The Rolex Explorer is an iconic model that is meant to be an everyday sports watch, but it needed a little bit of refinement to be truly great. When Rolex stepped the Explorer up from 36mm to 39mm, most everyone was happy about the size, but there were some issues – most glaringly, the minute hand was too short and just looked awkward on the dial. Rolex proved that, while they’re not quick to make drastic model changes, by addressing the concerns on the Rolex Explorer, they understand when they haven’t quite lived up to their own standards. They did it with relative humility and instead of trying to brand it as a new model or even reference number, they simply made the necessary changes. I commend Rolex for doing this, and their efforts paid off, as this is the modern Rolex Explorer we all deserve. Price for this entry-level Rolex sports watch is just about 5,000 euros.
When Rolex introduced the Datejust II, there was a feeling that the watch was a little bit rushed. The movement wasn’t updated, and in the desire to get a larger model of the Rolex Datejust out there, some things didn’t just translate in the execution. Just like how the Rolex Day-Date 40 improved on the Day-Date II, the Datejust 41 presents a perfected option that is really a piece you can love for a lifetime. The caliber 3235 is among the best Rolex has ever produced, and details like the crown size are addressed, resulting in the ultimate Rolex Datejust watch. Just like the Rolex Explorer, something good is perfected to be something great and worthy of the Rolex name. Prices range from about 9,200 euros to 11,200 euros.
Yes, another Rolex, but for Baselworld 2016, they did a great job at adding to their core set of strengths in some of their most popular watches. Nothing about the ceramic is new, but it feels like a reinvigorated Rolex Daytona that will get the fans excited the way the Rolex GMT Master II BLNR did. While we didn’t see a new Rolex Daytona, this model still has a lot of life left despite being initially introduced 16 years ago. Sooner rather than later, we’d like to see something like a Rolex Daytona II introduced alongside the current Daytona – which deserves to live on. That being said, we are all still waiting to see a proper panda dial for the current generation Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. Price for the new Rolex Daytona in steel with the ceramic bezel is 11,800 Swiss francs.
A top-tier tool watch with sex appeal, the new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronometer Chronograph is relatively unchallenged in its price category in terms of looks and the use of high-quality design components. Making good on their promise to incorporate their Master Co-Axial movements little by little, Omega recognizes that dive watches are some of the most popular sport watches around, and keeping the Omega Planet Ocean line as an institution of design and quality is critical to their success. Honestly, Omega’s best influence has been Rolex. By constantly improving rather than focusing on new models, Omega’s use of innovative bezels, redone lugs, ceramic dials, and new movements show that they’re cementing a place as a top-tier mid-luxury brand. Price for this watch starts at $8,900 and tops out at $30,000 for the all Sedna gold model.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
One of Tudor’s most successful products in the last couple of years, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay is the epitome of a designer recreation of something old being done right. While Tudor was always supposed to be a baby-Rolex where you get some of the quality and feel but without the in-house movement, this new model changes everything with the in-house MT5601 movement. Sure, the merits of in-house movements will always be a topic of debate, but there is no doubting that people truly value in-house movements. Here, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get something cool, and the Tudor Black Bay owns its market segment of relatively affordable vintage-style divers with a coolness factor nobody can touch. Though there’s a minor price increase, it’s theoretical for the most part and the value proposition more than makes up for it. Tudor owned this segment, and now they have strengthened that ownership with a beautiful vintage diver with a cleaner dial and good in-house movement. The collection prices start at $3,550 for the steel model on the leather strap.
A real old-school tool watch “the way they used to make ’em,” the TAG Heuer Monza epitomizes the benefits of designing the old-fashioned way. It’s cool-looking, legible, and a successful reissue of a Heuer Classic. TAG Heuer bypassed over-wrought design and presented a straightforward piece that looks like the vintage model but with modern additions like the Calibre 17 movement. In short, it’s a reissue done right, and other brands can take a note on how it’s done with the TAG Heuer Monza. Price for this watch is $5,250.
The MB&F HMX is easy to like as it’s the most affordable horological machine, and the new model done with Black Badger is near-impossible to not love. James Thompson from Black Badger is a charismatic designer who is being further pulled into the watch industry for interesting projects like this. His core value is in materials, which, in short, are luminous and also machinable (unlike liquid luminant). The MB&F HMX Black Badger feels both modern and timely with this being another MB&F that is just done right, simply put. A little pricier than the standard, the MB&F HMX Black Badger will be priced at 48,000 Swiss francs.
Who ever said looking good is a bad thing? Maybe it’s easy for watch people to get worked up about watches that focus on fashion over substance, but when you get both things right – that’s when you know you have a success. This Alpina diver is redesigned with more contemporary features like switching out a triple-date window with a standard date window and some beautiful dials that anyone can love. It’s a solid diver with 300M of water resistance that also offers four color options that will satisfy just about anyone’s taste. The best of both worlds, it’s also attractively priced at 1,450 Swiss francs.
Breguet Double Tourbillon Baguette Diamonds
The luxury watch industry, despite the fact that it attracts a large mainstream audience, continues to be for people who can afford things that cost a lot. This is referring to the high-end luxury watch industry, where buyers of pieces like the Breguet Double Tourbillon Baguette Diamonds watch are really patrons that allow a brand like Breguet to keep producing these watches. Larger than life in every way, the 50mm piece is covered in diamonds and is a showpiece in the best way. Of course, it’s not just about the bling – two tourbillons from the company that created the tourbillon is legitimately impressive to buyers. Rather than showing off a shallow gem-encrusted piece, this is the real showoff watch: a serious horological piece covered in diamonds. Priced at 820,000 Swiss Francs, you get what you pay for.
Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity Baguette
The Jacob & Co. Astronomia was one of the most visually arresting pieces from the last few years, it was like a ballet of mechanical art on the wrist. The new Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity Baguette breaks down the watch as much as possible and fills it in with transparent antireflective-coated sapphire crystals designed to show off the watch as much as possible. For Jacob, it’s a dream come true and the watch he always wanted to make (and the man wears it well). A true luxury item that stands out amongst the ultra high-end field, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity Baguette is a passion piece that is literally like nothing else out there. It’s not for everyone, and that’s the point. If you’re able to afford the $840,000 price, you know there’s not much else out there like this and that it’s a triumph on many levels.
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Is this truly happening? Or just a dream? Our @abtw_david checking out from Basel, facing a quick drive back to Budapest in our BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. No time zone changes, but the Citizen F900 Satellite Wave would handle that just as well ? Thanks to everyone who followed our live coverage and stay tuned for so much more. #ablogtowatch #bmw #citizenwatch #baselworld #BaselWorldABTW #baselworld2016
…and with that, team aBlogtoWatch flew (or drove) back home, and BaselWorld 2016 has officially ended. Or has it really? Not for our coverage, it hasn’t, as we will have tons of hands-on posts coming over the course of the next weeks of all the novelties and cool pieces that we saw – so stay tuned for that! Also, if you haven’t already, check out our Top 10 Totally New Watches Of BaselWorld 2016 list here!