Even a fully certified card carrying watch addict with a high tolerance for hard core horology can find himself overdosing on the abundance of goodies on view at Baselworld. It’s simply too much to take in, even after a number of visits. There is, quite simply, a whole lot of watches going on.
So where to begin? Probably right at the top, because Hall 1.0 is where all the global brands are to be found. These are the brands even the man in the street would have a good chance of recognising. Almost as soon as you have mastered the art of scanning your card at the electronic turnstile, you are practically tripping over Patek Philippe – not that they let just anyone in, because they most certainly do not. If you try to enter without an invitation you’ll be politely barred from crossing the threshold, but this did not stop me from noticing new and shiny things in the window.
Baselworld 2014 – Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5960/1A
Unusually for Patek Philippe, they have released a chronograph in stainless steel, a metal usually reserved only for more sporty models such as the Nautilus and Aquanaut series. The watch has a 3-dimensional effect aided by the blackened appliques of the chrono’s 12-hour counter and the frames of the calendar window,. There is no room for confusion here as the chronograph shows the day, the date and the month. The hour and minutes hands are also wrapped in an outline of black pitched against the clean white of the dial to achieve even fuerhter stand out. Only on the elapsed seconds hand and the power reserve display is there a show of red. The watch is powered by the automatic calibre 28-520 IRM QA 24. Known as Ref. 5960/1A and will replace all previous gold and platinum models.
Baselworld 2014 – OMEGA De Ville Tresor
Keep walking dead ahead and unmissably there stands the House of Swatch’s OMEGA. There offering in the formal dress wear stakes is the De Ville Tresor, inspired by a watch which was first introduced in 1949. It’s a little beauty with the slimline case made from 18k Sedna Gold, OMEGA’s special gold mix to make the watch shine and stay scratchproof. There is a choice of rose or white gold. The watch features a domed dial decorated with a vintage Clous de Paris décor. The watch is powered by the new hand wound OMEGA Master CO-Axial calibre 8511. The watch is able to resist magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss. Elegance and resilience in a one beautiful package.
Baselworld 2014 – Ulysse Nardin Perpetual Manufacture
Still in Hall 1.0 and I just have to stop in and see what Ulysse Nardin are up to. New from this highly regarded brand is a Perpetual Manufacture housing the remarkable UN32 calibre. Incredibly this calibre allows the date to be adjusted forwards and backwards, and has a mechanical memory of 1,461 days. The perpetual calendar is a sophisticated mechanism that takes into account not only the months with 30 and 31 days, but also the 28 days of February and not forgetting the day ladies can propose – February 29th – every four years. This means it possesses a mechanical memory of 1,461 days. The first time the Perpetual Manufacture will require manual adjustment will be in 2100, which would normally be a leap year but is an exception in the Gregorian calendar.
Glasshutte Original Seventies Chronograph Panoramadatum
I was surprised to see just how large the Saxony brand Glasshutte Original’s stand is, and looking very prominent in the heart of Hall 1.0. Big stand, big name for a lovely new watch. Base, as the name suggests, on a 70’s design, the watch features a new chronograph movement that was created entirely in-house. So many brands are now becoming manufactures. The movement is calibre 37-02, it has a central hand for elapsed seconds, totalizers for 30 elapsed hours and a small seconds sub-dial as well as an indicator for the impressive 70 hour power reserve. Equipped with a flyback function one press of the button halts the stopwatch while the three elapsed time hands immediately spring back to zero to be able to measure another time interval.
Baselworld 2014 – Tissot Le Locle Small Second
I have been shyly concealing my humble Tissot PR 100 under my sleeve while at Baselworld, but sometimes watch executives from major brands have asked me what I am wearing. It’s embarrassing to show this nothing special Tissot, so I brush it off as my daily beater. The sad truth is, it’s actually one of my better watches. So I was interested to see what was new at Tissot. I think Tissot make some great looking watches, and fresgh for Baselworld 2014 is the Tissot Le Locle Small Second, which is powered by Tissot’s new calibre 2825, an automatic movement that allows any type of counter sub dial (hour, minute, or second) to be placed anywhere on the dial. As a result of this, the small seconds subdial and the date are located in unusual places on the dial – at 5 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions, to be exact. The dial features a Tissot favourite, Roman numerals, and the traditional Le Locle signature. The 316L stainless steel case has a scratch-proof sapphire crystal and a see-through caseback. The watch comes on a leather strap with butterfly clasp or a steel bracelet with push-button butterfly clasp. Bicolour and rose-gold PVD versions are also available.
There are 5 more halls to go yet, plus upper floors to each hall, so the sapphire crystal surface, it has not even been lightly grazed yet. Look out for more wonders from the halls of Baselworld in the days to come.