Last day of Baselworld 2014 for me, dear friends, and I decided to go out with a bang, so today you’ll see all of this year’s new releases from the genius watchmaker Christophe Claret, as well as my favorite novelties of Basel from DeBethune and Rolex! Let’s get straight to it then – Christophe Claret’s booth is located in the palace (as most of my favorite brands are) and that allowed us to take some good photos of the novelties as well as sit down in a relaxing atmosphere and explore the watches a little more. First of the new pieces came out a little bit earlier than during Baselworld – and that is the ‘Poker Watch’.
Do you know how many brands say that a watch will be thematic and then just engrave the subject of this theme on the dial or on the back of the watch? Well that’s definitely not something that happened here; to continue the ‘gambling’ line of Claret’s watches it was only logical to do a Poker watch after the Blackjack and Baccara were made. The only question I had in mind is – how in the world would such an unpredictable, complicated and random game of cards be displayed on a wristwatch?! Apparently that was not a big issue, as Claret manages to actually implement a real game of Poker (with randomized card combinations) for 3 players, each holding 2 cards as well as the river of 5 cards across the dial that are pushed in with the pusher at 9 o’clock.
And as a game of poker is a very random one and there are 52 cards overall there are around 100’000 combinations possible on the dial – that is just plain crazy. As if this was not enough every time a player deals the cards a gong is activated with the distinctive by now ‘Claret’ sound. And on the back of the watch we see the signature roulette instead of a rotor, so you can play any time of day if the watch is with you. The price for this piece will range from 160 to 180 thousand $ depending on the version, and you can discover more about it on the website.
Moving to the next novelty by Claret – the just released Maestoso, a true beauty and a tribute to the marine chronometers of the 18th century (with a Claret twist of course). What you see on the dial is not a tourbillon, but a balance wheel with a regulator (see the needle?). And due to the depth and layers of the movement it enabled the watch to be as accurate as possible while undertaking any positions.
The bridges you see on the dial were inspired by Charles X – King of France back in the 19th century, who had a large influence in the pocket watch decorations. So overall it might not be as fun as the Poker watch but it definitely is one of the most beautiful pieces I have seen in a very long time.
And finally, speaking of beauty – Claret’s Basel surprise – the Margo ladies’ watch. Everything in it starting from the look and to the complication is amazing. First of all it is a very elegant timepiece that most would probably underestimate due to the girly look, but behind this mother of pearl dial lays a completely new movement and complication! The flower in the middle is inspired by a famous game ‘He loves me? he loves me not?’, and by pressing the pusher at 2 o’clock you would actually activate it, and the petals of the flower will start coming off, generating new answers in the small window at 5 o’clock (in French) telling the lady how her beloved feels about her ? And even though the watch looks simple on the outside it is made of 731 parts which is A LOT, and not just for a ladies piece but in general.
To finish the look we have baguette diamonds set around the bezel and a very elegant white leather strap. There will be 4 different versions made each a limited edition of 20 pieces.
Now moving to yet another genius independent brand – DeBethune. It’s hard for me to believe that it is only around 10 years old as the watches have developed such a unique and classy style I would have imagined that its roots laid in the 19th century. Having said that the DeBethunes we see today look like a blend of traditional horology and futuristic design, and that’s what makes them so perfect for me. As a big fan of the DB28 collection, I had to mention the new black version of the DB28 moon phase. The model displays the balance wheel on the face of the watch and just below it (at 6 o’clock) we can see the 3-dimentional moonphase made of aluminium.
What gives this watch an identity (except for the things I mentioned above) is the case and lug shape. The lugs are ‘flexible’ and as you put the watch on your wrist you don’t notice any discomfort while wearing, even if it’s a new piece. Same goes for the super comfortable leather strap – I said it before (many times) and will say it again – DeBethune offers the best quality/comfort level straps on the market of high horology. Apart from these features DB28 also has a power reserve of 6 days with a display on the back, a performance indicator and the black version is entirely made of Zirconium. So even though there are a couple more novelties from DeBethune my personal preference goes to this piece.
Finally, that we’ve covered my favorite independents let’s get back to the big guys – Rolex. This year the brand has come up with some pretty major novelties like the Cellini collection renewed, a new Milgauss reference and new Sea and Sky-Dwellers. However nothing beats the renewed Master-GMT II with a red/blue bezel, otherwise known as ‘Pepsi Bezel’.
What’s so special about it? First of all it’s one of the best selling and most popular Rolexes that they have every produced among the mainstream market. However that was some time ago, and for a very long period of time Rolex has ‘refused’ to make a new version of the Pepsi. This year though, they came up with this model – the new Rolex Master-GMT II 116719BLRO and instead of steel the casing is now white gold. It does make the watch drastically more expensive but it also increases its potential value for many. But that is not even the most important difference in the new GMT – the key feature now is the ceramic bezel, which was made of red and blue ceramic as one piece and not 2 put together, which is super hard.
So there you go – those are my picks from Baselworld this year, and I hoped you have enjoyed the photos as well as my take on the novelties. Of course there are many more watches that came out, so I will do my best to cover more of the best in the future articles. Thank you for staying tuned with us till the end ?