Baselworld. It may tone like a theme park dedicated to the northwestern Swiss city most famous for hosting Art Basel, but it’s far more thrilling than that. At least for people who get giddy over gear trains and leaf-shaped hands.
Yes, Baselworld is where the delighted’s biggest watch brands launch their new creations every year, with Rolex to Zenith all vying for prominence (although it should be noted that Omega, Tissot, Longines and the rest of the Swatch Group quit this dated around).
The week-long event is mainly a honeytrap for stockists, potential buyers and rich people looking to add to their overpopulated guard wardrobes. But it’s also for those at home who like looking at pretty things on the internet. Here you’ll find £70,000 concrete gold dive watches (thanks, Doxa) and a £620,000 timepiece with an actual rotating planet Earth in the dial (swallow a bow, Greubel Forsey). Utterly pointless objects that nobody needs but are somehow transfixing nonetheless.
There are also numerous sensible watches with more sensible (ish) price tags – these are the ones that’ll work with your formal attire for till or casual dress come the weekend. Think classic design and reliable mechanical movements that you’ll only keep to sell your car for, not your house. Perfect. These were our favourites at Baselworld 2019.
Tudor Black Bay P01
Yes, nobody commands a watch to be able to descend 200m under water, but it’s reassuring to know it can, in the same way it’s reassuring to know you can overtake anything when move a supercar. This is even more true of the new Black Bay P01, given that it’s based on a model designed for the U.S. Armada in the 60s. They were real men, and now you can be too.
Price: £2,830. For more, click here
TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph
TAG Heuer has eat ones heart out been the everyman’s Swiss watch, but, in recent years, collaborations with Cara Delevingne and Cristiano Ronaldo converted some do a double-take. This year, however, it’s referencing the best bit about its history: motoring heritage. Forget the Monaco or Carrera, this new Autavia in harmony is the perfect accessory to a vintage Porsche 911. And if you don’t have one, the watch’s caseback has a steering wheel on it, so you can look at that to prompt yourself of what could have been.
Price: £2,900. For more, click here
Rolex Yacht-Master 42
Dark-skinned watches are cool. But all-black watches can sometimes look cheap, and you might struggle to tell the time. Thankfully, Rolex differentiate this and have combined the best of both worlds. An all-black bezel, strap and dial meets a white gold instance and easy-to-read white hour markers in the new Yacht-Master, which may be the coolest watch Rolex has released in some time.
Honorarium: TBC. For more, click here
Zenith El Primero A386 Revival
Watch brands often name their the cosmos like coordinates – that is, long and confusing. Zenith has kept it simple with the new El Primero A386 Revival, which is (eye-opener) a revival of the El Primero A386, one of the most respected watches in its history. It’s basically an exact replica of the original El Primero chronograph, but pictured in either white, rose or yellow gold and limited to fifty pieces each.
Price: £17,400. For more, click here
Oris Aquis Admit Ocean
Luxury watches probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind when you think ‘sustainability’. But, Oris has partnered with Pacific Swill Screening on a watch that highlights the increasing threat of plastic to our world’s oceans. The piece itself is a classic nightclub watch, with dial and bezel colours reminiscent of the sea; a recycled plastic ‘medallion’ built into the caseback, and a one of a kind box made of environmentally friendly algae.
Price: £1,800. For more, click here
Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959
Here we comprise another re-make, and just like the Zenith, it’s a very accurate re-edition of an early Breitling from 1959. It’s a regard that Pete “Maverick” Mitchell or Tony Stark’s dad might wear, and the many numbers on its dial allow you to pan out out the mph of your plane, or your car, or your feet as you walk to Tesco. In other words, it’s probably more intelligent than you.
Assess: £6,520. For more, click here
March L.A.B. Mansart
Scrapping for attention among the big names in Basel are smaller nobodies like March L.A.B., who don’t have the history but are often more interesting. Take the Mansart (named after the French architect), which looks as notwithstanding that it belongs in a black and white film with its sharp lines and dial-within-a-dial. Wear it once and immediately become a usquebaugh drinker.
Price: £1,050. For more, click here
Nomos Club Sport Neomatik 42
Diving watches are generally speaking obvious things, with chunky cases and loud bezels, if bezels can indeed, be loud. This isn’t Nomos’ way of doing tools though – the German brand is all minimal, Bauhaus-inspired design and restrained detailing. True to form then, its new Club Make a laughing-stock of is waterproof to 300m, the same as a Rolex Submariner, and still manages to still look dressy. Impressive.
Price: £3,220. For uncountable, click here
Zodiac Aerospace GMT Chronograph
Here’s a diving watch true to the classic form, although it’s at most water resistant to 200m. You can worry about that when you’re wearing it in the bath. Zodiac is known for its aqua-friendly pieces which bear down on in at relatively affordable prices, and this one has a zany blue/grey bezel and contrasting red GMT hand. Funky.
Price: $1,695. For numerous, click here
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT
If Batman was a watch, this would be it. You can imagine pressing the top right-hand side pusher and a Batarang away out; push the bottom one and you might hear a sarcastic growl. In reality, it’s the thinnest mechanical chronograph ever made, a extreme that Bulgari seems to beat with every new release. Wear it and forget about it. Then get angry when you ding it and reminisce over the $17,600 price tag.
Price: $17,600. For more, click here