Our selection of some early standout timepieces from Baselworld 2018.
Though another Baselworld has come and gone in the quick tick of a seconds hand, some of the new releases announced at the 2018 iteration of the show will doubtless leave a lasting impact on the industry, consumers and collectors alike.
In the lead-up to the event, luxury watchmakers announced a plethora of novelties to whet the appetite of horologists and discerning collectors.
Here is a sample of the timepieces on show at the annual haute horlogerie event that got our hearts ticking that little bit faster.
Carl F. Bucherer Manero Peripheral
The Manero Peripheral family of 40.6mm watches has literally grown in size — Carl F. Bucherer has added a 43mm rose gold version that should appeal to men “who want to invest in quality while conveying poise and elegance”. The dial has been painstakingly crafted, while the appliquéd wedge-shaped indices and the minute hand have been lengthened to retain the exquisite proportions of the Manero Peripheral range. The 2018 edition is driven by the inhouse CFB A2050 calibre, and features a central hour and minute display, a small-seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, and a date display at 3 o’clock. It also includes a bidirectional automatic winding system with a peripheral rotor — a brand speciality — that delivers 55 hours of power reserve. The watch is colour-coordinated with an alligator leather strap.
Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet GMT
Blancpain is positioning this as the ideal travel companion. The calendar indications are linked to the local time display on the principal hands, while the home time is shown with a red-tipped hand.
Lost time is never found again.
The watch features a silicium balance spring that has superior anti-magnetic properties. It also includes exclusive under-lug correctors that allow you to set up all the calendar and moon phase indications with a fingertip, instead of a tool. Blancpain says an added benefit of hidden correctors is a completely smooth case flank unmarred by corrector dimples. It is available in two versions — red gold with an opaline dial and applied red gold Roman indexes, and in stainless steel with a white dial and white gold Roman indexes. Both are fitted into 40mm cases with the traditional Villeret double-stepped bezel, and paired with alligator straps or metal bracelets.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique “Grand Feu”
This is the first watch in the Grandes Complication collection to feature a grand feu enamel dial — these “great fire” dials are created through a time-consuming process of repeatedly adding an enamel substrate and baking it. Housed in a 42mm case that is just 7.45mm thick, it is one of the thinnest automatic tourbillon watches available. And, compared to 2013’s iconic 5377, Breguet has taken a minimalistic approach here by removing the power-reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and opting for a graphic hand-bevelled tourbillon bar topped by a spinel. It features the Calibre 581, which leverages an innovative peripheral motor and delivers an impressive 80 hours of power reserve. The watch comes in rose gold or platinum.
A gentleman's choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Saville Row suit.
Bulgari Octo Tourbillon Sapphire
Inspired by the “architectural harmony of antiquity”, the Octo was launched in 2012. For 2018, the watchmaker has reworked the series and used titanium for the case and dial. Moreover, the Octo Tourbillon Sapphire conveys the watchmaker’s “philosophy of light” — the transparent caseback and dial allows “light to pour in” and enhance the beauty of the movement. The 44mm watch is equipped with the Calibre BVL 206 mechanical manual-winding flying tourbillon movement that features 11 DLC-coated bridges adorned with blue bars made of ITR2 — a unique composite material laden with carbon nanotube particles and endowed with metal-like hardness — and SLN, a high-tech luminescent material. Apart from supporting the movement, the bridges double up as hour-markers.
Longines Conquest V.H.P.
With a movement that delivers a high degree of precision (±5s/yr), Longines can certainly claim this timepiece represents “the ultimate step in the quartz precision”.
I have some wonderful suits in my closet, a lovely car, some refined watches.
The model — available in 42mm and 44mm — sports an innovative gear-position detection system that resets the hands when it detects impact or exposure to a magnetic field. It also has a perpetual calendar that doesn’t require correcting the date, while the battery lasts an impressive four years. You can choose from steel or black PVD models.
MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual
The goal was to reinvent the perpetual calendar complication and the starting point, says MB&F, was a blank sheet of paper. The Legacy Machine Perpetual features a new inhouse movement designed to eliminate all the drawbacks of conventional perpetual calendars. MB&F uses a mechanical processor instead of the grand levier system — the setup utilises a default 28-day month and adds extra days as required, eliminating fast-forwarding or skipping of redundant days. Leap years are also accommodated, with a dedicated quickset pusher. The perpetual calendar mechanism sits on top of the movement’s main plate, and can be appreciated dial-side. Legibility is enhanced by skeletonised subdials that appear to float above the complication. The 44mm case — available in red gold, white gold, platinum, and a titanium edition limited to 50 pieces — is complemented with alligator straps.
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Skeleton
Based on the 2016 Aikon Quartz design, this watch leans towards a “more masculine, sharper state of mind, one that is also more polarising”. The 45mm case, entirely made of steel, features six arms on its bezel, positioned every two hours. The timepiece is the first to be equipped with Maurice Lacroix’s ML234 calibre, a mechanical movement with automatic winding that was “born of design, not necessity”. The movement is structured by a series of five concentric circles that run diagonally through the entire watch. The watch is also the first with the brand’s Easychange system that lets you swap the bracelet in mere seconds. The Aikon Automatic Skeleton features an alligator leather strap with black-on-black stitching.
Breitling Navitimer 8 B01
The 8 in its new Navitimer 8 collection is a nod to Breitling’s Huit Aviation Department, set up in 1938 to produce cockpit instruments and pilot’s watches. Huit, French for “eight”, referred to the eight-day power reserve the cockpit instruments offered. This standout resurrects some of the design values of Huit’s onboard clocks, especially with the dials and the bezels. The self-winding watch has a ratchet-wheel chronograph with vertical coupling and a power reserve of more than 70 hours. The display features 30-minute and 12-hour counters and a date window. It’s powered by the in-house Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01, and is available in a 43-mm stainless steel case with a black or blue dial, or in 18k red gold with a bronze dial, each with the distinctive design elements of contrasting subdials.
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horolum
The intense green typically used to light up runways has made it to this watch’s dial. The extraordinary night readability is courtesy SuperLuminova C3. Bell & Ross describes the design as minimalist Bauhaus-inspired. The dial is made of micro-blasted brass-rhodium and formed by superimposing two metal plates. The grey upper section is cut away around the numerals and indices, revealing the photo-luminescent coating covering the lower plate. The 44mm case, made of micro-blasted steel, has an identical finish and creates a homogenous block of the same colour as the dial. The BR 03-92 Horolum is equipped with the BR-CAL.302 mechanical automatic movement. Grey-green calfskin and ultra-resistant black synthetic straps complete the watch.
Glashütte Senator Cosmopolite
Describing it as a minimalist world traveller, the Senator Cosmopolite will be at home wherever you go. Launched in 2015, the 2018 update presents a more contemporary look and feel. The watch features dark blue printed Arabic minute numerals and blue appliques that are set off against a matte white lacquered dial. A small second at 6 o’clock and the panorama date at 4 o’clock complement blued central minute and hour hands. The separate home time display at 12 o’clock is combined with a day/night indicator and a power reserve indicator, while a ring offers a selection of 36 time zones. The Senator Cosmopolite is equipped with the Calibre 89-02, which uses an off-centre rotor and packs in a power reserve of over 72 hours. The 44mm stainless steel case comes with a blue Louisiana alligator leather strap.
Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani on the maison’s penchant for razor-sharp, wafer-thin watchmaking.