Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2014

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2014

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

Baselworld 2014 marks the fifth anniversary of aBlogtoWatch visiting the massive watch trade show event and at this point, our March/April pilgrimage to the third most populated city in Switzerland (not actually saying much) is met with gracious welcome by many of the brands who produce the best watches in the world. Baselworld is the larger of the annual watch trade shows around the world. While SIHH in January (in Geneva) is smaller, it is also an important event where a different list of important brands display their newest watch and jewelry creations.

For your reference you can check out our list of the top 10 watches of SIHH 2014 to recall the timepieces we felt were the most worth knowing about. We make it part of our coverage to provide aBlogtoWatch audience members with a list of what we feel is going to be of importance or worth your hard-earned income over the next few years. No "top list" is complete nor is it totally inclusive of everything that is cool. For that you'll need to participate in reading our coverage during the show and over the course of the year.

A few thoughts about Baselworld 2014 and the following list that I feel are important to explain. First of all, we like to focus on watches with a high degree of "buyability" as opposed to being impressive or novel. Baselworld has literally thousands upon thousands of new watches, many of which are cool, impressive, new, wild, weird, and insane. aBlogtoWatch isn't able to meet with everyone,  and as much as we would like to, the duration and our own endurance only allows for a snap shot of those brands that we have taken the time to meet. If you know of a particularly important watch or brand that we have failed to mention, by all means, mention it in the comments below.

If you are a brand and would like aBlogtoWatch to be aware of your products or take more interest in what you do, please ensure that you contact us well in advance of the show next year to set up an appointment. Our time is more or less totally booked a month or two out, so the 20 or 30 e-mails we get in the five days before the show imploring us to meet simply aren't going to get a ton of attention for the pure reason of logistical impossibility.

A few thoughts about this list and the show overall. It wasn't totally easy to fill out the list of the top 10 watches for 2014. Sure, there were lots of watches that impressed us, but most of the high-end to mid-range brands continue to be extremely conservative with their new offerings. We are seeing a lot of product churn, line extensions, up-sizing, down-sizing, and small product revisions for the sake of revising product. This is really in order to maintain a conservative station with customers and to produce new models that retailers need to buy without the brands having to risk inventing totally new products. In other words, it was a quiet year and "new" was hard to come by–though, as always, it did of course exist.

Finally, I want to comment on the "new vintage" watch, as my relationship with this type of product has evolved over time. At first I thought that the re-release of classic designs, models, etc., was a cheap way for brands to leverage their past. Then the vintage watch kick started to get popular in a major way, and I felt that brands were merely riding the wave of collector interest versus really doing anything original. In some ways, I still feel that but I also am much more sympathetic to the concept of a "new vintage watch," which actually describes many of the timepieces in this list. I will tell you why: The idea of owning a classic or vintage design can be very appealing from a nostalgic or stylistic perspective. Many of the "original" designs people seek are too rare, expensive, fragile, small, etc. to own or wear today. Brands who focus on offering high-quality and internally modern timepieces that emulate success from the past allow the watch lovers of today to experience some truly fantastic designs and experiences in a skin that often utilizes a modern movement and case construction. For that reason I am a bigger fan of "new vintage" watches that allow us to buy a new watch that seems to exist in a space of timeless desire and appeal.

My thanks to the entire aBlogtoWatch team who was extremely professional and rather amazing at helping us to fully cover Baselworld 2014 on this site and via social media. My kudos to their diligence, efforts, and keen interest in our mission. Thanks especially to our James Stacey who sat with me after long hours of meetings to help choose the pieces on this list. We take it seriously and contemplated the pluses and minuses of our choices as though they were political policy that would alter the lives of those people they would touch. Recall once again that this list is in no particular order and you can click on the heading titles of each watch to read our expanded coverage of the various models. Each of these timepieces deserves an equal place on the list. Comment with your thoughts below and please stay tuned as we cover these and many more watches from Baselworld 2014.

