Best Watches Baselworld 2016

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featured image for baselworld 2016 article

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

Hublot Big Bang White 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

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

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 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 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
  • Silence
  • Minute repeater
  • Flying tourbillon
  • Perpetual and instant calendar
  • Days & Retrograde days
  • Months & Retrograde months
  • Date & Retrograde date
  • Jumping hour and minutes

James Bond Watches

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5 James Bond Actors

James Bond movies are notorious for their strong association with stylish luxury watches brands as Omega and Rolex. Basically, every 007 film ever made had as guest star a famous designer timepiece that has intrigued the audience. Of course, these collaborations have been fructuous both for the world’s favorite spy and for the watchmakers. Bond benefited from the distinction and class of the timepieces while the watch brands got to be promoted by one of the most famous movie characters known to men.

Needless to say, the value of the models that appear in 007 films is significantly higher than the one of the watches that didn’t. For instance, when “Goldfinger” turned 50 years from its debut the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra that showcased in this movie was sold at an auction for eight times more than its regular price. Surprisingly enough, the thing that intrigues fans more about the Bond saga is what the next 007 watch will be. The chosen brand is no longer a surprise since Omega has signed in 1995 a franchise with the spy series, but the model is always a reason for anticipation and excitement. Now this luxury watch company is synonymous with 007’s adventurous spirit, but things were different at the beginning. James Bond has sported many important designer names on his wrist, watches that to this day remain iconic for their spy legacy.

James Bond Dr No Submariner

Dr. No Submariner

The original James Bond watch was Rolex. In 1962 when “Dr No” was ruling the box office worldwide, everything watch enthusiasts were talking about was the Rolex Submariner spotted on Sean Connery’s wrist in some of the most thrilling scenes. What better match than the world’s first diving timepiece and the adventurous story of 007? Sean Connery starred in 7 James Bond movies and he was faithful to his Rolex Submariner. The association was so powerful that some collectors still consider the watch as the quintessential James Bond timepiece. The reason why Rolex appeared in a total of 9 Bond films is that the author Ian Fleming was convinced that this was the most representative brand for his spy character. As a matter of fact, he wore his favorite Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer on the set of the first three 007 movies.

Live and Let Die Submariner

Live and Let Die Submariner

Between 1962 and 1989, Sean Connery, Peter Sellers, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig were the famous actors that played the legendary James Bond. And almost every single one of them wore a Rolex on his wrist. Of course, there were a couple of exceptions like a few high-tech models and some Tag Heuer and Breitling pieces, but in everyone’s mind the iconic 007 watch is the Rolex Submariner. One other notable Rolex model that appeared in the Bond saga is the Rolex GMT Master sported by Pussy Galore in “Goldfinger”. Unlike Omega, Rolex has never tried to promote its products by using the Bond name. The brand didn’t pay for product placement or offered free watches to the actors.

Goldfinger Pussy Galore GMT Master

Goldfinger GMT Master

The quartz era left a strong mark on James Bond movies as well. The attention switched from luxury automatic models to fashionable technical novelties like the glowing red Pulsar watch, digital Seikos and the Seiko Liquid Crystal TV watch that was spotted in “Octopussy”.

Octopussy Seiko

Octopussy Seiko T001-5019

One of the most notable quartz models worn in his early adventures is the Seiko 0674, an LCD Quartz digital watch that at that time was pretty innovative. Its modern design was a match for Bond’s style. This timepiece was worn by Roger Moore in the 1977 movie: “The spy who loved me”. The novelty of the model was that its LCD screen was able to display messages sent to 007 from the MI6 Headquarters. Back then this was considered a futuristic element, something that a spy like James Bond would wear. And this is exactly what he does. He proudly wears the watch on his wrist for the entire movie, from the first scene to the very last one.

Like all Seiko watches, the 0674 model is considerably rare. Also, Seiko didn’t make any variations of this timepiece. The brand produced just this version as a tribute to the favorable collaboration with 007. Its design is pretty unique. The rectangular shaped dial displays the days of the week, the hour, the AM/PM feature and seconds. Below the dial there are two small push buttons that are used to set the time, calendar, the light intensity and mode.

In 1981, the twelfth James Bond movie called “For your eyes only” debuted. The Seiko 0674 appeared in this movie again. This time, it was worn by a crew member of the St George spy ship. The character who sported this digital watch was the man who takes over the control of the A.T.A.C. before the ship is hit by the mine. In the movie, he fails to pull the self-destruct handle, but his watch choice is a success that will echo for decades. The Seiko 0674 appears on the screen for a couple of moment when its wearer handcuffs himself to the machine.

