In late March, Switzerland’s Messe Basel will once again be transformed into a virtual playground for watch collectors and watch brands. The most important annual event for the watch industry, Baselworld is offering 600 exhibitors a global platform to showcase their latest creations.
Like previous years, there will be no shortage of new innovations, cutting-edge designs, ideas that pushed horological boundaries and launches of highly coveted, limited-edition pieces. As the watchmaking world descends on Basel, here are some of the timepieces that you may want to keep an eye out for.
Celebrating 55 Years Of The Carrera
TAG Heuer will unveil its new Carrera Heuer 02 collection at Baselworld 2018. A fitting evolution of the Carrera, the new timepiece comes with a tachymeter bezel and a 3-6-9 counter layout – chronograph minutes and hours at 3 and 9 o’clock respectively, permanent small seconds at 6 o’clock and date window at 4.30 – punctuated with luminescent baton hands and indexes.
The watchmaker will introduce 13 contemporary variants of the 43mm timepiece in steel, carbon, ceramic and gold with a selection of metal, rubber, leather or ceramic bracelet options, plus a 45mm version with GMT function. This avant-garde chronograph, forever associated with motorcar racing, wears its DNA with sporting pride even more so as it boasts a brand new state-of-the-art engine within.
Modern, reliable and accurate, the new collection is powered by the Heuer 02 Calibre manufacture movement, developed entirely in-house by TAG Heuer. The self-winding movement, which comes with a 75-hour power reserve, can be savoured fully via the skeletonised dial.
The New Carl Brashear Tribute
Two years ago, Oris revealed its first Carl Brashear Limited Edition diver, which paid tribute to the heroic US Navy man. Brashear was the first African-American and first amputee master diver of the US Navy and his heroics was the subject of the film Men of Honor starring Oscar-winning actor, Cuba Gooding Jr.
What appealed most about the Oris Carl Brashear was its bronze vintage-inspired design and contrasting blue dial. Oris hasn’t broken the mould with this second edition, sticking with the same winning colour combo and original design with two sub-counters.
Limited to 2,000 pieces, the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition is powered by the Sellita SW-510 calibre automatic movement with a 48-hour power reserve. The case back is engraved with the silhouette of Brashear’s diver’s helmet and his world famous quote: “It’s not a sin to get knocked down, it’s a sin to stay down.”
New Navitimer from Breitling
A lot of eyes will be on Breitling at Baselworld 2018 as it’s due to launch an entirely new collection. The new Navitimer 8 will not only feature five new aviation timepieces but also signals the Swiss watchmaker charting a new course for the brand’s famous model. Under new CEO Georges Kern, Breitling has evidently gained a fresh new perspective as the new Navitimer is a stark departure from previous incarnations.
Influenced by the Breitling Huit Aviation Department, which was established in 1938 to produce cockpit instruments and pilot watches, the new collection sports a cleaner design with a perfect balance of vintage inspiration and modern functionality. The five new Breitling watches include the Navitimer 8 B01, the Navitimer 8 Unitime, the Navitimer 8 Chronograph, the Navitimer 8 Day & Date, and the Navitimer 8 Automatic all available in various combinations of colours and gold, steel and leather.
Raymond Weil Hits the Blue Notes
Raymond Weil continues to expand its line with timepieces inspired by music. Past years have seen the watch brand unveil highly-coveted collectibles inspired by The Beatles and Gibson guitars. This year at Baselworld, Raymond Weil unveils the Maestro Blues, two new watches inspired by the tuneful sounds of Blues music.
Part of Raymond Weil’s emblematic Collection Maestro, the new models are equipped with a mechanical automatic winding movement housed in a 40mm case. These timekeepers feature a captivating dark blue dial endowed with a delicate wave-like decoration. The refined contemporary hands are an elegant match for the dial’s white Roman numerals.
The Maestro Blues with the rose-gold PVD-plated case features a date aperture at 3 o’clock, while the stainless-steel version is equipped with an aperture at 12 which subtly reveals the heart of the movement. Both versions are finished perfectly with blue genuine leather straps punctuated with contrast white stitching.
Rado Sees Green
Rado is taking some cues from nature for its big 2018 reveal with a glamorous garden-inspired piece: the super-slim True Thinline collection. The Swiss watchmaker’s avant-garde approach to design and materials shines through in the Rado True Thinline Leaf, a green ceramic piece, which sports a tone-on-tone dial crafted from green mother-of-pearl complete with a delicate leaf structure printed onto its underside.
Gold-coloured indexes are metallised on the sapphire crystal appearing to float effortlessly above the 5mm dial. Fully constructed from glossy green ceramic, this flora-themed wristwatch dazzles without being flashy conveying a mood of down-to-earth luxury. In addition to its minimalist shape and profile, this green head turner offers all the same beauty and performance as Rado’s other high-tech ceramic wristwatches.
Classic Complication by Blancpain
Since the early 1980s, Blancpain’s complete calendar moon phase timepieces have been a signature offering of the brand. 2018 will see the watchmaker reveal a solid modern reinterpretation of this classic with the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT.
The design is still distinctively Blancpain with the classic arrangement of two windows for day and month and the placement of the moon phase window at six o’clock. A blue serpentine-shaped hand indicates the date on the outermost ring of the dial. To tell the time in the second time zone, an additional hour hand with a red-tipped arrow on the central axis follows the 24-hour track which forms the inner ring. The addition of a GMT function further elevates the timepiece to a high complication.
The icing on the cake for this traveller’s timepiece is its calibre 67A5, an automatic movement based on the respectable Frederic Piguet calibre 1151.