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

Tudor Heritage Ranger

Several years ago the mandate at Tudor was "up your game boys, Rolex wants to offer the world's best watch from about $2,000-$5,000" (which of course is just under the starting price of a new Rolex.) So the historic brand Tudor was re-shaped and refocused into what is perhaps the best value in Swiss watches today, given what you get in regard to style and quality. The Ranger is a new three-hand watch that in my opinion is a less expensive Rolex Explorer I, but that is in many ways more appealing. It is a military style field watch with a slick design, awesomely made 42mm wide case and a dial that is both legible and highly attractive. Tudor offers the Ranger both on a steel metal bracelet and range of strap options including this fabric camo strap. With a vintage inspired design and tool-like feel, there is almost nothing better for the money. The Tudor Ranger starts at $2,825.

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

Rolex GMT-Master II 116719 BLRO

It is both an evolution and a revival, but there is something about a modern Pepsi bezel GMT-Master II that feels great. Rolex continues to show off its ability to mass-produce extremely high-quality sophisticated ceramic parts with a new ceramic bezel that is half blue and half red. This takes the modernization of historic designs full circle to the newest iteration of the GMT-Master II. The up and down of it is the 18k white gold case. For better or worse, Rolex made this iconic sport watch an exclusive luxury item because of its non-steel price. It is perhaps the least blingy high-end luxury watch of 2014 priced at around $40,000 (36,500 Swiss Francs).

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity

For me it is difficult to get sold on a "complicated looking" dress watch. That doesn't mean it is actually complicated per se, but rather that a company takes a more traditional case that is not a sport watch and puts an intricate movement inside that merely shows the time (and perhaps a bit more). Maurice Lacroix's new Masterpiece Gravity combines a slick modern look with a sophisticated openworked dial that is designed to show off the entirely in-house made movement. Maurice Lacroix even produces some of the more difficult to manufacture parts such as the silicon elements as well as the metal hairspring. That is all nice and good, but at the end of the day this beautiful to look at automatic mechanical movement and timepiece mix together well in a watch for movement lovers with taste. Priced at around $13,000.

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono

Rather than being a new limited edition release each couple of years, Chopard has made the Monaco Historique collection a new permanent family of watches. Black and yellow mark 2014 with a collection of Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono watches that include a three-hander, power reserve indicator, and of course chronograph. The collection uses a new titanium case that is wonderfully polished and the race inspired dial details are gorgeous. A new element are the matte black hands and hour markers that make everything important on the face just pop. The mix of quality, composure, and sheer beauty make this a rare race-inspired men's watch one can easily wear on a daily basis. Price for the Chrono version  of the Chopard Monaco Historique is $7,640.

39 comments
RLaR
RLaR

Should we detect tackiness, jealousy and bitchiness in this comment?  That's what it comes across as........

RLaR
RLaR

Should we detect tackiness, jealousy and bitchiness in this comment?  At least that's how I read it.

lemudaonlineshopping
lemudaonlineshopping

I like watches so much because they gives you passion in yourself and you show here multiple watches with design and colors so  i like most your blog Chopard Grand Prix de Manaco Historique Chrono thats amazing they share my type designs like yellow and black its too suitable for men and women Chopard discover most fashionable Brands.

Nice posting here.


dadebond
dadebond

NEW "old" OMEGA SEAMASTER DESERVES TO BE ON THIS LIST

ARIEL, Come on!!

IT IS GREAT, IT HAS EVERYTHING!  


the gmt master is beautiful and lovable...but, to me, it would have deserved a top ten if it was in steel..

RLaR
RLaR

I've read so much in the last several weeks about all the watches at Basel.  I was almost watched out.  And then along came your list and put everything into perspective.  Thanks to your whole team for excellent coverage.  It was great and I look forward to reading ABTW in the coming year. 



SortinoFra
SortinoFra

the eterna is so amazing! tell us more!

MID
MID

As I am a self-declared WIS, I have an obligation to chime in here.  Not a very impressive list.


The Tudor Ranger is an over-priced, rather plain ETA based watch.  It looks like my MKII Quad 10, which has the same movement, is nicely made, and costs a heck of a lot less.


The Rolex GMT is just fine, But I don't think it deserves top 10 honors just because of the return of the "Pepsi" bezel.


The Chopard and Bremont are nice looking watches, but over-priced for rather undistinguished movements.


The Maurice Lacroix and  Armin Strom have, I am sure, worthy and distinguished complications.


