Baselworld marks the best time of the year for any watch enthusiast, and 2016 watch show was as good as ever. Featuring all of the top luxury watch brands from throughout the world, thousands of timepieces were showcased throughout the event, which has helped to give us a preview of some of the must-have watches of the year.
The show features the usual flair and extravagance you would expect from an event showcasing the world’s finest watches, with all the top manufacturers displaying some truly wonderful creations that feature phenomenal engineering and plenty of gorgeous designs.
Yet there was also a reserved attitude from many brands, as evidenced by many reduced rates for several high-quality models. This cautious approach is certainly warranted given the current stance of the world economy, but that’s not to say there weren’t some truly spectacular pieces on show – it is Baselworld after all!
Here are some of the best watches from Baselworld 2016:
Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire
Sapphire watchmaking is nothing new, but Hublot provided an exquisite example of how an all-sapphire crystal watch should be done – not to mention a price that offers incredible value for money when compared to similar models, costing $57,000.
The Big Bang Unico Sapphire features an all-sapphire crystal case composed of three parts that is fitted to a transparent silicone strap. Even the dials and hands are transparent, helping to give the Big Bang Unico its unique style. In fact the only components of this watch not made from sapphire are the crowns and pushers, which are a blend of titanium and sapphire, along with the titanium screws.
Measuring at 45mm, Big Bang features the in-house Unico flyback movement which is on full display thanks to the sapphire casing, allowing you to revel in all of its glorious craftsmanship. It is also waterproof to an incredible 100 meters and has a power reserve of up 72 hours.
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Master Chronometer 39.5mm Sedna Gold
The newest iteration of the Seamaster, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Master Chronometer measures 39.5mm and has rightfully earned its official nickname of ‘chocolate’. This can be credited to the Sedna Gold, a gorgeous alloy that blends gold, palladium and copper to create that rich chocolate-like colour of the rose gold case.
The face is composed of black enamel with a Ceragold bezel, beautifully complimenting the colour of the case and the brown leather strap, creating a truly elegant watch. The applied and polished markers of the dial are filled with a generous amount of high-quality luminant.
But this watch from Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean series certainly isn’t style over substance, as evidenced by its water resistance which can reach up to 600m – you would expect nothing less from the Seamaster range!
It features the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8801/8800, a new range composed of 35 jewels with a power reserve of 55 hours, and the movement operates at 25,200 vph.
Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon
Perhaps one of the most grandiose pieces on display at this year’s Baselword, the Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon is a marvel to look at, which is what most of us will have to settle for as their will only be eighteen produced, each costing a cool $280,000.
The nautical inspired timepiece has a 44mm case made from 18k white gold, the same gold used for the buckles on the strap.
The face of the Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon is where you really see how sailboats have served to inspire the design. It features a minute hand that is styled as the boom of a ship and has wooden backdrop for the dial.
The boom is controlled through intricate nanowires that pull the handle across the minute counter, which is made of a translucent blue material and presents the minutes in an unconventional arc, with the boom touching the corresponding minutes as it moves across. The boom then swings back to zero after reaching the 60 minute mark.
As for the hour counter, this is displayed through a double-disc jumping hour display, which sits nicely at the centre of the dial.
This is meant to mimic similar movement that would be seen on a sailing boat when using the turning manoeuvre. You will also notice the nanowires, which are a miniscule 0.0357mm in thickness, are controlled using pulleys that closely resemble those found on a sailing boat.
It contains the Ulysse Nardin calibre UN-630 movement which is composed of 469 parts, with the in-house calibre having a 48 hour power reserve and operating at 3Hz. The sapphire case at the back of the movement provides a clear view of the inner workings, which features a unique design of tow barrels – one for the time regulation and the other for the various complications.
A truly wonderful timepiece!
Patek Philippe Ref. 5930G World Time Chronograph
Patek revealed their first ever watch that features not just a world-time indicator, but a chronograph too. There are 23 world time zone in total and a 30 minute chronograph, combining two excellent and very popular complications.
This was created using an entirely new in-house calibre – the CH 28-520 HU. Measuring in at only 39.5mm with a thickness just under13mm, this is the world’s smallest and thinnest watch of its kind. Speaking of the case, it is composed of white gold and features a sapphire-crystal casing at the back of the watch.
The blue opaline dial is certainly busy thanks to it being composed of three tiers, but the blend of sliver together with the blue really helps to make the dial appear elegant despite all of its features, which includes the chronograph and world time zones . A navy-blue alligator strap matches the colour scheme of the dial and is hand-stitched with a fold over clasp.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica a Grande Sonnerie
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Hybris Mechanica à Grande Sonnerie is without a doubt one of the most complex watches that has ever been crafted, being composed of more than 1472 parts and featuring 27 complications in total.
