the new Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in steel, which now comes with a Cerachrom bezel meaning not only is it virtually impervious to scratches, it also doesn’t discolour with prolonged exposure to UV rays. More notably, the tachymeteric scale on the bezel has been changed to a vertical alignment marking a new design element for all Daytona models.
For a brand that was practically born through the fascination of the sea’s eternal movement, it is only right that this year Ulysse Nardin designs one of their most intricate pieces based on nautical elements. The Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon offers a dial of wood marquetry mimicking a ship’s deck and even a majestic tourbillon. However the innovation comes in the retrograde minutes display that is indicated by a boom, attached to super-strong nanowires just as it would be on a yacht. It is a true joy to behold the boom swinging from one end to another, resetting itself at the end of the cycle.
The continuation of the Master Chronometer certification from Omega was definitely the biggest news out of the manufacture this year and one of the new watches that received the fore mentioned certification is the new Seamaster Planet Ocean. Yes the Co-axial movement delivers precision which is imperative for a diver’s watch but what piqued our fancy was the materials used on the bezel. Firstly, the ceramic bezel now uses liquid metals for the indicators and the orange bit that you see is actually molten rubber that has been fused to it. Additionally the strap, which looks a bit like textile is actually strands of rubber that has been weaved together giving it a very unique feel.
This year Breitling is focusing on new materials, and we’re not just talking materials of the case but also the different materials Chronoworks are putting into the Breitling in-house movements. We’ll leave the latter for another time but for now, let’s focus on the Avenger Hurricane. At 50mm, the Hurricane is deceptively light thanks to the Breitlight used to make the case. They are incredibly secretive about the material to the point that they didn’t want to file a patent because that would require them to give up the recipe. What we can tell you though is that it is a material which is 3.3 times lighter than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than steel and it almost looks like marble giving the watch a decidedly different look and feel.