It was yet another triumphant year for Baselworld, in which all the premier watch brands gather in Switzerland to play show and tell before an audience of experts and enthusiasts. Mechanical timepieces dominated as per the norm, though some hybrid smartwatches were able to sneak in and make their presence known. Nevertheless, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver did openly express a desire to see the trade show do more to embrace smartwatches down the road. Until that day, Baselworld will remain traditional in spirit, but still quite groundbreaking in possibility. For proof, look no further than 2018’s best entries, a handful of which boldly challenge the very foundations of design and functionality. Here’s the Best of Baselworld 2018 – Part 1.
Rolex Rainbow Daytona in Everose Gold
Horology doesn’t get much more iconic than the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. Infusing the already legendary timepiece with even more prestige is a gem-set version, which employs 18 ct everose gold on the rim and a rainbow-hued bezel of baguette-cut sapphires. As if that wasn’t enough, the watch also features 56 diamonds on the case lugs and crown, even more sapphires on the hour markers, and chronograph counters of pink Gold Crystals. Suffice to say, the luxury element is not subtle on this particular model.
Rolex GMT-Master II In Everose Gold
Rolex stunned watch lovers at Baselworld by unveiling a GMT-Master II Pepsi in Oystersteel, but just as eye-catching was this everose gold edition. It hosts stainless steel architecture, a bidirectional rotating bezel and a two-tone Cerachrom insert in ceramic with engraved numerals and graduations. Also featured is a tight 40 mm case with screw-down case back and winding crown. Powered by Rolex Calibre 3285 movement, and water-resistant to 100 metres, this piece offers top-shelf efficiency and no shortage of visual allure. If you’re a deep-pocketed collector who loves the idea of a GMT-Master II in stainless steel–but simply doesn’t consider himself a Pepsi man–then the everose gold version is calling your name.
Alpina Alpiner X
Currently killing it on Kickstarter is the Alpiner X from Alpina. The outdoor watch pairs analog and digital displays with an Horological Smartwatch platform, thereby overflowing with utility. Thanks to built-in environmental sensors, the Alpiner X can measure things like temperature, UV, altitude and pressure. That’s joined by a range of traditional smartwatch functions, allowing the watch to track your activity and notify you of messages alike. This one’s definitely for all the savvy thrill-seekers out there.
Breitling Navitimer Super 8
Taking direct cues from the Reference 637–a stopwatch that WWII-era pilots would strap to their thighs–Breitling crafted the Navitimer Super 8. As one might expect, the watch is big, legible and beautiful. Just how big? Try 46 mm on the case alone, which comes in either titanium or stainless steel. That’s joined by a bidirectional rotating bezel for a total diameter of 50 mm. Emanating from the dial are large, luminescent Arabic numerals. Sealing the deal is a trusty NATO leather strap.
Breitling Superocean Héritage II
Breitling pays tribute to another classic of yore with the Superocean Héritage II B20 Automatic 42. Featuring a scratch-proof ceramic bezel and brilliant case of either steel or steel and gold, the stunning timepiece is water resistant to 200 metres and powered by self-winding Breitling 20 Manufacture calibre. Reinforcing the watch’s steadfast vibe is a sleek bracelet of steel mesh. This one is love at first sight.
Bell & Ross Diamond Eagle Collection
Luxury French watchmaker Bell & Ross delivered some unforgettable pieces at Baselworld this year. Kicking things off in opulent style is the Diamond Eagle Collection, which expands upon a popular model first introduced by the brand in 2016. Thanks to a new slate of grey shades, the Diamond Eagle Collection is not just for the ladies anymore. Bolstered by a 7-diamond eagle constellation on the dial, and a steel bezel set with white diamonds, the timepiece brims with elegance by way of its singular aesthetic.
Bell & Ross BR03 Diver Collection
Looking for something a little sportier from Bell & Ross? Then consider the BR03 Diver Collection. Awash with luminescent markers and highlighted by its unmistakable square case, the timepiece is immediately distinguishable from the standard fare. Under the skin is calibre BR-CAL.302 automatic mechanical movement. For the strap, Bell & Ross went with woven black rubber and durable black synthetic fabric. Built to last and dressed to impress, the BR03 Diver Collection is ready for all the action you can throw its way.
Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon Skeleton Sapphire
For those seeking something completely distinct, look no further than the BR-X1 Tourbillon Skeleton Sapphire from Bell & Ross. Suffice to say, the brand took the word “skeleton” to heart when serving up this threadbare, yet nevertheless striking version of the popular BR-X1 model. On full display is hand-wound tourbillon movement with 20 jewels and a 100-hour power reserve, ably protected by a dome of crystal sapphire with anti-reflective coating. This is Haute Horlogerie at its most avant-garde.
Glashutte Original Senator Cosmopolite
Thanks to some truly sophisticated time zone complications, Glashutte’s original Senator Cosmopolite was a huge hit upon its 2015 debut. At Baselworld 2018, the prestigious brand unveiled an equally brilliant follow up, which employs stainless steel construction and a minimalist design. With this baby on your wrist, you’ll be looking for reasons to travel across multiple time zones.
Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar
Glashutte tweaks yet another one of their bestselling classics with the new Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar, a limited edition variant that rocks a breathtaking skeletonised dial. Now you can witness the recently developed Calibre 36 movement in all its precision and glory. That’s of course joined by the full range of premium materials and details that you’ve come to expect from the luxury brand. Glashutte is only making 100 pieces of this beautiful watch, so grab one before it’s gone.
Oris Divers Sixty-Five
As one might have gathered, Baselworld gives luxury brands the perfect opportunity to explore–and even revitalise–past achievements. Such is certainly the case with the Oris Divers Sixty-Five. It takes visual cues from the 1960s original, and then throws in all sorts of contemporary mechanics. The result is a refined piece that bridges two worlds, delivering vintage appeal and modern sophistication. Powered by automatic winding date movement and made of anti-corrosive stainless steel, the watch additionally features retro bubble-curved glass of sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inside. As a result, the dial remains highly legible as you navigate underwater.
Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Chronograph
Named for the first African American to become a U.S. Navy Master Diver (as an amputee no less), the Carl Brashear Limited Edition Chronograph sees Oris once again paying tribute to the legendary man. Accordingly, the new limited edition piece is a bold and versatile eye-grabber, touting an elegant bronze case and majestic blue dial with two-counter chronograph. Also featured is automatic winding chronograph movement and a supple leather strap. Only 2000 piece are available, each of which comes in a special wooden presentation box.
Oris 40mm Big Crown Pointer Date
Oris kept the hits coming at Baselworld this year, as evidenced by their 40mm Big Crown Pointer Date aviation watch. Continuing a long and popular tradition, the piece utilises automatic pointer calendar movement that was developed in-house by Oris. Providing veritable shock and scratch resistance is trusty sapphire glass, which hovers over big numerals on a clean blue dial. Rounding out the piece’s numerous charms is a premium leather strap.
Oris Aquis Source of Life Limited Edition
Oris kneels at the altar of water with the Aquis Source of Life Limited Edition. Based on the brand’s previous Aquis model, this new variant delivers a circular date display and water resistance up to 300 metres. Meanwhile, the use of glimmering stainless steel on the case and bracelet only enhances the dial’s brilliant blue colour, thereby lending the watch an unmistakably aquatic vibe.