The Spy Who Loved Me Seiko

The Spy Who Loved Me Seiko

Seiko M354 Memory Bank Calendar that was worn in the 1979 “Moonraker” movie. In the film, this liquid crystal display model is fitted with explosives and a remote detonator; thus helping 007 to escape from the “Moonraker” launch platform. Many Bond fans and watches enthusiasts are very attached to this timepiece that nowadays is considered a collectible and is auctioned at incredibly high prices.

Like all the Seiko models that appear in Bond movies, the M354 is very rare. It is not the type of watch you can buy online or in stores. Collectors showcase it at special events and from time to time one of these remarkable devices is being sold at a private auction.

Roger Moore is the 007 actor that wore this vintage silver case and steel bracelet Seiko model in “Moonraker”. The complete reference number of the watch is M354-5019, but Seiko has also produced a M354-5010 that looks just the same, but has a few technical differences. Usually, people confuse these two, but for a true fan the one and only “Moonraker” watch is the M354-5019.

Seiko has developed and created M354 as a highly innovative watch able to impress its wearer with its functionality. This digital masterpiece displays on its rectangular LCD dial hours, minutes, seconds, months, day and date. There is the option of displaying the hours in a 12 or 24 hour format. The watch is also called Memory Bank Calendar because its complex mechanism is able to display the full calendar for any given month, between January 1930 and December 2009. Furthermore, within a 12 months period, this water resistant timepiece can be programmed to memorize as many important dates as its wearer desires.

The Seiko M354 watch was first produced in 1978 and when it made its big debut, the brand printed out an advertisement that presented the model as “the first LC digital quartz memory bank calendar”. Back then, the watch was priced between $225 and $275.

Moonraker Seiko Watch

Moonraker Seiko Watch

“License to kill” is one of the most successful 007 movies, a classic film signed by Eon Productions which had its big premiere in 1989. This time, Timothy Dalton was the one that played James Bond and his appearance remains unforgettable for watches enthusiasts due to the fact that he was the last 007 actor to wear a Rolex Submariner, a watch that is seen as the quintessential Bond timepiece.

Until now, Rolex Submariner is the watch model that has starred in the most James Bond movies. Its story with the famous MI6 spy started in 1962 when Sean Connery wore it in “Dr No” and it ended with “License to kill”. The timepiece was perfect for reflecting the style and personality of the adventurous 007, the perfect gentleman agent whom was always wearing a sleek suit and an expensive watch.

The movie “License to kill” was the second time actor Timothy Dalton played James Bond and what better way to mark this occasion than wearing a Rolex 16610, a timeless design that will forever be known as the last Rolex 007 watch? Due to this connection, now the model is a collectible item and the brand has even produced an updated version of the watch to perpetuate its impressive legacy as a watch that breaks all barriers, even the ones of time.

License to Kill Submariner

License to Kill Submariner

To become the official James Bond watch, Omega had to win a bid in 1995. Because many fans were very reluctant about this collaboration, Omega had to emphasize its heritage with the British military and Royal Navy Divers. The goal of the brand was to establish its image as the one of a daring watch with a long and adventurous history.

GoldenEye Omega Seamaster

GoldenEye Omega Seamaster

The first Bond actor that wore an Omega Seamaster Professional 300 m on his wrist was Pierce Brosnan in “GoldenEye”. This model was equipped with a remote control that was able to detonate devices and a laser beam. Daniel Craig was the first 007 actor that changed this high tech approach for Bond watches by being firm about promoting a more sophisticated and fit Bond that needs just a stylish watch and suit to be glamorous on his criminal fighting adventures. He wears two Omega watches in “Casino Royale”. One is the 45.5 mm Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial chronometer and the other one is a blue Omega Seamaster 300 m chronometer.

Tomorrow Never Dies Omega

Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is not Enough & Die Another Day Omega

Now, Omega and James Bond reached their 17th year of partnership and the Seamaster Planet Ocean was the staple watch for their association. But with the debut of “Skyfall” things changed. The 007 image was refreshed with a Seamaster Aqua Terra Mid Size Chronometer. The elegant “teak” concept dial was preferred by Daniel Craig who is convinced that his spy character is way too sophisticated for the sporty Planet Ocean. So the producers decided to showcase two Omegas in the film. One was a special edition Planet Ocean available in a 5,007 series and the other one was Craig’s Aqua Terra.

