We kick-started our journey on Saturday (24th March) to Baselworld by boarding the world famous Swiss train line from Zurich to Basel. When we arrived in the main hall we were greeted with an abundance of new products waiting to be discovered in all of the brands stalls. The Rolex stand was immense, towering over three stories; it could have fitted our Plymouth store inside it five times over, easily!
Our first meeting of the day was with Breitling in the main hall. We were excited to see the direction Breitling was heading this year, we had a feeling that they were going to be focusing more on the heritage of the brand, with a spotlight on vintage designs, such as the Navitimer 8 and the Superocean Heritage.
Breitling had made the bold move to shift from its current stigma of large aviation based men’s watches, to much sleeker, smarter and classic designs with less focus on the ties with its aviation partnerships and more focus on the heritage of the brand.
Our personal favourite: Breitling have brought out four special edition watches in collaboration with the RAF 100 year anniversary. We loved each and everyone, but with three of these pieces being limited to only 100 pieces and one extremely rare Navitimer with only 25 pieces being made world wide, these beautiful watches will be in high demand and short supply!
From there we met with Omega whos real showstopper this year was the revamped version of the classic Seamaster Diver 300, which has seen a complete makeover. By popular demand you can now get the Seamaster with the famous ‘wave dial’, as well as this it also sports the new fully in-house movement and a very sharp take on the classic bracelet.
The family has also evolved into several gorgeous new specs which have never been seen before, such as the steel and yellow/rose versions. This model can also now sport a rubber bracelet for a more casual daytime look. Our favourite combination was the steel and yellow gold in blue with the blue rubber strap.
Our personal favourite: Another incredible piece released by Omega was the new Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8, with a completely black ceramic case and a skeleton blackened movement, which has been laser-ablated to produce a realistic likeness to the surface of the moon. This piece is truly one you need to see to believe!
TAG Heuer was last but not least on Saturday, and they did not disappoint! With a strong showing in the form of a beautiful new version of the TAG Heuer Carrera GMT; the same sleek design and skeleton dial to the see the lovely in house movement with a soft blue and black bezel, this is a very cool watch and we think our customers will think the same. TAG were also looking strong with their partnerships this year, with both Aston Martin and Bamford to add to there already impressive repertoire of collaborations.
Our personal favourite: The new ladies Aquaracer collection is extremely impressive, with the calibre 9 automatic movement now being added to the watch in 32 mm case size. We think ladies are going to love the new version which perfectly harmonises technicality with sporty aesthetics.
On Sunday we began with none other than Rolex, and needless to say we were all very excited to see the new offerings from the world\'s biggest watch brand… and we were definitely not disappointed. As usual Rolex continues to improve, tweak and update its current models which they feel are missing the mark. For a brand which strives for perfections it’s good to see that they don’t let complacency set in.
The new 36mm Datejust has seen improvements to its case and lugs and sports the new 3235 in-house movement. The Sea-dweller Deepsea has also undergone a small but very notable change to its case and lugs as well as sporting a broader bracelet, a much needed change that we think will make a world of difference.
We must also address the elephant in the room, which is of course the new GMT Master II. Was it stunning? Yes! Was it the perfect move on the jubilee bracelet? Absolutely! Was the brown and black Everose and rolesor models as classy and impressive as we thought? Of course they were! When Rolex is producing pieces and as stunning as these, we can understand why desire is so high on these, and if you are lucky enough to be able to acquire one of these pieces, we are sure you will be the envy of pretty much everyone!
Our personal favourite: The new Datejust 31mm has seen some lovely changes to its case and lugs as well as the new 2236 self-winding movement being housed inside all new 18ct versions. The real showstopper for us was this model with a stunning diamond paved dial with mother of pearl butterflies in yellow gold which is a symphony of elegance and beauty.
The sibling of Rolex has seen a massive resurgence in recent years and we have found ourselves being more and more impressed with its commitment to making the highest quality watches at the most accessible price, and this year may just be their best yet.
We absolutely loved the new versions of the Black Bay; the GMT has a slightly softer colouring on the bezel compared to the Rolex counterpart, opting for a blue and burgundy bezel, which is stunning. The Black Bay family also saw the new 58 which would be perfect for the classic Tudor lover, with its 1950’s design and smaller case size at 39mm. The Black Bay also branched out even further with the ladies pieces, with the edition of a 32mm which is both sporty and classy. The previous 36mm and 41mm versions have now also received a new blue dial, which we think works particularly well on the latter.
Our personal favourite: The new 1926, named of the year that the Tudor brand, was created by Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf. A sophisticated watch which works well with both the two tone version, as well as a very impressive silver and blue dial for gents. A must have watch for any die hard Tudor fan!
As always with Patek Philippe, less is certainly more, and this year we found ourselves once more in awe of the purity, craftsmanship and passion that Patek has for each of the timepieces they present. This year saw Geneva’s oldest family owned watchmakers release some stunning rare pieces which truly need to be seen to be believed. Each are unique and inspiring with their very own story.
As for wrist watches, where to start? The obvious star of the show is the 5531 which is the first world time minute repeater which always strikes the local time. The Nautilus is also as never seen before, now as a perpetual calendar, 5740/1G is the first Nautilus to house a grand complication. This year also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Golden Ellipse family and celebrates this with the new limited edition version of the 5738/50P, with only 100 anniversary sets available, consisting of a platinum watch with matching cufflinks.
Our personal favourite: Could it be any other than the new 5968A Aquanaut Chronograph? This piece blew us away! The first thing that grabs your attention is the thickness of this piece, with a height of 11.9mm, it is much more of a sporty style for one of Pateks most loved families. This watch is dynamic and youthful and hits all the right notes for Michael Spiers.
By George Savage