The Heuer and Omega are lovely interpretations of classic watches, with innovative and original movements.  (And either costs less than the Chopard or the Bremont!)  The same goes for the Blancpain -- which is both elegant and rugged-looking, with a fine movement, albeit for a hefty sum.


The real sleeper here is the Zenith.  Yes, it's simple.  But  maybe we're returning to the days of the well-crafted watch that tells the time.


I wasn't at Basel,  but that doesn't mean I can't have an opinion.  I think Seiko deserves some mention here, both for the reduced-size (smaller than Tokyo)  Astron GPS chrono, and the Grand Seiko (Hi-Beat GMT and some of the new Spring Drive) models. 

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

Nothing really offensive here, but the list is a little bland. I love that Zenith Captain, but it's just a very clean 3-hander, nothing really WOW about it. The WhiteBread bathyscape is very nice, love that grey hue, but the red chrono hand is killing it for me. 

r_s_g
r_s_g

Minor correction--I believe the new Ranger is 41mm, not 42mm? That aside, great list. I'm glad to you see skipped the lackluster Seamaster 300 or that ugly anniversary Speedmaster. I think the Tresor was the best Omega offering, however, beating the Mark II reissue.

Fraser Petrick
Fraser Petrick

For me - $ aside - Zenith!. Clean and  simple. Also love the Tudor Ranger for the same reasons.


I've recently discovered Epos and Rodania  at Paul-Randolph Jewelers here in nothing-ever-happens-here Kingston, Ontario. The Epos (mechanical) I want (badly) is in the $5k neighbourhood, while the Rodanias (quartz) are in the $200 - $400 range, both excellent quality.

MarcTravis
MarcTravis

I'm glad you included the Bremont Boeing Chronograph on your list. That was probably my favorite.

Johnny Tank
Johnny Tank

PLEASE don't do this to me!!! Don't show a picture of a new Eterna watch and then not say a word about it. You guys are killing me!

All I have gotten from the internet about Eterna at Basel 2014 is stock omages of the new 1948 and a few shots of the Eterna stand. 

If you guys took more photos at the Eterna stand PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share them!

pinkdela
pinkdela

Reader list in no particular order.

Rolex Sea dweller, Rolex GMT White gold, Omega seamaster 300, Gronefeld Parallax Tourbillon, De Bethune MaxiChrono, Bvlgari Octo Finissimo line, Chopard L.U.C 8HF Power Control Black Ceramic, Longines Heritage Conquest, both SS and YG, H. Moser & Cie venturer (wish this was central seconds instead of subsidiary).Louis Vuitton Escale Worldtimer.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

Not a bad list.  Seems like there were an awful lot of vintage-inspired pieces from the big brands.  Some great, some bland.  I'm glad some other blogs cover the lesser-known but more striking watches.  Sometimes it's rewarding to follow the path less travelled.  Example; the Edox Hydrosub North Pole LE looks like an amazing watch, I think a lot of guys here would've been quite interested in that.

hautejalapeno
hautejalapeno

I have been glued to ABTW's Baselworld coverage. From what I saw Omega had a great year, with a number of watches of merit. I also really enjoyed the new offerings from Tudor. For my money the most eye catching watches were the Omega de ville Tresor which is simply perfection and the Oris Artelier 110 hours (perhaps not the sexiest brand but what a watch). The most underwhelming has to be the rolex cellini. Thanks for the pictures and reviews guys. 

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

Love the Chopard Monaco and Blancpain Bathyscaph chronographs (which I had the pleasure to see at BaselWorld). No argument with the others on the list either. It's nice that only 2 of the 10 watches are over $15K USD. So, many of them are not completely out of reach for hard core watch geeks. And even better, half of the list comes in at $7700 or less.

rsr0109
rsr0109

@MID  +1, especially re Tudor at that price.  There are other ETA movement high quality watches that look good for less.

aBlogtoWatch
aBlogtoWatch moderator

@MID Thanks for the note. No good top 10 list is complete with at least some dissension. My philosophy is not to defend our selection but rather to explain it and address your thoughts. First of all, this year it wasn't ultra easy to come up with the list, and much of it is a combination of our suggestions about market appeal as well as our overall take away feelings from the watches. 


The Zenith is a good point. It is very simple and basic, but makes for a great pieces in the eco-system of today's Zenith watches. The finishing is wonderful and I think many people would be happy wit hit. Wild watches evoke more emotion, but aren't something we wear with as much frequency. 


