This year’s Baselworld exhibition was a little different from its predecessors, with fewer than half the usual exhibitors showing up for the event, which was cut from eight to six days. Still, with 600 brands on show, it was a veritable feast for the horological eyes and it certainly didn’t stop the big names pulling out some showstoppers.
As ever, David Duggan attended the event and found the paired-back tone thoroughly enjoyable, describing it as ‘a bit more leisurely’. One to Watch spoke to the man himself to find out what caught his eye at this year’s event.
Rolex and Tudor surprised everyone by each releasing a new GMT-Master in arguably one of their most popular versions: the iconic red and blue Cerachrom ‘Pepsi’ bezel. Rolex’s offering – a GMT-Master II Pepsi bezel in steel with a jubilee bracelet – is absolutely stunning and I suspect the bracelet strap will make it quite popular with women. It affectionately evokes the GMT-Master’s original 1955 model, but is the first time Rolex have married up the Pepsi bezel, steel and jubilee bracelet.
The Tudor GMTs are just lovely. They have the in-house Tudor movement, 70-hour power reserve, are COSC certified and have the silicone escapement, GMT function and stainless steel bracelet, all for less than £3,000. I always say it, but Tudors offer the most incredible value for money. Not surprising then, that we’ve already got a massive waiting list for this timepiece.
Everyone was talking about Patek Philippe’s new stainless steel Aquanaut Chronometer with the orange strap. It’s very racy for a Patek and it definitely divided opinion among our team. Personally, I love it and think it will make a great summer watch. Patek has created a version with a black strap that incorporates the orange accents on the dial as well. All in all, this new model has a younger, trendier feel, while retaining that classic Aquanaut look.
Patek also released a new version of the ref. 5270 – the 5270P – this time in platinum (one of Patek’s more exclusive, prized metals) and with its iconic salmon dial. Originally launched in white gold in 2011 and then rose gold in 2015, this watch had not attracted the attention of die-hard Patek fans as much as the brand would have liked, so I think this release in platinum with a salmon dial is an attempt to rekindle admiration for what is an excellent perpetual calendar. I think its inclusion on this reference has worked a treat.
Courtesy of Baselworld
My third Patek pick is the much-anticipated Nautilus Perpetual Calendar 5740G. Although the Nautilus has featured annual calendars and chronographs in the past, this is actually the first time it’s come with one of Patek’s signature grande complication movements – the outstanding calibre 240 Q, which has powered Patek’s perpetual calendars for years. Currently only available in 18ct white gold, the timepiece still retains that classic porthole design but now sports a light blue dial that was first created for the 40th anniversary model. I spoke to some enthusiasts who were worried that they were going to bump the size up, but they’ve gone for the 40mm. Consequently, this has a super sleek look for a complicated sports watch and it sits beautifully on the wrist.
Rose gold continues to be a popular choice for many of the manufactures, with no less than seven of Patek Philippe’s 13 new timepieces made in the precious metal. We particularly liked the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse in rose gold as well as the diamond-bezelled ref. 7150/250R-001 Chronograph, featuring its first grand complication in a women’s watch. Patek has always been a bit of leader when it comes to complicated women’s watches and this is a beauty.
Meanwhile, Rolex also released a GMT in Everose Rolesor – Rolex’s signature alloy – which combines gold and steel for lustre and strength. The black dial really shows off the pink hues to full effect. Rolex also unveiled its Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, in 18ct Everose gold and adorned with gemstones, including 36 baguette-cut sapphires in rainbow hues around the bezel. This one is more of an acquired taste, I think, but fun.
Tudor also got in on the act with the release of the gender-neutral 1926 collection, many of which feature rose gold accents. They come in a range of sizes and have a more delicate look to them than your more typical rugged Tudor timepiece.
If pink isn’t your thing, then there were also plenty of champagne and chocolatey hues on show. Rolex’s non-Pepsi-bezelled GMT-Master features a graduated black and fudge-brown bezel. The Chopard Quattro L.U.C features a sneaky chocolate crocodile interior strap, while Tudor released an unusual Tudor Black Bay SG Champagne Dial.
Courtesy of Baselworld 2018
I’ve already mentioned Patek Philippe’s lovely Nautilus Perpetual Calendar 5740G with its electric blue dial, but the other notable mention should go to Rolex, which has released a DeepSea with a blue gradient background and the model name picked out in green. The brand also unveiled its Datejust 31 in 18ct yellow gold with Oyster bracelet and bright green retro dial. This won’t be to everyone’s taste but it’s definitely a statement piece.