Baselworld, the annual tradeshow held in Basel, Switzerland, has just come to a close. Every year, hundreds of the world’s best watch brands descend on the huge Messe Basel convention centre to unveil their new models for the next year. There is always competition between the different brands for who can create the most visually stunning stand – the huge fishtanks on the Breitling stand have been a big pull historically! I’m going to take you through what I consider to be the most important releases of this year, whetting your appetites for the next batch of timepieces to come from Switzerland
Baselworld wouldn’t be Baselworld without the focus on Rolex’s releases – if you’re involved with any watch fora, you’ll know that the Thursday launch day is the most talked about event of the year. The big news this year is the introduction of the 40mm Day-Date, slightly smaller than the current 41mm Day-Date, with different proportions and a new dial selection. Seems a little odd to make a watch range a mere 1mm smaller, and, indeed, it’s inside the watch we have to look. This year, Rolex have unveiled their next generation movement, dubbed the cal. 3255. Designed with Rolex’s typical attention to detail, it claims it will be twice as chronometrically precise (it’ll keep better time, down to -2/+2 seconds per day from -4/+6), 15% more efficient due to a new “Chronergy” escapement, and with 30 hours additional power reserve (up to 70 hours). Solid, robust engineering is at the core of the new movement, and this new family of movements will serve Rolex for the foreseeable future. This new 40mm Day-Date will replace the current Day-Date II, and will underline its position as the flagship watch of the range.
[The Rolex Day Date 40mm shown in platinum. Click here for more details – http://www.rolex.com/watches/baselworld-2015/new-day-date-40/m228206-0004.html]
Elsewhere with Rolex comes a new Yacht-Master in 18ct Rose Gold with ceramic bezel and, for the first time ever on a Rolex, a rubber “Oysterflex” bracelet. Using a titanium alloy core, it’s designed to be as strong as a metal bracelet with the comfort of a standard rubber. This could well be the ultimate summer sports watch! It’s available in two sizes, a 40mm case and a 37mm case. The core Oyster Perpetual range has been expanded to include a 39mm size, perfect for a man’s wrist. In addition, new dials are available in all sizes of the Oyster Perpetual. At the top end, Rolex also introduced a new version of the Pearlmaster in a 39mm size, and also introduced a 28mm size Lady-Datejust in precious metals (up from the previous 26mm size).
[The Rolex Yacht-Master in 18ct Rose Gold. Click here for more information – http://www.rolex.com/watches/baselworld-2015/new-yacht-master/m116655-0001.html]
Rolex’s sister brand Tudor were also busy, and introduced an in-house movement of their own for the very first time. The launch model for this movement was the new North Flag model, an understated and industrial looking watch designed for use in extreme conditions. There’s more than a hint of the angular design language of Gerald Genta in the watch, and reminds this writer of the Rolex Oysterquartz. Not wanting to hide away their hard work, Tudor are shipping the North Flag with a display caseback. The brilliant Pelagos diving watch, about which I have written before, has also had an update. Tudor have added a blue dial, as well as a version of the new in-house movement I mentioned above. I already thought the Pelagos was one of the best value diver’s watches on the market, this new update puts it in a league of its own. Tudor have expanded their Fastrider collection as part of their partnership with Ducati, with a series of new dials inspired by Ducati’s classic scrambler bikes. New leather straps and a ceramic bezel round off the youthful look of the watch.
[The TUDOR North Flag model. Click here for more information – http://www.tudorwatch.com/]
We love Breitling here at Fraser Hart, and once again they have been pushing boundaries with the B55 Connected. Smartwatches and connected watches have been a big theme in the watch industry, and Breitling have embraced this new technology wholeheartedly. Connected to your phone via Bluetooth, the provided app allows you to control the watch, use the stopwatch function, set up countdowns and download stored flight data. It’s a seriously impressive piece of technology, and allows a greater level of interaction with your watch than has been possible from a luxury brand before. For lovers of more traditional watches, Breitling have introduced the Galactic Worldtimer Sleek T, featuring a new in-house movement offering a Worldtime complication without a chronograph for the first time. The Superocean family has also received a facelift, with a new design language for the dials.
[The Breitling B55 Connected smart watch. Click here for more information – http://www.breitling.com/en/campaigns/b55-connected/]
Omega had a busy year, with expansions to existing models and the introduction of all new pieces. The Speedmaster family has been experimenting with ceramic, and, in addition to the existing Dark Side of the Moon and Grey Side of the Moon models comes a new White Side of the Moon. There are no marks for guessing what colour ceramic Omega has chosen for this one! We think this would work really well on a lady’s wrist, again, a good summer option. A new limited edition Speedmaster Professional has been introduced to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Apollo 13. For those wondering why Snoopy is depicted on the dial, this is a nod to the Snoopy Award awarded to Omega for its role in preventing complete disaster on the ill-fated mission. For more on this, read my “Icons” blog on the Speedmaster. The final big launch was the resurrection of a classic name – the Globemaster. This vintage styled piece is no old timer, though – it is the first Omega to gain the full Master Chronometer certification, an enhanced version of traditional chronometer testing that also certifies the watch functions when exposed to magnetic fields of 15000 Gauss. This is available in steel, bicolour steel and gold, 18ct yellow gold, and 18ct Sedna gold.
[The Omega White Side of The Moon. Click here for more information – http://www.omegawatches.com/baselworld-2015/en#!white-side-of-the-moon]
Elsewhere, Zenith have introduced a new version of its super thin Elite family, going for an ultra-clean design, and backing it up with an impressive 100 hour power reserve. Raymond Weil have expanded their connections to the music industry, and I particularly liked the special edition watch designed in partnership with Gibson Guitars, perfect for any self-respecting rocker out there! TAG Heuer have expanded their Formula One and Carrera families, and made a massive announcement that they are developing a smart watch with Intel and Google – indeed, smart watches have been a big theme at this year’s Baselworld, TAG Heuer and Breitling are leading the way in the luxury sector.
[The Tag Heuer Gibson & The Zenith super thing Elite]
For any additional information, contact your local Fraser Hart watch specialist (Click here for store listing – http://www.fraserhart.co.uk/ustorelocator/location/map/). Most models launched here at Basel will become available in Q3 to Q4 2015