The report card from the recently concluded Baselworld watch fair is pointing to a watch industry on the rebound. There are more women’s offerings, a good mix of innovative designs, and just seriously beautiful pieces that would make you want to shop. Here, we highlight a few of the standouts that are already on our radar.
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The Cult Hit: GMT-Master II by Rolex Nicknamed the Rolex Pepsi for obvious reasons, the GMT-II with the red and blue bezel — a hallmark of the of GMTs from the ’50s — of the GMT-II was the breakout star of Baselworld 2015 when it appeared in white gold. Flash forward three years later, and Rolex has obviously spent the time to build on the success of that design, with this particular update. For one, it now comes in a more accessible steel case branded by Rolex as Oystersteel, a retro-cool five-link bracelet design called the “jubilee bracelet”, and a new movement that ups the power reserve to 70 hours.
The Collector’s Edition: J12 Untitled by Chanel In the J12’s 18-year-long history, Chanel’s flagship high-tech ceramic watch model has undergone quite a few facelifts and limited edition designs. The line’s latest update builds up its must-have cachet. Called the J12 Untitled (because that’s how most artworks are named, get it?), this set of 12 unique automatic models features large Picasso-like numerals on the dial. That abstract design is achieved by in-laying ceramic pieces by hand through a process called marquetry.
The Jewellery Watch: Serpenti Tubogas by Bvlgari Trivia: The Italian brand created three-toned gold Serpentis back in the ’60s as a glamorous way to don watches. So it’s about time that it reboots the tricoloured gold design featuring white, yellow and rose gold for a three-coil bracelet model. It also comes as a bold fashion statement sans the retro quality — thanks to the updated sleek and organic lines of the watch now.
The Millennial Watch: Tetra Petit Four by Nomos Glashutte We’re using the term “millennial” here to refer to the hip pastel colours often favoured by the Gen Y crowd. And it’s also apt to use that term because of the hipster quotient of this indie German horology brand which has a cult following among younger watch owners. The Art-Deco-tinged Tetra models are now dressed up in saccharine sweet pastels which the brand calls matcha green, azure blue, grenadine red, and pink. The pink and red models let you view the mechanism on the case back, while the green and blue watches allow you to personalise engravings on the stainless steel backs.
The Heritage Piece: Golden Ellipse by Patek Philippe If you think the proportion and design of this automatic timepiece is stunning, its inspiration — the Golden Ratio — has something to do with it. To mark the 50th anniversary of this classic, the brand has released a 100-piece edition which features a black enamel dial with a filigree motif that is hand-engraved on white gold plant.
The Hot Tie-Up: Monaco Bamford by Tag Heuer Watch aficionados would know Bamford Watch Department as the go-to watch customisation company, creating statement-making one-of-a-kind personalised piece. What’s ground-breaking here is that instead of personal clients seeking BWD for its expertise, it’s a big company like Tag Heuer itself whose approaching it, and choosing such an iconic model like the Monaco to work on. Though technically, this is not the first time the Swiss watch company is teaming up with the folks at Bamford. Last year, Tag Heuer’s customers were given an option to customise their timepieces with Bamford. The verdict for this collaborative piece? A solid 10. The smoky-grey carbon case and the aqua blue colours of the chronograph subdial counters, minute track and date against a black dial make this watch one joyful piece to own.
The Green Movement: True Thinline Quartz Nature by Rado If being green is fashionable, then could this forest green timepiece could just be a trendsetter. It’s made of green high-tech ceramic, measures a mere 5mm thick, and features a dial that resembles a leaf pressing. The latter is in fact, a green mother-of-pearl which has leaf veins printed on its underside. Here’s looking at you nature lovers. Like this? Get to know the finalists of the Project M model search, the tulle pieces made for everyday wear, and how low should your neckline go this season?