The Hybris Mechanica à Grande Sonnerie mechanism has been crafted using sheer mastery, as evidenced by the holy-grail feature of any type of sonnerie – it produces the Westminster Chimes, the longest melody ever on a watch with a striking-mechanism.
Should that function not strike you as appealing, it can also be set to silent mode, although it would seem like a terrible waste of the exquisite craftsmanship required for such a function.
This is can be credited to the truly outstanding Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 182. A hand wound movement, it reaches a diameter of 37mm and thickness of 10.4mm and has dual wing concept that uses one gear train as the timing device and a second for the striking mechanism. The compact size of the watch is impressive given the fact there are more than 1300 parts!
The case is made from 18k white gold and is water resistant to 5 bars (50m). There is a 50 hour power reserve which is reduced to 12 hours when the watch is in Grande sonnerie mode. Of the 27 complications, there as some notable features, including:
- Westminster Carillon
- 4 crystal-gongs
- Grande sonnerie
- Petite sonnerie
- Minute repeater
- Flying tourbillon
- Perpetual and instant calendar
- Days & Retrograde days
- Months & Retrograde months
- Date & Retrograde date
- Jumping hour and minutes
The annual Baselworld show will always have watch aficionados discussing what manufacturers may have in store for them, and Rolex are undeniably on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Recent years have seen growing speculation about a new Rolex Daytona chronograph model finally getting announced, and now that wait is finally over.
While not initially popular upon its release, the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, or simply Daytona, has now reached legendary status among watch enthusiasts and collectors. First released in 1963 as a watch perfect for racing, it became an iconic timepiece used amongst motorsport professionals thanks to its incredible performance and chronograph function.
Re-launches saw it become and updated piece for the modern collector, with the 40mm wristwatch now featuring an automatic movement and sapphire glass back. These models continued to remain elusive however, as the popularity of the Daytona continued over the years.
It has been almost 16 years since the most recent steel Daytona was released, and many have been clamouring for an upgraded model to feature a new ceramic bezel since it was first featured on the Platinum Daytona anniversary edition in 2013.
Now the new Daytona comes with just that, as well as a new model number (116500LN) and is available with either a black or white dial. The calibre remains the same 4130 of the previous iteration, as does the oyster casing and bracelet. While this may not appear like much, fans of Rolex know just how big this announcement is, and these new models will certainly be hard to come by – expect some long waiting lists in any case!
Back to main feature, which is unquestionably the new ceramic cerachrom bezel with a tachymetric scale. This type of bezel isn’t anything new to several watch models, but will be a first for the steel Daytona range and will prove to be massively popular.
For one it is incredibly durable, with the ceramic used being virtually scratch-proof and resistant to UV damage. The digits for the bezel are embedded with a platinum coating to help ensure their longevity too, ensuring that the aesthetics of this new Daytona will remain spotless and damage-free for life.
The black dial models will feature the same silver sub dials around the chronograph dials as previous models, whereas the white dial features black dials instead. Both help to create that beautiful dial-design that has become a hallmark for the Daytona. Other than that, the dials remain almost unchanged from their predecessors, which certainly isn’t an issue given how popular the Daytona has been.
As the oyster case remains, there isn’t much to note about the case. It features the same robustness as the previous models, with the case being constructed from 904L stainless steel. The bracelet is unchanged too, consisting of the oyster design from previous steel Daytona’s, including satined external links and polished central links. An Oysterlock clasp is present for fastening, which also has an easylink extender for adjustments.
As the bezel holds the crystal in place, the model is again water resistant to a depth of 100 metres.
The Daytona still has the 4139 calibre of the previous models. This self-winding movement has been made entirely in-house by Rolex and provides power reserves for up to 72 hours. What has changed in regards to this is how Rolex tests this calibre.
Since 2015 Rolex unveiled a new Superlative Chronometer certification, which happened to be more of an upgrade of the COSC certification rather than just replacing it. These tests are done entirely in-house by Rolex and are done using strict criteria (which happen to be stricter than most others too) to help ensure it performs to the highest possible standards.
This results in the new Daytona being in the order of -2/+2 seconds per day, which is incredible for a chronometer and just goes to show the high level of craftsmanship that has gone into the latest Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona.
These are guaranteed to sell fast, and with a price of £8,250 (€11,300), there’s no telling just how long they will be available for – although no release date has been announce yet!