Just as motor racing has ‘must visit’ races (Monaco, Le Mans, Indianapolis), the world of horology has similar, in this case, Baselworld.
If you’re a serious collector, or just feel an affinity with all things horological, this really is a ‘must-attend’ event that will rock your world – over 2,000 exhibitors showcasing their finest offerings, it’s no wonder that it attracts over 90,000 visitors each year.
Held in the City of Basel, Switzerland, Baselworld has everything from jewellery, watches and diamonds, through to tools, accessories and glamour, and as you’d imagine, most of the big brands use it as a launch platform for their latest creations.
If you’re a serious watch collector, a mild enthusiast, or just fancy looking at some shiny things, a ticket to Basel is a must.
Although Baselworld 2018 was more ‘evolution, rather than revolution’, there were some noticeable trends that were very apparent, the first being a return to classic sizing, and the other is that dive watches are back with a bang; most of the big brands had a dive watch on show.
With the classical styling, and sizing, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight encompasses both – styled on their classic Sub, it measures up at just 39mm diameter with a thickness of 11.9mm. Looking at the watch, your brain automatically assumes it’s modern sized – not quite oversize, but certainly … chunky, it’s only when you can gain a scale that you realise it’s different.
Along with classic sizes, it seems there has been a surge in classic styling also – simple but elegant faces, leather & material straps rather than bracelets, and of course, the aforementioned sizing.
The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date is one such timepiece, and it is simple but stunning.
Available in a 36mm or 40mm case size, this is classical timekeeping at its finest, you could certainly imagine Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader (CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, DL & FRAeS) strapping one of these to his wrist before climbing into his Spitfire.
The BIG Names
There were, of course, some new offerings from the big names, like the ‘Rainbow’ Rolex (aka Rolex Cosmograph Daytona) which is the Liberace of watches, especially with the sapphire & diamond set case ($96,900 without the jewels) on the Everose, or the TAG Heuer Carrera Tete de Vipere – a limited edition (just 150 pieces worldwide) made to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Heuer Carrera chronograph which uses an in-house chronograph movement, a tourbillon and blue ceramic case – it features the world’s most affordable Swiss-made tourbillon.
Despite being the ideal showcase for the higher-end prices, Baselworld also allows for the more everyday buyer to find their fix – it doesn’t have to cost tens of thousands to be special or new!
There was all manner of offerings from Seiko, Citizen, Bulova and Tissot, and although some of the prices are creeping upwards for the more specialised offerings, there are still bargains to be had – the Bulova Oceanographer 666 (water-resistant to 666 feet) is a reissue of the ‘Devil Diver’, complete with vintage Bulova logo placed squarely at 12 o’clock.
We’re big fans of Citizen, they seem to combine all the right ingredients to make watches work, and work well, with the introduction of the Titanium version of the Promaster Diver, they’ve extended their range further, and produced something that is rugged, comfortable, stylish and relatively cheap – this will definitely be a winner.
Despite there being a slight drop-off in exhibitor numbers, Baselworld is still THE place to go if you’re looking for all things relating to horology or jewellery. You can guarantee that the big brands will be attending, no doubt launching a new model or two, and of course, offering special deals for the show visitors.
Even if you’re a one-dealer person (after spending years building up that personal rapport with your favoured dealer), it’s a great place to find out what’s happening in the world of watches – have a visit, then go back to your dealer and order from there (unless the special show offers are too much of a temptation!).
Baselworld 2019 will be happening from March 21st through to the 26th, if you’d like the inside scoop, you can even follow them on Twitter – @Baselworld