BASELWORLD 2012 - ROUND UP
Last week we escaped London, slipped on our sharpest suits and headed to Switzerland for the 40th Edition of BASELWORLD.
This annual trade show has developed a global reputation as the place to see the biggest and best watch and jewellery brands from around the world. Taking place over 8 days in March at a collection of exhibition venues in the centre of Basel, the horological press, buyers and designers descend on the town to see the latest innovations and wrist watch releases from the very best in the industry. Of course, we wouldn’t want you to miss out, so here’s a little of what we saw.
HISTORY LESSON -
The first watch and jewellery show in Basel dates back to 1917 when it formed part of a larger fair known as the ‘Schweizer Musternesse Basel’ or MUBA. Over the years, the watch and jewellery section of the show grew and eventually became a standalone show. The BASELWORLD brand came about in 2003, when the show adopted a more international following and positioned itself as the world’s leading destination for brands from around the world to showcase their products.
As per usual, a visit to some of the industry heavyweights’ multi-story stands in the Main Hall was in order, so we dropped in to a few of our favourites to check out the latest going-ons in with the likes of Rolex, Patek Philip, NOMOS, Bell&Ross and Zenith.
This year’s BASELWORLD was bigger than ever – hosting 1,892 exhibitors from 45 countries, 104,300 visitors from 100 countries and 3,320 journalists from 70 countries -all housed within 160,000 sq m of exhibition space.
Here’s a run down of our individual favourites from the show and why they stood out for us -
Bell&Ross’ Vintage WW1 Heure Sautante in Pink Gold “I’ve chosen the latest edition to Bell&Ross’ classic WW1 range. This Vintage WW1 Heure Sautante is smaller than the other offerings in their WW1 range, measuring 40mm instead of the usually 45mm making it a far more wearable piece available in either Pink Gold or Platinum complications”
Bell&Ross’ Vintage WW1 Heure Sautante in Platinum “The elegance and legibility of these watches make for a classic and timeless watch that differs from the sometimes over complication of the modern wristwatch. The dials of the two pieces were kept sleek and minimal with Blue hand detailing and little typography used on the Rose Gold complication, just having slim batons to distinguish the minutes. Whereas the Platinum complication had a smaller dial set in a larger grey face with typography rather than batons used. The paired down approach to the styling and the use of the unusual complication that displays the hours in a rotating disc, similar to the date setting on a traditional wrist watch make this watch a hit in the office”
BASELWORLD PICK - OLIVER
MB+F Legacy Machine 1 “My choice has to be The Legacy Machine 1 which I first read about on Hodinkee (a watch blog) when it was launched in October 2011. The piece is a modern reinterpretation of traditional 19th century statement pocket watches and features an incredibly elegant domed sapphire crystal lens that meets the dial allowing an uninterrupted view into the unique MB+F 3-D movement”
“The genius of the movement is that appears to be hanging in mid-air between the two dial complication which allows you to set two separate timezones on the dials different timezones whilst being controlled by the same regulator. Another interesting element to the piece is that it features the world’s first vertical power reserve. The craftsmanship that goes into each MB+F watch is exquisite, and even though their concepts an design execution are very avante garde and slightly ostentatious at this level of watch making this is what it’s all about. A standout brand”
BASELWORLD PICK - KATE
“My selection is a touch more classic from manufacturer Glasshutte’s, the Senator Observer Limited Edition 1911 – Julius Assmann. This limited edition watch is (unfortunately) one of only 25 pieces that Glasshutte made and features polished and blued stainless steel hands with black Arabic numerals surrounded by a round white gold case”
“The dial itself is kept classic to reflect the overall theme of the watch featuring two smaller dials to display the seconds and the power reserve, both the with blued stainless steel hands. Overall a beautiful example of a classic men’s wristwatch, this type piece is something that I’d really enjoy wearing”
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Zenith’s El Primero Chronomaster 1969 one of two new Zenith Chronographs for 2012. The El Primero Chronomaster 1969 features a Zenith first with a partially cut-away dial, which required the re-working of the movements escapement to sit at 10 o’clock. The timepiece takes inspiration from the brands rich heritage, keeping the colour choice similar to those in 1969, whilst embracing some contemporary details. Through this cut-away the viewer can look down into the newly developed El Primero Calibre 4061 which beats at an impressive 36,000 vibrations per hour. Overall both a technically brilliant and ecstatically pleasing timepiece.
NOMOS Zurich Collection – Braungold and Blaugold
One of our favourite new releases from BASELWORLD 2012 was the two new additions to NOMOS’ Zurich Collection, the Zurich Blaugold and Braungold.
The Sunray decoration on the dial is perfectly offset with the second dial on both the Blue-gold and Brown-Gold . The timeless styling and detailing of this watch with the easily legible dial with faceted hands and batons. The rich gold tinted Blaugold and Braungold dials are paired with a classic stainless steel case to create a modern take on a classic gentleman’s dress watch. All around a good example of NOMOS’s timeless styling and classic design ethos.
With so many brands exhibiting, it was a feast for the eyes to stroll through the halls and see the tremendous variety of designs on show. This meant a lot of walking, so a sneaky trip to the Hublot Lounge provided us with a much needed respite from the show!
Whilst looking around Hall 1 there were some individuals spotted strolling with these slender packages from HERMES which, when enquired about at said brands stand were strictly for their top clientele. Rumour around the show was that HERMES has produced a limited run of HERMES whips using their fantastic leather. This meant certain members of the UW team (nameless) were double eager to obtain one.
The horological Superbrands didn’t just stick to showcasing there most intricate and innovative watches inside the halls, many went the extra mile with with the obligatory branded super cars ferrying VIP’s between venues. Veyrons, Enzos, Quattroportes and Gallardos all spotted doing the rounds on he streets of Basel. So after a hard couple of days exploring and researching the offerings of BASELWORLD 2012, meetings done a dusted it was off for our office dinner engagement and a curious introduction into the culinary delight which is Swiss cuisine… red wine ice-cream anyone?