The Seiko models were really great - but we didn't feel they merited a top 10 mention, maybe a top 20 mention. The Astron Chronograph is by all means a wonderful watch, but we still feel the value proposition needs to get a bit better before it hits its stride. There just isn't enough "design" there for a $1,000 plus quartz watch - even if the technology is fantastic. This is a statement that simply mirrors what the public does with their money. The Grand Seiko GMT Hi-Beat is lovely, but is more or less just a Hi-Beat version of an existing piece with a new dial design. 


As for the Tudor, that brings up an interesting point. What you are really paying for is the case and dial, and overall presentation - which is excellent. We love MKII watches here and will recommend them all day. However, they don't match the fit and finish, and quality of parts you'll find in a Tudor. How can they? Who else gets stuff from the best machinery to make watches in the world? 


In any event, I wanted to personally respond to your really great comments.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@SuperStrapper The Blancpain Bathyscaph (both 3 hander and new chronograph) are more impressive in person than in photos. They are tool dive watches but are also elegant, well proportioned (the bezel does not overpower the dial for instance) and nicely finished. They are some of the few watches that could be your only watch if it came to that. Cheers.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@Fraser Petrick Just checked out Rodania - had never heard of them until now - very stylish range of watches.  Probably not "buyable" enough to be featured on Rolex-Omega-Tag-To-Watch though; shame.  

166293
166293

Hi, I contacted Eterna and got the following information: The name of the watch is Military 1939,available as of October 2014 for EUR 1,680 (in Germany). The reference # is 1939.43.46.1299.

topiary
topiary

@Johnny Tank  


I'm also very curious about the Eterna watch picture at the top of this page.   Is this a Basel 2014 intro?

pinkdela
pinkdela

ThisEdox is nice I agree, but takes a lot of concepts from diving watches from the past, with a technical twist. Not bad. However at 49mm it's a cuckoo watch on the wrist.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

@MarkCarson My only watch!!!???!!! What a horrible thought! That's like only having one suit, or one  bottle of scotch. Imagine just one vacation destination, or but a single pretty lady to look at. A menu with just one selection, or a forest of just one tree...


If variety weren't the spice of life, I doubt I'd be coming here before I even check my email every morning. 

mcv1973a
mcv1973a

Hublot...

You neglected to throw them in your awesome compound name.

Johnny Tank
Johnny Tank

@166293 Thank you very much for that information! I just bought an original 30/40's watch like this in anticipation of the "recreation" :-)

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@topiary @Johnny Tank Normally, Ariel and James try to avoid those pesky reflections when shooting watches. In the case of the Eterna, the reflection was so bad yet so good that Ariel noticed it as soon as he shot it and pointed it out to James and I. He thought it was funny that it was such a 'mirror' shot of himself. It truly was unintentional, but he recognized its potential as an 'art shot' right away. So that's why it became the lead in photo for this BaselWorld post.

bichondaddy
bichondaddy

@pinkdela  49mm might be a tad too large for most guys....but when you are 6'6"....anything smaller then 46mm's on my 23 cm wrist looks like I am wearing a woman's or kids watch.  I love the fact that watch brands have not stop making the larger watches.  I'll leave all the "normal" / "traditional" sized watches for you guys that have smaller wrist. There are still plenty of us big guys that love the larger sized watches.  And I am 56 years old...and grew up wearing and collecting watches that were small.  Just now days...I'd rather have a 55mm U-Boat U-1001 Classico-55 on my wrist than a 40mm Rolex any old day!  

That's what is great about watches.....we all have different likes.  I admire and enjoy seeing watches of all different sizes, shapes, complications...etc... So don't be so quick to judge those of us who prefer the larger watches.... we're just different.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

Yeah it is, ha ha. But a selfie with a DSLR instead of via a cell phone in this case.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Johnny Tank I'm not sure if there are any Eterna posts in the works or not. I'm trying to remember what they showed us. So many watches, it's all a blur.

Johnny Tank
Johnny Tank

@MarkCarson

It's a great shot. Very worthy of a lead photo.

So, is there an Eterna article coming, maybe? I'd love to see more of what they showed at Basel.

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