Celebrating 100 years of Passion and Precision

By egor Wednesday, 10 May 2017 3:22 PM

Celebrating 100 years of Passion and Precision

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A culmination of passion and precision, the most important market and trendsetting show for the world’s watch and jewellery industry, Baselworld hosted its milestone 100th edition this year from March 23rd to 30th at Basel, Switzerland. From a small event featuring 29 Swiss brands in 1917, to the unparalleled leader featuring 220 Swiss brands in 2017, the show asserted its premier status. As a convention of the key players of the industry, it was the focal point of more than 106,000 buyers (- 4% vs 2016) from over 100 countries and drew 4,400 press representatives from the print, television, radio and digital from over 70 countries. Marketing Director of Aviamost Fady Boustany was there to witness it all and brings readers a firsthand account.

Francois Thiebauld, President of the Swiss Exhibitor’s Committee put it aptly when he said that for eight days a year Baselworld adorns Time. The global reach and significance of the show can be seen by the fact that 86,000 (vs 11,000 in 2016) viewers across the world followed the show in real time. The most celebrated brands revealed their much-awaited novelties while attendees benefitted from the unique opportunity to feel the pulse of the market discover trendsetting collections and take advantage of the unrivalled business opportunities available at the show.

Francois Thiebauld added that though held in a challenging year, the show had fuelled the spirit of creativity and innovation.  He also noted that in 2016 Swiss watch exports were 9.88% lower than in the previous year. The last quarter of 2016 saw a slight improvement and recalled that the global and political context remained difficult.

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard stated that Baselworld continues to be the most important event for the watch and jewellery industry offering a unique networking opportunity adding that this year’s show the overall mood was positive and business was satisfactory.

On the topic of Baselworld’s history Eric Bertrand, President of the Exhibitor’s Committee said that Baselworld has not only constantly adapted to the context but made significant changes and always been proactive in reflecting the market.

Reflecting on the show with such a rich and illustrious history, Sylvie Ritter, Managing Director of Baselworld 2017 said, “Baselworld once again gave the sector a positive impulse by putting it on a pedestal to shine. The passion behind the innovative spirit has been reaffirmed which will undoubtedly drive them forward with renewed vitality.”

Evolution being the characteristic of progress, this year Baselworld hosted for the very first time in its history, the new Design Lab dedicated exclusively to rising talent designers and brands with unconventional ideas active in this branch of industry. And it proved to be the perfect platform for 30 selected participants including design icons such as Georg Spreng and Marcin Zaremski.

This year it also presented the Les Ateliers as the perfect forum for the leading independent watch brands offering unique insights into the artisanal fabrication of watches from sophisticated working techniques to trailblazing innovations,  most being one-of-a-kind-pieces or small series. Among others it also included renowned watchmakers such as MB&F, Armin Strom, Graham and Moritz Grossman. 

The next edition of the premier event will be held from March 22nd to 27th March 2018 with the traditional press day held on 21st March.  

Go on a Discovery of Passion

Explorers and pioneers in Time’s realm devote passion to the measurement and beauty of every moment. And this year’s Baselworld unfurled glorious novelties in dazzling designs backed by storied heritage. We pick key collections just for you.

Rolex introduced new creations in its Oyster and Cellini collections. Like all Rolex timepieces, the new watches are covered by Rolex’s own Superlative Chronometer certification and an international five-year guarantee. It introduces three new versions of its Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in 18k yellow, white or Everose gold an icon created by Rolex in 1963. Its classic for world travellers, the Oyster Perpetual Sky Dweller is available for the first time in a combination of 904L steel and 18k gold.

Bulgari sets yet another record in the thinness category by launching the thinnest self-winding watch in the market at 5.15mm thick: the 40mm Octo Finissimo Automatic. Its multifaceted Octo case is made of sandblasted titanium, it has a titanium dial and its hands and hour markers are coated with a black PVD treatment. The 2.23mm thick movement was developed in-house and claims the title of the slimmest self-winding movement Caliber BVL 138 Finissimo beating at a frequency of 21,600 vph with a power reserve of 60 hours.

