Best of Baselworld 2016
Ah, Baselworld – that horological mecca of frighteningly tall brand stands and back-to-back appointments. As the watch world converges on a sleepy town in Switzerland, we bring to you the finest Baselworld 2016 has to offer.
Although many believe the watch industry to be a slower cousin to its fashion counterparts, anybody who has visited Baselworld would strongly disagree. Every single watch brand you can think of sets up shop to display their delights for the year ahead, an important time when buyers, press and PRs seek out the next big story and the next big sell. Unsurprisingly, The Watch Gallery is something of a seasoned Basel veteran and this year, as always, we were astounded. Read on to discover our top picks from the world’s greatest trade fair (our world’s, anyway).
ZENITH ACADEMY CHRISTOPHER COLOMB
As The Rolling Stones prepare for a first-time concert in Cuba this year, Zenith has marked the occasion with the Academy Christopher Colomb piece. Merging iconic Cool Britannia imagery with the technical prowess of haute horlogerie, the piece is one of the first to possess patented Gravity Control gyroscopic module and a high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour. And, it’s just as good on the outside; a classic brown leather strap and rosegold case is offset with the mighty Union Jack, the world-famous Stones ‘lips’ and chronograph sub dials.
ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA
Dominating the event year after year, Rolex released another big crowd pleaser with the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. The 904L steel model presents a monobloc Cerachrom bezel with contrast black ceramic – a first for the manufacture. This sports-led piece is another classic addition to Rolex’s portfolio and, whilst not as outlandish as previous novelties, still solidifies Rolex as the go-to Swiss brand.
MAURICE LACROIX AIKON GENTS
The Eliros has always taken Maurice Lacroix’s spotlight – and rightly so. This year’s Baselworld however introduced the Aikon, a likely contender to the current brand champion. Presented in a sizeable 42mm stainless steel case, this beauty boasts an original screwed crown, brushed-polished-perlage finishing and dial hands in rhodium. Maurice Lacroix has effectively reinvented the ‘boardroom’ watch with a thoroughly modern approach: bravo, chaps.
THE MONSIEUR de CHANEL
In recent years, Switzerland has given due care and attention to the ladies’ market in a bid to provide more equal collections – imagine our surprise however, when the women’s watch heavyweights at Chanel released the Monsieur de Chanel. Masculine, yet still in-keeping with Lagerfeld-driven elegance, this classic piece offers an Art Deco-inspired dial alongside a date aperture at 6 o’clock, seconds chronograph and minimised hour hands.
TAG HEUER CARRERA CALIBRE HEUER 02T TOURBILLON
We expect Carreras and Aquaracers from the mighty TAG Heuer – but a tourbillon? Well, colour us pleasantly surprised. Limited to 250 pieces worldwide, the TAG Heuer 02T Tourbillon is a shining example of how top end luxury can and will be accessible in the future with the piece offering a 65 hour power reserve, grade 5 titanium casing, a COSC-certified chronograph and the beauty of a flying tourbillon – all housed within a relatively compact 32mm diameter. Nice.
BLANCPAIN THE GREAT WAVE
Blancpain are no strangers to super-refined artistic-led timepieces and whilst Baselworld 2016’s offering didn’t break the mould, it certainly cemented it: enter the Great Wave. Mexican silver obsidian (a gemstone yet to be used by the manufacture until now) provides the base for a thoroughly beautiful piece with a Japanese rokusho patina technique taking centre stage. The wave motif, inspired by the Great Wave Off Kanagawa, provides the face to an elite hand-wound 13R0 caliber and three series-coupled mainspring barrels that successively wind and unwind.