BREITLING’S NAVITIMER 8March 21, 2018
Modern luxuryMarch 27, 2018
A RETROSPECTIVE LOOK AT THE LAST FIVE YEARS OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST WATCH FAIR
For over a 100 years Baselworld has stood as the stage for the world’s biggest and brightest watch brands. Ever since the first Schweizer Mustermesse Basel (MUBA) event took place on 15 April 1917, the watch fair has continuously drawn in crowds of watch enthusiasts and the world’s best watchmakers.
Dubbed as the world’s biggest watch and jewellery showcase, Baselworld is an integral part of the watchmaking industry. The true importance of Baselworld however is that it is not just a trade show but also a platform for watchmakers to unveil and showcase their ingenuity. This year was no different. As the show came to a close on March 27, we saw game-changing smartwatches alongside vintage-inspired timepieces and a growing love for green faces.
Baselworld often sets the tone and tempo for the watch industry, and in the last five years alone, it has served up some exciting trends that have continued to make an impact in the world of watchmaking till this very day.
The colour blue has been featured extensively in timepieces in the last several years and no surprise too as it’s often the colour associate with royalty, power and wealth. But in 2013, the colour made a splash in a big way at Baselworld. The world’s biggest watch brands embraced blue and made it the colour of 2013 especially with reveals that included the Omega Aqua Terra Automatic Co-Axial Day Date and a blue-dialled version of Zenith’s El Primero Stratos Flyback Watch. Glashütte Original produced blue variants of the Senator Sixties as Tudor looked back in time to deliver the Heritage Chrono Blue, which was based on a 1973 vintage model
The British Ministry of Defence utilised these sturdy woven-nylon straps in the late 1960s to equip its military watches. Although the creation of these straps was rooted in functionality, watchmakers also saw an opportunity to utilise these NATO Straps, oftentimes referred to as G-10 strap, to add a new dimension to their timepieces. In 2014, high-end watch brands embraced these robust and practical straps to give some of their models added appeal. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe sported a triple-loop NATO strap, whilst Omega and Tudor offered NATO Strap versions of the Apollo 11 Moonwatch Speedmaster and Heritage Ranger respectively.
Modern replicas and retro-styling was one of the main focus points for watch brands at Baselworld 2015. Although technology and connectivity was becoming a stronger theme, brands and collectors also showed a strong affinity towards nostalgia and simple and effective timepieces. Proof of that came in the form of the Conquest Classic Moonphase by Longines, which drew on the brand’s elegant and classic Conquest watch line. Clean lines and slim cases and clear aesthetics also shined through in examples such as the Zenith El Primero Chronograph Classic as well as TAG Heuer’s Carrera Calibre 6 that year.
The smartwatch and wearable tech fad resulted in several luxury brands jumping on the technology bandwagon to produce connected timepieces. The TAG Heuer Connected helped paved the way for the luxury smartwatches with Montblanc offering a compromise in the form of the E-Strap, which merged mechanical timepieces with highly useful digital functionalities. In 2016, watchmakers continued to merge luxury with technology as Breitling launched its Exospace B55 and Frédérique Constant revealed a new iteration of its Horological Smartwatch. Tissot also welcomed the Smart-Touch, a new enhanced edition to its T-Touch line.
The beauty of a timepiece lies in its movement, and nothing can showcase that more perfectly than a skeleton watch. Baselworld last year saw brands and enthusiasts reaffirm their admiration for the mechanical watch with several brands unveiling models with visible mechanisms. The Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Skeleton and Breguet’s Tradition Dame 7038 were true standout pieces from the show. Both managed to mesh together great classic design with the architectural beauty of a complex movement. Bell & Ross also drew attention for its BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor, a provocative timepiece, which showcased its conspicuous mechanical movements in distinctive style.