It feels like the year’s first watch fair, SIHH, was just a week ago.. But a couple of months have passed already since the Geneva salon, and here we are again discovering new timepieces and jewellery collections at Baselworld 2016! After this morning’s inaugural press conference, where CEO of MCH Group René Kamm opened the event by welcoming all present to the press conference of a “special occasion that marks the start of the one unmissable event for the world’s watch and jewellery industry.” hundreds of major industry players opened the doors to their booths in anticipation of press, partners, collectors and watch fans that will be visiting the fair throughout the week.
Here is a look at the first novelties we’ve come across.
Blancpain, the “Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie”, launched four main timepieces today: the Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT, Villeret d’Art, Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe and Women Ladybird. A closer look at the Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT reveals a stainless steel case, a first for the brand’d Villeret annual calendar. The watch’s white dial and black leather marry the case to make this model a contemporary classic.
The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, while carrying a complicated name, appears in a bold and refreshing colour. This re-interpretation of one of Blancpain’s core timepieces, the three-hand model of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, shines with a deep blue dial inspired by the depths of the sea. The plasma gray ceramic bezel has been equipped with a blue ceramic insert featuring Liquidmetal®, an alloy that allows avoiding distortions.
It’s ‘All Black’ everything black at Hublot! After its Big Bang Unico Sapphire, the brand celebrates the 10 Years of All Black with a new addition to the collection, the Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black. A striking concept, where the fusion of opposites turns the invisible visible. The watch is crafted from blocks of smoked sapphire crystal, the hardest and most scratch-resistant material after diamonds, and machined into the complex shape of the Big Bang case. With the inner workings of the Unico manufacture movement laid bare through skeleton work, and black rubber “One Click” straps holding the case, this is an all black watch alright.
Bringing back childhood memories of playing with meccano construction blocks, Hublot offers an introduction to mechanics with the Big Bang MECA-10, a new watch boasting a new Hublot in house movement, the HUB1201. Entirely conceived and developed at the Hublot manufacture, the skeleton mechanical movement with manual winding has a 10-day power reserve and is composed of 223 components.
One of this year’s best releases and one of our personal favourites, Rolex‘s new Oyster Perpetual Air-King deserves its royal name! The green and yellow crown Rolex logo on the dial, not seen much on the brand’s watches usually, captures the attention at first glance with its fresh colours, and is a touch we just love (on our wrist)!
The statement timepiece is reminiscent of the original Oyster’s aeronautical heritage. With its 40 mm steel case surrounding a distinctive black dial that boasts large 3, 6 and 9 markers and a prominent minutes scale, time reading is quite practical and easy. The Air-King name on the dial appears in the same lettering that was designed specially for the 1950s model. Powered by the self-winding mechanical movement calibre 3131, which is entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex, the watch has a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. An additional feat of the 2016 Air-King is the Superlative Chronometer certification that bears witness to the watch having ‘successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria, which exceed watchmaking norms and standards.’ Impressed yet? We are.
Hungry for a new colour on your wrist? The new Rolex Yacht-Master 40 in Everose Rolesor with its chocolate dial is simply delectable. After last year’s innovative Yacht-Master Oysterflex strap, it is time for Everose Rolesor, a combination of 904L steel and 18 ct Everose gold, to be another first for the Yacht-Master collection. The watch is powered by the in-house caliber 3135 movement and is also Rolex Superlative Chronometer-certified.
The new chocolate, sunray-finished dial is a striking feature of this model, offering it a softer feel that appeals to both men and women; ladies who like bigger watches can definitely wear the Yacht-Master in Everose Rolesor and brag about it!
Half a year has passed since the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 made its debut, and a new member is already joining the family: the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T, a COSC-certified automatic chronograph combined with a titanium and carbon flying tourbillon. An amalgamation of technology, quality, performance, manufacture expertise and the effective industrial processes makes this timepiece the “only COSC automatic chronograph with tourbillon produced by the Swiss watch industry for under CHF15,000”. Point well made, and obviously reinforcing the brand’s “avant-garde” characteristic, whereas younger generations and burgeoning collectors can now own the most affordable well-designed chronograph tourbillon, just as Jean-Claude Biver had promised last year at Baselworld.
The 32 millimeter wide Heuer-02T manufacture movement is based on the CH-80 chronograph, a caliber that did not see the light when it was put on the back burner a while back. The middle section of the tourbillon cage is composed of titanium, while the top part is carbon fiber, keeping the weight as light as possible and thus increasing the power reserve. The movement is visible through the skeleton dial, with the single barrel of the movement peeking from underneath the 12 o’clock indicator and the tourbillon proudly standing at 6 o’clock opening.
TAG celebrated the iconic Monza’s 40th anniversary by reissuing an ultimate design of the watch. The Heuer Monza Chronograph holds 40 years of history, commemorating the chronograph designed in 1976 by Jack Heuer, the great grandson of the brand’s founder, to celebrate Niki Lauda’s first world championship title with Ferrari.
The 2016 edition keeps its predecessor’s two key functions, the pulsometer and the tachymeter scale, as well as many of the initial design touches: the same famous original ‘coussin’ case in all black with black and white lacquered hour and minute hands; indices in vintage orange SuperLuminova™; and the historic HEUER logo on the dial, attesting to the model’s place in the manufacture’s historic collection. Facelifts include titanium for the case which was previously made of steel, a diameter increase for a more modern, masculine 42mm case, and a “super racing” strap in full-grain black calfskin cut through with circles evoking the design of the three-spoke steering wheel on old racing cars.
Keep following this article for updates on the Baselworld 2016 novelties.
And thus the madness started!