The 2019 edition of Baselworld — one of the world’s most important watch fairs — will go down in the books as a transitional one. Due to many factors, including changing marketing and distribution models, many brands dropped out of the show. And next year, the exhibition is moving its dates from March to April.
Likewise, the brands who presented new watches in Basel are also evolving and focusing on updating familiar timepieces or expanding classic collections. While it seems like watchmakers were playing it safe, there were many standouts and surprises. Sharp spent three intense days looking at the latest timepieces to bring you the best of Baselworld 2019.
Rolex Yacht-Master 42
Rolex is extending its Yacht-Master range with a 42mm Oyster Perpetual in 18kt white gold a new size and metal for this professional watch. It’s also a beauty with its black dial and easy-to-read Chromalight lume on the hands and hour markers. The matte black bezel is of white gold Cerachrom. The markings on bezel are raised and polished. A time and date only watch, it’s simplicity captures the essence of the Yacht-Master line in a fresh, modern way.
Also updated is the movement, the COSC Chronometer Certified Calibre3235 — Rolex’s most state-of-the-art, time-and-date movement. This mechanism uses the company’s inhouse Chronergy high-efficiency escapement and keeps time to +2/-2 seconds per day.
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
The famous Black Bay Bronze, winner of the “Petite Aiguille” prize at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève is back with a new slate-grey model with shaded dial. The design of this husky, 43mm watch pays tribute to Tudor’s nautical heritage — and just imagine how the salty sea air will change the patina of the brushed bronze case!
The face of the watch also has a retro feel with its gradient dark grey dial and Tudor’s trademarked ‘snowflake’ design on the hour hand. And it’s bowered by the hearty manufacture calibre MT5601 with a 70-hour power resolve. You can beat it up, but you can’t beat it.
Chopard L.U.C. Flying Twin Tourbillon
One welcome trend at Baselworld was the return of the dress watch. And no one did it better than Chopard with their first ever flying tourbillon. This extra slim at 7.2mm in height, made from ethically mined 18k rose gold and features a solid gold dial that’s been blackened to highlight a hand-engraved motif.
Limited to just 50-piece, the L.U.C Flying T Twin also features the extremely refined self-winding L.U.C 96.24-L calibre with a 22k gold micro rotor. This machine oscillates at a frequency of 25,200 vibrations per hour (3.5 Hz) and offers a 65-hour power reserve thanks to Chopard’s patented Twin technology, which combines two coaxial barrels. This is quite an achievement given that the movement is a mere 3.3 mm thick.
Price available upon request, chopard.com
Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon Limited Edition
Victorinox has introduced a new box set to its I.N.O.X collection of hits. This limited edition ‘Firefighter’ features a virtually indestructable monobloc carbon case and dial with high grade Super-LumiNova numerals and hands. It comes with two interchangeable straps — a neon yellow paracord and a black bracelet made from firefighter boot leather.
The ultimate in survival watches, this timepiece and comes housed in a fire engine red shockproof box which is also equipped complete with an extra black bumper and a tool knife used by Swiss firefighters.
995 CHF, swissarmy.com
TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph
TAG Heuer is bringing its classic 1960s Autavia as a stand-alone collection. Autavia is a contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion and it was the first wristwatch created by the legendary Jack Heuer for the family company.
This collection has vintage vibes: The 42mm stainless-steel body recalls the first-generation Autavia case and bevelled lugs. The extra-large crown takes inspiration from pilot’s watches. And a ’60s-style smoked dial is available in black, grey or blue. But the Autavia Isograph is no mere reboot. The original was also known for being highly legible and the 2019 versions is even more readable with the hour marker, and hour, minute and seconds hands coated in SuperLuminova, making it possible to read the time even when adventure leads you into the dark. The new Autavia uses cutting edge carbon-composite hairspring technology that distinguishes each piece as an Isograph. Available in June.
$3,950 USD, tagheuer.com
Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 41
The new Navitimer 1 Automatic 41 harkens back to a simpler design time — the 1950s. Inspired by the iconic Navitimer Ref. 806 and the three-handed Navitimer Reference 66, this world timer gives globetrotters a watch that’s easy-to-read no matter how jet-lagged you are.
This versatile timepiece also helps travellers pack lighter: the stylish Navitimer 1 Automatic 41 is available in stainless-steel or two-tone options presented on an alligator strap or a stainless-steel Navitimer bracelet. It is also comes in your choice of black, blue, or silver dials for the stainless steel version or a silver or Anthracite face for the bicolor model. Which means that it complements any wardrobe.
$4,560 USD to $6,700 USD, breitling.com
Zenith Defy Inventor
While it’s part of Zenith’s classic Defy family, the Inventor is one of the most inventive watches to debut at Baselworld 2019. It features the ground-breaking Zenith Oscillator control system — a single compliant silicon component which incorporates the functions of the balance wheel, balance spring, and lever. This high-tech device provides provided high frequency chronometric precision, reliability, and stability
If that’s not disruptive enough for you, the case made of lightweight titanium and Aeronith – an innovative aluminum-polymer composite. This lightweight material let Zenith’s designers experiment with an open worked dial, an architectural case and a futuristic black rubber strap with a midnight blue alligator coating. The Inventor hits stores in July.
Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation
The original 1970s Seiko diver’s watch, affectionately nicknamed the Turtle, was built to provide the reliability, durability, precision and legibility that divers needed.
The design of that timepiece was focussed on function, with a wide case and protected crown at the 4 o’clock position. Flash forward four decades, and you get the Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-creation — the dive watch fans of vintage Seiko have been waiting for.
At 45mm x 13mm, the new edition of the Turtle is slightly larger than the original, but is otherwise faithful to the design of its predecessor. Inside, the Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-creation is completely up-to-date with modern times. It is powered by Seiko’s calibre 8L35 which was specially designed for use in diver’s watches. It is also presented on a high strength silicone strap. And that ’70s style, stainless steel case is further protected by a super-hard coating and a dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating to provide water resistance to 200 metres. This limited edition of 2,500 pieces also features a Zaratsu-polished bezel (a technique usually reserved for the high end Grand Seiko line) and it’s being offered as a limited edition of 2,500 pieces