Legendary watchmaker Breguet’s rarest timepieces are decorated in a style of engraving called chasing. It’s unique in many ways one being that if the craftsman were to make a mistake, he must begin again. So each lucky buyer is assured it is a unique piece of art he owns.

This year, the iconic brand presents the attractive 43.9mm, Marine Equation Marchante 5887 showcasing no less than three complications: the Equation of Time, the Perpetual Calendar and the Tourbillon. The platinum version has a blue dial and a rhodium-plated movement while the rose gold version has a silvered dial and an anthracite movement. Decorating the dial is an engine-turned wave-like pattern. 

TAG Heuer asserts itself this year as the maker of the first and most prestigious Swiss-made Connected Watch. Its new Connected Modular 45 is a watch designed to match your mood. Its lugs (rose gold, titanium or ceramic) and straps can be exchanged and for days when you want to turn analog you can swap the smartwatch module for an automatic watch module. Or you could swap that for haute horologerie module with a tourbillion module.

Saxony brand Glashutte Original adds a perpetual calendar to its Senator Excellence line: the 42 mm steel or rose gold Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar. One of the most sophisticated complications, it displays, the day, date of the week and month as well as keeps track of the leap-year cycle without manual correction until 2100 and also features a moonphase display at 8 o’clock. At its heart beats the automatic Calibre 36. 

Zenith’s main focus this year is the El Primero 21, a 100ths-of-a-second Automatic Chronograph Chronometer based on the classic El Primero from 1969. It also presents the Heritage 146 in two versions recalling its storied history and expanding its retro offer. A bi-compax chronograph inspired by its 1960’s model the 38mm model has blue or brown dials, a seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock, elapsed minutes sub-dial at 3 o’clock and a tachymeter scale on its periphery. It is powered by the automatic manufacture Calibre El Primero 4069.

Carl F. Bucherer’s new 43mm Manero Flyback Champagne Dial boasts a rose gold face inspired by Baroque influences of the Manufacture’s hometown Lucerne. It has a pair of inset sub-dials one showing the small seconds at 9 and the other at 3 indicating the elapsed minutes. It houses the automatic manufacture Calibre CFB 1970. 

Perrelet presents the all-new WEEKEND collection in a classic, timeless design with a touch of retro. In tribute to its founder Abraham Louis Perrelet it has a mechanical automatic winding movement offering 72-hour power reserve and it comes in three different lines: 3 hands, Open Heart and GMT.  The clean dial of the WEEKEND GMT makes it easier to read the GMT 24-hour function thanks to the central blue hand, on which a triangular tip shows the second time zone all around the outside of the dial.

The Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator collection is the result of a tri-national effort by watchmakers at Porsche Design Timepieces AG Switzerland, product designers at Studio F.A. Porsche in Austria and car engineers in Porsche Development Centre Germany. Its highlights are the chronograph push bush buttons seamlessly integrated into the case.  

Frederique Constant’s new Flyback Chronograph Manufacture has an instant return-to-zero and-restart functionality in just 96 parts which sits on top of the brand’s existing in-house base caliber. Conceived originally in the 1930’s for pilots the sporty flyback chronograph complication was originally developed over the course of six years. 

Bell & Ross writes a new chapter by introducing the first square case diver’s watch the 42mm satin-polished steel BR03-92 Diver a professional instrument offering water resistance upto 300m. Featuring a black dial and metal appliqué skeleton Superluminova®-filled numerals and indices black it is powered by the automatic mechanical movement calibre BR-CAL 302.

For 25 years the Regulator has been Chronoswiss’s specialty. This year the new 44mm Sirius Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton, which sports the signature onion-shaped crown and fluted bezel, comes with an artisanal touch foregoing the traditional dial to highlight the beauty of it’s artistically skeletonised hand-wound movement with a stop-seconds function and a funnel-shaped hour scale in cherry red. It comes in a limited edition of 10 timepieces in red gold and 30 in stainless steel.   

