Every March the watch and jewelry world gathers in Basel, Switzerland, to unveil their latest creations and one-of-a-kind works of art. While the enormous size and scope of the gathering makes headlines, it is the creativity of the watch designers and engineers that dominates, and the energy that results from the appreciative and discerning crowd keeps the watch industry “wound” all year long. The media is hyped, buyers are wowed, orders are placed, and by late fall the few lucky individuals and authorized jewelers who were able to pre-order pieces from the exquisite collections on display start receiving timepieces. Truly one of the great horological events of the year, Baselworld not only piques the minds and imaginations of watch enthusiasts throughout the world but also sets the direction for the industry as a whole for the coming year.
Galactic Unitime Sleek T by Breitling
Breitling’s new dual patented in-house movement coupled with their new world timer is the first non-chronograph movement ever manufactured by the company. The world time is boldly displayed by the traditional rotating city disks that depict all 24 time zones alongside most of the global continents fashioned on the dial. The crown can be pulled out and adjusted in one hour increments, both forward and backward, which automatically adjusts all of the other features on the watch. This level of functionality displays incredible technical savvy. A new composite material consisting of tungsten-carbide is used to create a smooth, scratch-resistant bezel.
Feldmar Watch Company, Los Angeles
Neo-Tourbillon by Girard Perregaux
GP has been pushing their design and engineering capabilities over the last few years in an attempt to regain their reputation as innovators and first-class movement makers. Their latest creation is a refined example of a three bridge tourbillon design created with cutting edge materials. Each titanium bridge has undergone PVD treatment, with precise beveling and a sandblasted finish. A 45mm titanium case in matte black provides a perfect housing to showcase the rotating hand-polished tourbillon cage and platinum winding rotor. It is the perfect mix of subtle design and stunning mechanical artistry.
Westime, Beverly Hills
Big Bang Unico Italia Independent by Hublot
Hublot has maintained their focus in recent years of mixing a hot brand, a cutting edge material, and a bold design aimed at collectively furthering their Big Bang line of watches. This latest creation has a case fashioned out of Texalium, an aluminum coated carbon fiber that can be created with brilliant and vibrant colors. Designed in connection with Fiat heir Lapo Elkann’s new sunglass company Italian Independent, each limited edition timepiece comes with a pair of sunglasses framed in the same color and material as the watch. The strap is made of stitched denim with silver studs, adding both a textural and unique aesthetic to the piece. Mechanically the bright case houses Hublot’s Unico chronograph movement, which the brand proudly touts as one of the most unique chronograph movements in the industry.
Hublot, Beverly Hills
LM101 by MB&F
Few brands in the watch industry are able to pack as much talent and creativity into each timepiece as MB&F. This is probably why MB&F describes itself not as a brand, but as a micro-engineering concept laboratory. More than 35 individuals have contributed some aspect to the latest “Legacy Machine” which marks the first MB&F movement that was completely designed and conceived in-house. The centerpiece of the watch is a free floating antique pocket watch–inspired balance wheel, which appears to be completely exposed and available to touch through a cleverly optically altered crystal. This movement operates at a very traditional 18,000 vph instead of the more common 28,800 vph seen in today’s mechanical movements. A contrasting time clock and power reserve indicator in stark white finish off the visual presentation.
Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award by OMEGA
The latest offering from the Speedmaster line of the Omega watch company is a showcase of thought-provoking symbolism. The piece commemorates the 45th anniversary of the Silver Snoopy award presented to Omega after the legendary Apollo 13 space mission. The watch is presented in black and white to resemble the newspaper comic strips from that era. The center of the watch features a cartoonish bubble emanating from Snoopy’s head reading “Failure is not an option.” In the upper right hand portion of the dial is a 14-frame cartoon with the inscription, “What could you do in 14 seconds,” a reference to a mid-air correction performed by the astronauts where they utilized their Omega watches. The case-back is comprised of a silver Snoopy medallion surrounded by silver powdered blue enamel depicting Snoopy flying through a star laden outer-space.
OMEGA, Beverly Hills
Calatrava Pilot Travel Time by Patek Philippe
Patek’s new pilot watch is typically understated but completely on point. It maintains a simple design, but with a splash of color revealed in the blue face, day night indicators, and the hollowed out hours hand used to represent time in an alternative locale. The 42mm case is a step up in size for the brand, making it more attuned to a traditional pilot’s watch but also making it a rather unique Patek. The traditional large Arabic numerals help it stand out in comparison to other models from the brand which rarely uses them on the watch faces. The piece is powered by a self-winding movement that contains a Spiromax balance spring, helping the caliber fight off the numerous magnetic fields found on airplanes. This watch is a perfect marriage of Patek’s timeless design and finish with a few new design elements that may attract a whole new type of buyer.
Polachek’s Jewelers, Calabasas
Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master by Rolex
Rolex has taken a slightly different tack with the latest version of their Yacht-Master model. The watch is being presented in two different sizes, 40mm and 37mm. These slightly smaller models are adorned with the first rubber strap created by the brand. Known as the “Oysterflex,” the band incorporates alloy metal locking attachments that are encased in elastomer, but still uses the traditional “oysterlock” safety clasp. A matte black rotating bezel contrasts nicely with the chrome insert surrounding the watch face. Still waterproof up to 330 feet, this watch was simply made to look good and take on the water.
Gearys, Beverly Hills