Like Cannes for watch lovers, Baselworld gathers experts and enthusiasts from all around the world to show them what their favourite brands have been up to. As one might expect, 2018 provided no shortage of killer entries from premium names like Rolex, Omega and TAG Heuer. Speaking of TAG Heuer, their CEO Jean-Claude Biver didn’t mince words when it came to the trade show’s elitist attitude toward smartwatches. In his opinion, Baselworld should be inviting brands like Apple into the fold, not shunning them. After all, what’s good for smartwatches is arguably good for horology in general (meanwhile, Cannes is having its own drama in regards to Netflix and other streaming platforms–but that’s news for another day). Nevertheless, the old guard is doing its best to keep things traditional, and Baselworld was thereby a mechanical affair for the most part–not that we’re not complaining. In fact, we saw so many horological stunners that we divided our list of favourites into two parts. Without further ado, we present the Best of Baselworld–Part Two.
Blancpain Quantième Perpétuel
Blancpain is a master of the perpetual calendar complication and their latest edition is no exception. Along with perpetual calendar–which indicates the date without the need for adjustment for an entire century–the new Blancpain Quantième Perpétuel delivers an eye-catching moonphase complication on the clean, white dial. Also featured is a tight, 40mm case of stainless steel with a sapphire back, and an alligator strap lined with alzavel. With this timepiece at your disposal, you’ll never be late and always be stylish.
Blancpain Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minute Rétrograde
With a name like Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minute Rétrograde, you know Blancpain brought their A game on this avant-garde stunner. The piece is accordingly a true sight to behold, with a dial that looks like something out of a surrealist film. Specifically, Blancpain puts a circular window at the top of the handcrafted enamel dial, thereby exhibiting a flying tourbillon mechanism in all its sophisticated glory. Just below that is a jump hour and retrograde minute complication that debuts for the first time on a Blancpain watch, and only adds to the model’s downright mind-boggling allure. Throw in a platinum case and alligator strap and you’re looking at one truly distinguished timepiece. Thanks to watches like these, it’s no wonder that Baselworld wants to stick to mechanical fare.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel
Blancpain continues a tradition over six decades in the making with their new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel, which features an annual calendar complication for the first time. Otherwise, the watch sticks closely to its robust roots, touting water resistance to 30 bar, a highly legible dial and a unidirectional rotating bezel with ceramic insert. Under the skin is new caliber 6054.P, a direct and optimised descendant of Blancpain’s own twin-barrel 1150 movement. Sealing the deal is a 43mm satin-finished steel case and your choice of either metal bracelet, sail-canvas strap or NATO strap.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Collection
For its 25th birthday, Omega gave the wildly popular Seamaster Diver 300M a makeover while keeping the line’s soul firmly intact. Featured on the latest editions is a 42mm case with ceramic bezel and a driving scale in either trademarked Ceragold or white enamel. Powering each watch is META-approved Master Chronometer Calibre 8800, good for prime accuracy and magnetic resistance. Meanwhile, a ceramic dial hosts a reintroduced, laser-engraved wave pattern and comes available in either black, blue or PVD chrome. Turn the watch over and you’ll see the wave pattern continued on the perimeter, which borders a sapphire crystal window showing the movement within. Also included is a patented, conically shaped helium escape valve that can be operated underwater. Omega is releasing no less than 14 new models, six in stainless steel and eight in stainless steel and gold. For all the true collectors out there, Omega is additionally offering a Titanium Tantalum Edition, limited to 2500 pieces.
Omega Seamaster 1948 Limited Editions
Omega celebrates yet another milestone with the release of two Seamaster 1948 Limited Editions–Small Seconds and Central Second–both of which commemorate the 70th anniversary of the original Seamaster line. From each model, expect a stainless steel case, polished bezel and silver domed dial with a vintage Omega logo embossed onto it. Flip either watch and you’ll find a flat sapphire crystal case-back laser engraved and lacquered with a 70th Anniversary logo. Both models are limited to 1,948 pieces, equipped with a brown leather strap, and further accompanied by a spare NATO strap as well as a strap changing tool.
TAG Heuer Carrera Tourbillon Chronograph
In honour of their original Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon Chronometer–the first to be “Tête de Vipère” certified upon its debut 55 years ago–TAG Heuer unveiled a limited edition follow up at Baselworld. The updated version pairs sophisticated tourbillon with a chronograph complication, both of which were produced in house and then “Tête de Vipère” certified. It’s all on full display through a sapphire crystal window on the dial, and housed in a dark blue ceramic case. For the strap, TAG Heuer lined rubber-sewn black alligator with blue stitching. This is some next level form and functionality right here–get it while you can.
Nomos Glashutte Autobahn
Named for the famous German roadway, the Nomos Glashutte Autobahn is accordingly a sporty beast. For proof, look no further than the speedometer-style dial, which seems ready to crank out at any minute and even lights up in the dark. Impeccably situated at the bottom of the dial is a three-lane date window, and under the skin is new neomatik calibre. Robust, unmistakable and available in three models, the Autobahn represents German engineering at its finest.
Zenith Defy Classic
Like something out of Inception, the Zenith Defy Classic touts a mesmerising open-worked dial that shows off a labyrinthine network of mechanics, including automatic Elite 670 base calibre movement. That movement, by the way, has been fitted with a silicon pallet-lever and escape-wheel, all of which can be seen through the skeletonised dial. Also featured is a 41mm watch case forged from ultra-lightweight titanium, and an eye-catching blue profile that harkens back to the original collection. Choose between three models and defy convention in spectacular style.
Zenith Defy Zero G
If the Zenith Defy Classic was (inexplicably) too tame for your taste, consider the new Defy Zero G instead. Hosting a downright futuristic design, the watch appears to be offering you a glimpse into the heart of time itself, thanks to a spherical system of epic complexity nakedly visible through the skeletonised dial. Located at 6 o’clock beneath two flat sapphire crystals is a gyroscopic module that takes cues from vintage marine chronometers. Powering the watch is manual-winding, self-regulating El Primero 8812S calibre, which is equipped with gravity control functions and a 50+ hour power reserve. It all comes in a sturdy, lightweight 44mm case of brushed titanium. Choose between four models and expect to do a lot of staring at your wrist, because this piece is simply spellbinding.
Longines Black Legend Diver L3.7126.96.36.199
Longines brings the black on their new Black Legend Diver watch. More to the point, the luxury brand updated one its most recognisable vintage models–the Legend Diver–by way of new movement and an all-black profile. We’re talking sleek black on the case, dial and strap alike. That’s joined by features from the original 1960s model like an internal rotating bezel, a compressor-style case with two crowns on the right hand side, and water resistance to 300 metres. New features include a stunning coat of Black PVD and calibre L888.2 movement under the skin. As a result of the upgraded movement, the piece flaunts enhanced precision and a longer power reserve of 64 hours. Plus, no one argues with black. A legend, indeed.
Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar
Longines expands upon its flagship line with the new Master Collection Annual Calendar. This marks the first time Longines has employed an annual calendar complication, allowing the watch to automatically distinguish between a month with 30 days and a month with 31 days. Making all the magic happen is a new automatic L897 calibre with 64 hour power reserve. Also featured is a 40mm case of stainless steel, and choice of alligator strap or stainless steel bracelet. The best part? This elegant watch doesn’t cost as much as others of its kind.