Stellar Times

Louis Moinet packs its timepieces with such intriguing features they prove endlessly fascinating for the watch enthusiast. This year it presented the 46mm Space Mystery featuring the world’s first ‘Satellite Tourbillion®’ rotating on its own axis whose cage is balanced by a planet rotating around it and revolving every 60 seconds. At 9 o’ clock it features…fragments of a meteorite collected from far into space and containing traces of amino acids, the basic requirement of life form, dating to possibly 4.5 billion years ago! And all this is showcased on a Magic Blue dial crafted in a secret method exclusive to the brand. It comes in a limited edition of just eight watches.

A timepiece that brings the solar system on your wrist is Jacob & Co’s 44.5mm, rose gold Astronomia Solar. It took two years of development and features eight planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. It has a case middle fashioned from a single-piece, domed sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment. It’s powered by the hand-wound Jacob & Co. Calibre JCAM19 movement measuring 34.55mm, made of 439 components in constant bi-directional rotation.

The new Rolex 39mm Cellini Moonphase in 18k Everose gold displays the cycle of the moon on a blue enameled disc with a full moon in meteorite. It is driven by a self-winding mechanical movement entirely manufactured by Rolex, whose patented moonphase module is astronomically accurate for 122 years. 

In Bulgari’s new LVCEA Moon Phases watch a golden moon plays peek-a-boo against a sky whose colour matches the strap while the movement can track the different phases of the moon with absolute perfection.

Blancpain unveiled its new rose gold Date Moon Phases watch for women in its famous Villeret collection. It flaunts an opaline dial swept over by solid leaf-shaped hands, a pointer-type date display and a sapphire moonphase indication. It is powered by the 913QL movement and decked with 48 full-cut diamonds on its bezel.

Anniversary Time

Omega’s Speedmaster which celebrates its 60th year this year was initially created in 1957 for racing car drivers to time their laps. But no one could have predicted its incredible journey. In 1964 when NASA needed reliable resilient watches for its upcoming manned missions it was to emerge as the only chronograph to survive the brutal tests involving extreme pressure, temperatures and vibrations. 

The brand launches its Trilogy of three watches in limited edition to celebrate the three professional watches released in 1957: the Seamaster 300, the 40mm Railmaster and the Speedmaster. All three have Broad Arrow hands and a black tropical dial with off-white vintage prints and logo.

A Patek Philippe’s Aquanaut collection celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and unveils the new Aquanaut Travel Time Reference 5650 named Patek Philippe Advanced Research presented in 500 pieces. It’s equipped with state-of-the-art achievements in a project started 15 years ago. Its Spiromax hairspring has a new geometry which increases accuracy and reduces the parts from 37 to 12. The system needs no lubrication and does not wear.   

Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller, a legend among professional diver watches and waterproof today to a depth of 4,000 ft, is revisited for its 50th anniversary in a bolder 43mm case and driven by the new Calibre 3235. It is equipped for the first time with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’ clock window to enhance reading.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year is 42mm and 46mm steel Breitling’s Superocean Heritage line which has been redesigned with a dynamic new face. It sports a new bezel with an ultra-hard high tech ceramic ring and in addition to leather, crocodile or rubber straps, all the models may be fitted with a steel mesh bracelet similar to the legendary 1957 model. It is powered by the self-winding Manufacture Calibre B 20 which is COSC-certified and boasts a 70- hour power reserve. It is derived from the Tudor Caliber MT5612 indicating the recent cooperation between the two brands.

Also celebrating its 60th anniversary is Tudor’s divers watch with its emblematic 41mm Heritage Black Bay in stainless steel. It’s powered by the Manufacture Calibre MT5612 and a new date function and a rotating steel bezel. Water resistant to 200m it is a COSC certified chronometer. 

