If you’re following us on social media, you will know that this year’s Baselworld is now underway. From March 23-30, the world’s finest brands will present their latest stunning creations to the waiting press, retailers and watch lovers at the annual luxury watch and jewellery fair, setting the agenda for the wider industry over the next 12 months. Yesterday our CEO Brian Duffy hosted a panel discussion with our watch buying team and VIP expert David Lindsay, which was broadcast live on the GQ website and on our Facebook page. Don’t worry if you missed it because here’s another chance to discover our pick of the fair so far. Don’t forget to follow our hashtag #WoSLiveatBasel for the latest watch news.
We were delighted to see Rolex unveil several new watches, and we know that our customers and admirers of the brand will not be disappointed. The Sea-Dweller has been revisited for its 50th anniversary and now comes in a bolder 43mm Oyster Perpetual Case and a new calibre. Designed with professional divers in mind, the modern iteration of this classic timepiece is waterproof to a staggering 1220m.
Meanwhile the Sky-Dweller, popular with the jet-set thanks to its second time zone and annual calendar functionality, is now available in a white and yellow Rolesor outfit. This is a first for the Rolex Sky-Dweller, which was previously only available in precious metal.
Finally, two new variations of the Cosmograph Daytona were also unveiled. This handsome motorsport-inspired watch features a ceramic bezel and Rolex’s innovative Oysterflex rubber bracelet.
We kicked things off yesterday with a special discussion between our Aurum CEO, Brian Duffy and Rolex expert James Dowling. If you follow us on social media then you can still watch the full Q&A on our Facebook page.
As predicted, this year the brand is celebrating its seminal Aquanaut sports watch as it turns 20. The new Aquanaut 5168G is the first men’s Aquanaut to be cast in 18-carat white gold and at 42mm, it’s also the largest watch in the line. The new dial colour ‘night blue’ is a fitting name as the colour gradually darkens to black towards the outside. Introducing the handsome new perpetual calendar model, Ref 5320G, that automatically indicates months with 28, 30 and 31 days and every four years accounts for a leap year. We’re fans of its lacquered cream dial and romantic moon-phase display. The brand also presented a number of exquisite models for ladies. Ref 7140G-001 houses the ultra-thin Calibre 240Q, which powers a perpetual calendar mechanism and a stunning moon-phase display. The shimmering bezel is set with 68 diamonds.
The big news over at Breitling this year is the new Navitimer Rattrapante, which houses Calibre B03, a patented in-house split-second chronograph movement. This powers two superimposed central chronograph hands, one of which can be stopped to measure an intermediate (split) time, before catching up, with the first one still sweeping onwards. We think it’s an impressive piece of watchmaking: in fact, the split-seconds chronograph is widely regarded as one of the hardest watchmaking mechanisms to create. For such a formidable piece of movement-making, Breitling has selected its iconic Navitimer model – in this case a 45mm case in steel or gold with a new bronze dial.
Also new is the Avenger Hurricane Military and Colt Skyracer, two models that tap into the brand’s innovative material, Breitlight, that is 3.3 times lighter than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than steel, but significantly harder.
This year is also the 60th anniversary of Breitling’s beloved Superocean diver’s watch, and to celebrate the brand has redesigned the model for the new Superocean Héritage. The watch now has a steel and ceramic bezel and the big news is that Breitling and Tudor have entered into a new mutually beneficial arrangement, which sees the new Superocean house Calibre B01, itself derived from Tudor’s MT5612 COSC-certified movement.
Blancpain were keeping schtum about what to expect from its new collection but – as usual – its new offerings are beautifully designed, classic-looking watches. In particular, the Villeret Samenier 8 Jour was a standout, with its quirky Roman numerals, curved blue steel date hand, large date window, a day of the week indicator and most interestingly – a 53-week calendar, ideal for those in commerce. Such a highly complicated watch requires a serious movement, and in this case a 378-part automatic movement named Calibre 3738G2. A sapphire case back provides a clear view of this finely hand-finished movement and the gold winding rotor with its honeycomb guilloché pattern. Divine!
After Blancpain we got eyes on new watches from another Swatch Group brand and the offerings from Breguet were every bit as impressive. The Marine Equation Marchante 5887 is a completely new watch and adds a new ‘Grande Complication’ to the contemporary Marine collection. Available in platinum or rose gold, the major talking point of this 43.9mm watch is the running solar hand with its facetted golden sun that indicates the true solar time. In parallel with this exclusive launch, Breguet continues to encourage women’s interest in mechanical watchmaking. The Manufacture is enriching its ladies’ collection with exquisite variations featuring a stunning array of gems, mother-of-pearl and other precious materials, nearly all of which feature on the new Reine de Naples watch.