Casino Royale Seamaster

Casino Royale Seamaster

Casino Royale Planet Ocean

Casino Royale Planet Ocean

Since the first James Bond movie, watches have played an important role in building a unique and charismatic style for 007. Rolex, Seiko, Breitling, Tag Heuer and Omega are just a few of the very famous timepieces that starred in the 24 James Bond sagas that conquered an entire world.

Omega Calibre 8611

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Omega 8611 movement picture

Omega has long been at the forefront of pioneering chronometers, having created the first wristwatch that could be categorized as a marine chronometer back in the year 1932. Before then, the only certified marine chronometers where either pocket watches or clocks that had been specially designed for ships.

Today, Omega remains one of the fines watchmaker brands in the entire world, and they still stay true to their maritime roots through various collections such as the Seamaster. These collections of luxury watches are among some of the most famous in the world and incredibly popular with various Hollywood stars, time pieces lovers as well as watch collectors.

The Seamaster Aqua Terra Annual Calendar watch model was a rather recent release in this iconic range of time measuring pieces, having first been developed in the year 2010. Now there are multiple entries into this particular section of the collection, most of which use the impressively constructed 8611 calibre, but there are also some using the slightly different 8601 calibre.

The 8611 calibre reflects the high quality of craftsmanship associated with the watch making brand Omega, along with the marine world inspired designs of the Seamaster watches collection, resulting in one of the finest movements produced in recent memory by the Swiss watch makers.

In fact, the 8611 calibre is also available for a range of select models featured in another iconic Omega collection – the Deville. The Hour Vision Annual Calendar range of this collection were first released in the year 2008 and developed for use with the 8611 calibre movement, ensuring that the mechanics that help to provide the very alluring annual calendar can be used in several time pieces collections and watch models.

Completely constructed and conceived in-house, the 8611 features the highly renowned Co-Axial escapement owned by Omega. Also known within the watch producing industry as the Daniels ‘fix’, the co-axial escapement mechanism represented a major improvement to the in-house developed calibres produced by the Biel based company. It helped the watch maker solve a major issue that appeared with previous calibre models referring to the sliding friction resulting from the escape wheel being touched by the pallet jewels.

These movements are self-winding and they feature incredibly desirable silicone balance-springs on a free sprung balance. This has helped to make the movements safe against the risk of magnetization, along with reacting better to any small shocks that might be in contact with the watch movement. This boosts the time piece’s reliability and endurance to being used in extremely harsh circumstances.

The annual calendar feature of the time piece provides automatic jumps from each month and date, making them happen in an instant, which can be pleasing on the eye when compared to dials that are slowly changing and look off-kilter. It may only be an aesthetic bonus, but collectors will definitely appreciate these subtle touches.

Winding can also be done in either direction, allowing for a quick and efficient change of time when needed, although the automatic movement should only make this a requirement when the watch hasn’t been worn for 55 hours, as this is the power reserve for this watch movement.

The calibre is visible at the back through the transparent case back, which is also marked with exclusive Geneva Waves in arabesque – an interesting aesthetic feature that is appreciated by the brand’s fans.

All in all, the Omega 8611 calibre is a high precision one, proving once again the values that the brand stands for: unbeatable reliability, high quality, appealing design and top notch comfort to the end user.

Omega Calibre 8520

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Omega SA is a Swiss watch manufacturing company with a long tradition that is synonymous with luxury and reliability. Throughout history, many of the most famous and affluent people from all over the world have donned their various watches, from James Bond to John F. Kennedy. Actually, one of the brand’s products – the Omega Speedmaster even made it to the moon during the landing of 1969.

Needless to say the Biel based brand is one of the highest regarded when it comes to watch making, and they have continued to produce some of the highest quality and most famous watches around from the year 1848, when the company was founded until present day and will probably continue to do so for many years and decades to come.

The 8520 calibre is a movement that was created as part of the 8500 range, launched back in 2007, which marked an important step in the history of this luxury watch producer, helping the company position itself as one of the most reliable time pieces manufacturer there is.

This particular calibre 8520 was designed for use with the Seamaster Planet Ocean Omega Co-Axil 37.5mm. Built entirely in-house, the 8520 is another example of fine craftsmanship that you can only expect from a Swiss watch making company like Omega. As the name puts it, the 8520 calibre uses (just like the 8500 series) the co-axial escapement mechanism, which represents a guarantee of technological advancement and efficiency. While the series of calibres 8500 were dubbed the first to have fully exploited the potential of the Co-Axial escapement mechanism, the 8520 takes it even further.