Strictly for the Ladies

Capturing the beauty of cherry blossoms on your wrist is Harry Winston’s new Avenue Classic Cherry Blossom featuring brilliant diamonds and brilliant-cut pink sapphires against a pale green-blue mother-of-pearl dial on an 18k white gold case also flaunting diamonds and mirroring the architecture of its famous flagship salon in New York’s Fifth Avenue. It is inspired by Mr. Harry Winston’s love for nature, translated into marvelous high jewellery creations.

A world first, the American luxury icon has for the first time ever brought together silk weaving and gold embossing to fashion the dial of its bewitching Premier Delicate Silk model while its fabulous diamonds on the dial, bezel and lugs add wattage.

Every time one sees a de Grisogono creation it’s not unusual to ask oneself “Now why didn’t anyone think of that before?” And so it is with its plush-in-purple Luna watch crafted in rose gold and snow-set with amethyst and pink sapphires. It is well rounded in every way one can imagine from the dial, to the guilloche strap with its blobby surface. The only sharpness one can spot? Its rose gold hands!   

Jaquet Droz pays stunning tribute to its genius founder’s famous automatons created 242 years ago with its rose gold Loving Butterfly Automaton a true work of art presented in just 28 pieces. Featured on the onyx or Polynesian black mother-of-peal dial of its Petite Heure Minute is a cherub in gold seated on a chariot pulled by a butterfly while the trees are individually driven like the hands of a watch. The power reserve allows the insect to delicately flutter its wings 300 times over a period of two minutes. The automaton took three years to develop.     

Bulgari’s new 38mm 18k white gold LVCEA Tourbillon celebrates light as a dazzling tribute to femininity. It is presented in two dial variations of hearth of ruby and green jade with 46 brilliant diamonds on its bezel and as its hour markers and is powered by the automatic movement with Tourbillon Calibre BVL263 offering 64-hour power reserve.

Dior pays floral tribute to its famous founder in its new Dior Grand Soir Botanic collection inspired by his love for gardens. Dials feature flowers from which tiny insects emerge and gemstones as seen from the sky. Crafted in white gold, they present an enchanting time for us all. Paying homage to the Chinese New Year is the new Dior VIII Grand Bal Plume which sports a pretty skirt of cockerel feathers on the oscillating weight dotted with gold and diamonds.

This is one skeleton you would love to have in your cupboard we’re sure. Chanel marks the 30th anniversary of its Premiere collection this year by giving it a new manufacture movement in a skeleton timepiece, the Premiere Camelia Skeleton designed to also pay tribute to its famous founder’s love for the camelia blossom. The manually wound calibre 2 is completely on display inside the octagonal case recalling the bottle of Chanel’s No. 5 perfume and has ADLC (Amorphous Diamond-like Carbon) coating on its plates and bridges. The gem-set version has 246 diamonds on the skeletonised base plate, a feat by itself.   

Faberge’s Lady Compliquee Peacock was first launched in 2015 and went on to win the award for the best Ladies High-mechanical timepiece at the d’Horlogerie de Geneve. This year it is presented in a subtle style as the 38mm white gold Faberge Lady Compliquee Peacock Black with no gemstones. It has a retrograde time display and four fanned blades that spread the peacock’s feathers gradually over the course of an hour indicating minutes on a scale and hours via a rotating ring. It is powered by the manually wound Calibre 6901.

Fendi’s watches are presented during its famous fashion shows. Its new IShine watch collection flaunts a unique concave and convex case design and a patented rotating gemstone dial mechanism. It offers three gemstone configurations for the dial including twelve white topazes, twelve gradient pink and red topazes and twelve black spinels.  

The new rose gold 40.5mm Hermes Impatiente is designed to help you make a countdown to any eagerly awaited event. All you need to do is set the time of the event not more than twelve hours in the future. The sub-dial at 4 o’clock counts down 11 hours while the final hour termed as the ‘impatient’ hour is displayed in the arc at 7 o’clock. At the end of it a delicate gong emits a single ding!