Over a week has passed since we’ve returned from the watch capital of the world and the sheer number of watches we’ve laid our eyes on has yet to leave our minds. From avant-garde timepieces to the more relatable ones, we’ve collected our favourite picks across the board. (Check out our sneak peek, day 1, day 2 and day 3 thoughts and reviews of favourites.)
At the top end of the spectrum is the independents. Arnold & Son debuted its Constant Force Tourbillon that we’re confident will see many a collector pick up. Other brands like MB&F wowed us with Max’s latest toy, Melchior and Urwerk’s UR-1001 Titan made our wrists feel much too small. The one that stood most for us would have to be De Bethune‘s new DB25 Quetzalcoatl. The brand’s been known to put out some extremely interesting concept watches, backed by fantastical ideas – a trend we’ve always liked and this year, takes its watch back to the Mesoamerican culture. The decorated dial of the piece is nothing short of amazing. Crafted in solid gold and decorated by renowned Swiss engraver Michèle Rothen, the time is told in the form of the Mesoamerican snake deity Quetzalcoatl. The tail of the snake god indicates the minutes while its very realistic head ticks off the hours. In true Mesoamerican form, the hour indicators are represented by pyramids built around the dial. It’s a watch that may not be the most complicated (unlike the other timepieces from Baselworld’s independent Palace) but it’s a thing of beauty. And in some cultures, probably worship.
A little lower down saw plenty of brands working their magic, putting out timepieces that we can’t help but love. Ulysse Nardin boasted off its new Anchor Tourbillon, a deftly put together timepiece shows off the brand’s capabilities as a manufacture. The one that took us by surprise was Blancpain’s latest L-Evolution Tourbillon Carrousel. Granted, we had seen the same combination of complications from the brand last year housed in a case taken from its Villeret collection. This year’s was a modern take, almost like a jump in the future. Other pieces that we’re sure will be sought after come from Girard-Perregaux‘s stable of watches like the new Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges that is now available in DLC for a stealthy look that (and we say this only because we tried it on) is sure to invoke watch lust.
Some of our personal favourites came from the mid-range section of timepieces. Rolex‘s new Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master takes on the brand’s Everose gold as well as the new Oysterflex strap. Hold your horses, it’s not rubber. While it may very well resemble rubber, Rolex has gone out of its way to remind journalists and enthusiasts alike that the new material uses a superelastic metal blade overmoulded with high-performance black elastomer to bring the best of both worlds, namely the comfort of elastomers yet the robustness of metals. The other brand near the range that offered a splendid collection this year was Glashütte Original. Its new Senator Cosmopolite pulled together everything that the German brand has come to be recognised for in one single piece. Stylish, elegant and classic while boasting functions that no watch enthusiast could refuse. Some of the functions you ask? A second time zone with hour and minute (at the centre), selection of 37 time zones including half hour and three-quarter hour differences, a small second display (off-centre), Panorama Date, daylight saving/standard time, and lastly a power reserve display. How’s that for useful?
The accessible range of brands had a strong showing this year as well with crowd favourites like Rado putting up timepieces that looked great. The brand’s new DiaMaster Grande Seconde is built using Rado’s famous high-tech ceramic cases. The look of the piece is akin to something you’d find for a much higher price with two overlapping subdials (one showing the hours and minutes and the other for the seconds) covering the full dial. For those unfamiliar with Rado’s metallic-looking ceramic cases, the process undertaken to get the aesthetic feel has been the brand’s calling card for a while now.