Welcome to Baselworld 2019, one of the biggest watch events of the year. Held annually in Basel, Switzerland, Baselworld is set across several days, where luxury watchmakers release their latest and greatest. Amongst the swarm of lunacy there’s usually a fair amount of watches that bring the horological world to a stand-still.
Breitling Super Ocean Collection
Lots of cool new pieces were added to Breitling’s Super Ocean Collection, expanding on what was already a very approachable line-up of watches. I particularly love the Superocean in black titanium and blue dial, as well as the Superocean in black steel, black dial and with that robust black rubber strap. The rest of the collection is very impressive and is a clear nod to the intention of Breitling in this current market: Quantity and quality.
Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition
Created to celebrate the partnership between Breitling and Norton Motorcycles, the Premier Norton Edition is a brilliant timepiece based on the revised look of the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42. Blacks and creams and golds adorn the dial, while the raw leather strap is just choice. Accompanying the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition is the Norton Commando 961 Café Racer MKII Breitling Limited Edition, which is almost as cool as the watch. Almost!
Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition
Breitling has “re-issued” one of their most iconic timepieces of all time, the Navitimer 1959. This beautiful re-edition is absolutely fantastic, and does the original the justice it rightfully deserves. I’m not a fan of vintage-inspired watches, but Breitling’s rendition of this iconic watch is sublime. Old and new, can you tell the difference between the two?
Patek Philippe 5235R Annual Calendar Regulator
I’ve long admired Patek’s unconventional Annual Calendar Regulator, and now it comes in a refreshed look with a rose-gold case and a graphite and ebony black dial It’s a very beautiful watch that verges on the edge of being quirky, and it’s one that I truly feel is one of Patek’s unsung heroes. Love the new variation. Black and gold just seems to work. And that movement?! What a watch!
Patek Philippe 5172G Chronograph
It’s easy enough to know when you like something or not. And this is something that I don’t really like. Hailed as Patek’s newest heavy-hitting dress-piece chronograph, the 5172G misses the mark for me. I don’t like the hour numeral font. I don’t like the what looks like to be protruding lugs. And I don’t like the blue dial. Move quick to get your hands on the 5170, because this certainly didn’t do it for me.
Patek Philippe 5078G Minute Repeater
Now this, this is something I can definitely work with. White gold case. Black enamel arabesque-patterned dial. A work of art under the hood. This is what I want to see more of from Patek. The 5078G is a limited production, price-upon-request type of watch, and so it should be. Definitely one of the highlights of the show so far.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5168G
I smell another hypebeast. Set to take the world by storm over the coming months, Patek’s Aquanaut 5168G will leave those who missed out on it green with envy. Not so much because of how cool or awesome it is. No, rather the lost profits that will certainly be had on its resale in the “grey” market. Can’t wait to see this flood my Instagram feed…
Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar
An oddball, and one that sits well within the weirdness of the 5235R, the 5212A definitely takes some getting used to. But once you do, then you’re easily going to see its appeal. Highly informative, super wearable and a nod to watchmaking from yesteryear, the 5212A is a gorgeous bit of vintage inspiration that I unexpectedly really like.
Patek Philippe 7118 Nautilus
Patek have been knocking on a few different doors this show, and the 7118 is another nod to their direction of market penetration. Or should I say saturation? Nevertheless, the 7118 gives the female collector an opportunity to purchase one of the coolest, most sought after watches right now. Clad entirely in rose-gold and featuring either an opaline or a rose-gold dial, the 7118 is seriously gorgeous.
Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520P
I’ve never agreed with Patek’s aviation-inspired Travel Time collection. It looks like the designers over at IWC, Breitling, Chopard and Montblanc decided to spend one drunken night together, mashing up all their ideas into one “uber” watch. The result is one misplaced, directionless, odd looking watch with no substance. This is a far cry from Patek’s other releases at this show.
TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph Collection
The removal of the chronograph from TAG’s Autavia could spell trouble for the watch’s popularity, especially so amongst the circle of the purists. But this is not a “watch-fail”, but any stretch of the imagination. It’s the kind of watch you learn to enjoy and appreciate. There’s lots of appeal there, and with a huge number of variations, I’m sure you’ll find one that you enjoy. Not great, but not at all bad.
Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon GMT
Wow. Just, wow. Greubel Forsey have combined two of their most incredible Inventions with a new look dual timezone watch. Aside from Patek Philippe’s 5078G, the Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon GMT could very well steal the show. Details everywhere, the Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon GMT is complex and beautiful, a stunning display of modern haute horlogerie.
