BASELWORLD 2012 CAME TO A CLOSE YESTERDAY. HERE, SOME OF OUR EXPERTS SHARE THEIR CONCLUSIONS ON THIS YEAR’S SHOW.
Compiling pithy thoughts on Baselworld is like trying to squeeze an elephant into a test tube. Over the course of eight days, more than 1,800 watch and jewellery brands present their new collections – it’s an onslaught on the senses and the most exciting week in the industry calendar.
Nevertheless, we asked some of the Watches of Switzerland team – Baselworld veterans, all of them – to distil their observations on emerging trends and the state of the industry as a whole.
David Lindsay, Director of Corporate, Watches of Switzerland
‘We called it last year, but this year the return to classicism and conservative sizes really came to the fore. I think that’s why we’re seeing a lot more rose gold in gents watches too – it’s that bit less flashy than yellow gold. Brands have been keeping an eye on the Chinese customer and there were lots of matching his-and-hers offerings with automatic movements, which are very popular with the Chinese. As ever, demand for Patek complications continues to outstrip supply, proof the brand is still the one to go for if you’re investing. One other thing I was interested to see was the number of sensibly priced world timers and perpetual calendars – a little bit of realism, perhaps.’
IN DEMAND: The Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref 5204P comes equipped with a split seconds chronograph and a perpetual calendar
Mark Toulson, Buying Manager, Watches of Switzerland
‘From where I was standing, the mood at Basel was typically exuberant and seemingly immune from these straightened economic times with manufacturers producing an array of new models and evolutions to tempt the avid buyer – and in Hublot’s case, all the way up to $5 million! Pink gold remains strong, and we’re also now seeing manufacturers fusing various materials to create new finishes. Blue dials are everywhere, and space/moon watches are being launched by many brands. One other tip – travel and alarm watches will be hot for 2012.’
ONE WORLD: Breitling’s Transocean Chronograph Unitime features the brand’s new in-house Calibre 05 movement
Robin Swithinbank, Editor, Calibre Magazine
‘I thought there was a particular intensity and an urgency to the fair this year. With the industry continuing to show signs of growth in 2012, I felt brands were pushing hard to make their voice heard above the competition. One of the big drivers here was the message of value. We saw a number of new lines with deliberately competitive price points – like Zenith’s Espada or Breitling’s Unitime Calibre 05 collection of world timer chronographs. Aesthetically, watches are getting smaller again and 39mm-41mm watches were all over the place, where a few years ago the norm was 43mm-45mm. Vintage is still with us, and we also saw blue confirm its position as the next big thing in dial colours.’
BLUE NOON: NOMOS Glashütte’s Zurich blaugold with sunray blue dial
Keep checking back here for news of this year’s collections, which will start arriving in our online store and across our showroom network in the next few weeks and throughout the year, starting with some very special pieces from TAG Heuer – watch this space.