Picture of Omega Constellation Movement

A self-winding movement, the 8520 features a free sprung-balance system that includes a silicon balance-spring. The automatic winding can be done in either direction, allowing for prompt time settings when the occasion calls for it.

As part of the Seamaster range, the movement is water resistant to a depth of 600 metres (60 bar).  This means it can be worn when going for a short dive or a swim with no fear of damages or other unwanted consequences.

The calibre contains 28 jewels in total, including a sapphire crystal back that provides a clear view of the movement thanks to its transparency. The shock system is a nivachoc, providing high class protection for the watch, which has a rhodium plated finish and includes an exclusive Geneva Waves arabesque that greatly adds to the aesthetic appeal of the piece.

The crown of this luxury watch has 3 positions, the first of these being in the standard position, which is resting against the case of the watch, making it water resistant as well. Occasional winding can also be performed in this position should the watch be unworn for 50 hours, which is the battery reserve for this movement. This can be done by manually winding the crown when in the standard position.

The second is the correcting date, which works in correlation with the date feature of the movement. This is achieved by pulling the crown out once to its second position. Time setting is the final position for the crown, and allows the crown to be further pulled out to help set the time, which can be done so in either direction for ease.

Features include the date setting, a helium escape valve, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and the aforementioned screw-in crown. When it comes to diving watches and their movements, the 8520 and the Seamaster range are certainly up there with the best.

Omega 8500 Caliber Movement

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Omega is one of the best known watch movement brands around the world, and the launch of the 8500 series of calibres back in 2007 represented an important milestone in the history of Omega brand, helping the Biel based luxury watch producer to reposition itself in the top market range. This family of calibres is the result of half a century of research and testing projects led by Michael Bourqin’s team. The model approved by the Swiss-Lebanese entrepreneur Nicholas Hayek in 2000 stands for values like durability, sturdiness, top notch quality and high precision, bringing the Omega company to a new level on the luxury watches market.

Since the brand decided to retire the 1000 series of calibres back in the 1970s, Omega watches have been equipped with different versions of ETA calibres until the second half of the 1990s, when George Daniels’ patent for Co-Axial escapement was purchased by the Swiss watchmaker and the Omega Caliber 2500 was developed. Known within the industry as the Daniels ‘fix’, the co-axial escapement mechanism was much more than a marketing tool: it helped Omega address a major issue present with earlier calibre models, eliminating the sliding friction produced when the escape wheel touched the pallet jewels.

The in-house developed 8500 series of calibres uses the co-axial escapement mechanism, benefiting from technological benefits of the Daniels’ ‘fix’. This makes it much more advanced and efficient than the ETA-based calibres. A major achievement for the watch manufacturing brand, the 8500 Omega calibre is the first movement that fully exploits the Co-Axial escapement mechanism’s potential.

calibre 8500 Movement Omega

The movement’s size has been boosted by 13% compared to the previous 2500 calibres series in order to suit the design of the Omega Seamaster collection. The power supply comes from the two mainspring barrels coated with a special material known within the industry as DLC (Diamond-like carbon). This is an extra feature aimed at eliminating friction. Its main benefit lies in durability: only little wear signs will be noticed even after 10 years of use.

In order to completely wind the two mainsprings, you will have to perform 60 manual rotations of the crown. First, you have to wind the hand barrel that does not feature a slip clutch. You will notice a slight unwinding effect of the hand barrel, followed by a quick jump of the automatic barrel. Together they supply power to the escapement mechanism.

The 8500 calibre’s bridges are solidly built, while the design elements are stylish and luxury-oriented. Another white ball for the 8500 Omega calibre is the special design allowing easy maintenance of the movement and mechanism.  Besides, the movement presents exquisite “Cotes de Geneve en Arabesque” decorations, which add great value to the movement’s overall design.

Comparing the Omega 8500 calibre movements to the 2500 series, you will also notice the latter feature an 8 leaf meshing pinion while, the 8500 family contains 14 leaf. The 8500 versions produced after the year 2011 also come equipped with the silicon Si14 balance springs. This special type of silicon provides the springs with more stability. If you own a former version, you can have the balance springs easily upgraded.

Released back in 2007, the Omega 8500 calibre movement series has already established itself as one of the high end products within the luxury watches market. No systemic issues or malfunctioning of any kind have been reported so far. The beat rate and jamming issues reported with previous versions of the Co–Axial escapement mechanism seem to have been resolved within the current version.