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603
Uh-oh, I can already hear the watch community going crazy over this. In a good way, and in a bad way. Some will say that this watch is an abomination. Just another two-tone watch from Rolex to appease the masses. And others will say it looks nice, is in keeping with the Sea-Dweller’s robust look. But with a touch of luxury. To be honest with you, I don’t mind it. But I much prefer the Anniversary Edition
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 BLNR
I know many, many people who are going to be absolutely smitten over the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 BLNR. Batman is still in. And jubilee bracelets definitely have not gone anywhere. Combine the two, and lo-and-behold you have Rolex’s latest hypebeast. You even thinking about getting one? Get it. I have no hesitation in saying that this is a very smart move from Rolex. And a job well done, too.
Rolex GMT-Master II 126719 BLRO
Another GMT-Master addition, this time with a meteorite dial and white gold case with Pepsi Bezel, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126719 BLRO is sort of like a reinvention of everything that makes the GMT-Master II such an enjoyable timepiece. The Rolex GMT-Master II 126719 BLRO combines the quintessential luxe feel of a white-gold case with the unique look of a meteorite dial. Coupled with the stand versatile look of a Rolex, the GMT-Master II 126719 BLRO stands as a very appealing watch. (Image courtesy of @hodinkee)
Rolex Yacht-Master 42
Yes, yes and more yes. The Yacht-Master 42 is now available in a white-gold case with a black ceramic bezel and a black Oysterflex rubber strap. This is a superb watch, highly wearable, albeit less rugged than you’d expect in a watch looking as macho as the Yacht-Master 42. Regardless, this is still a very interesting expansion from Rolex, but it’s one that ticks all the right boxes for me.
Tudor Black Bay P01
An interesting look renders Tudor’s Black Bay P01 a bit of a polarising watch. Inspired by a mid-century prototype, the Black Bay P01 has an interesting look that can rightfully be called ugly. The weird lug-to-case system is making me squint to find its justification, and on a whole I think the Black Bay P01 needs to be seen in the physical before any judgement can be made on it. That’s not always a good thing, mind you.
Tudor Back Bay Chronograph Steel and Gold
Looking more like a cheaply-made Rolex Daytona knock-off than anything else, the Tudor Back Bay Chronograph Steel and Gold is not going to be one for the ages. Stainless-steel, gold, black, red, cream and white. Too much is going on. Don’t like it. At all.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic
Bulgari unveiled the world’s thinnest chronograph, and with a movement of only 3.3mm in thickness and an overall case thickness of only 6.9mm, this is going to be a tough one to beat. Sandblasted titanium, one of Bulgari’s trademark case finishings, adorns the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic’s exterior, and the movement features some pretty impressive finishing techniques, too.
Zenith Defy Inventor
Zenith have been on the up and up lately, and with that comes the latest release from the Defy Lab, the Defy Inventor. Featuring an oscillator system that entirely replaces the conventional balance, balance spring and level, the Defy Inventor’s 15Hz calibre is a nod to the future direction of this famed watchmaker. The aesthetics are still bold and loud, but the focus here is on its movement. Can’t wait to see what else the Defy Lab produces in the coming years.
Zenith El Primero A386 Revival
Also released is a trio of Zenith timepieces, made to celebrate the El Primero’s 50th anniversary. Available in either white, rose or yellow gold, the El Primero A386 Revival is a beautiful re-invention of one of watchmaking’s idols. Each piece is gorgeously put together and features obvious design cues from the original El Primero. Great stuff.
Bell & Ross BR03-MA1
Drawing inspiration from the classic MA1 military jacket, the BR03-MA1 features orange superluminova indices and a dark khaki theme, all paying tribute to the infamous colour palette of this bomber-style jacket. A cool watch from a very cool brand.
GyroGraff Endangered Species
Not something you’d be accustomed to seeing every day, the GyroGraff Endangered Species is as different as it is rare. Taking over 200-hours to make, the GyroGraff Endangered Species features a diamond marquetrie in the form of an animal as well as a double axis tourbillon and a moonphase complication. Walking the walk. Talking the talk.
Panerai Submersible Bronze PAM00968
The beloved Bronzo is back, and this time it’s a standard manufacture piece. Meaning no limited-edition status. Meaning, yes, you can have one, too! This is just such a typical Panerai, and it’s one that I absolutely love. Adore the golds and the browns, infatuated by its iconic case, the Panerai Submersible Bronze PAM00968 is everything you’d want in your Panerai, and more.