The Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon represents the best of Baselworld by presenting something that’s genuinely new and beautiful. First off, this is the first time we see a new complication introduced to the Marine case collection, and use of “nanowires” in moving the boom-style retrograde minute hand is successful in providing a very cool way of telling time that is also very legible thanks to nice big double-disc jumping hour display. The use of teak on the dial further knocks the boat theme out of the park. A prime example of a brand not afraid to play around, this piece by Ulysse Nardin is why we continue to love Baselworld, because it shows that there’s still room to create beautiful watches that can still capture one’s imagination. There will only be 18 pieces made, with a price of 280,000 Swiss francs each.
Some consumers still haven’t figured out that Bulgari is more than just a fashion brand and that their timepiece products are generally excellent. An ode to this notion is their Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater which is a “status watch” that totally ignores the rules most people have for what a “status watch” is, being produced in subtle sand-blasted titanium. Here, we have a high-end minute repeater watch done in titanium at a six-figure price that smiles to itself confidently because it is the world’s thinnest minute repeater. The watch is 40mm wide and a slim 6.85mm thick, and is just beautiful given its traditional technique and somewhat iconoclastic take on luxury (that’s just so Italian, too). The stenciled dial is also done in sandblasted titanium, with each design decision coming from a utilitarian place with the intention of making the minute repeater sound incredible. In a way, this watch screams confidence and isn’t compensating for anything. It’s no wonder the limited run of 50 is more or less spoken for, each with a price of 160,000 Swiss francs.
We enjoy that this watch shows a different side of Sinn in that it’s not a serious tool watch, but rather an understated, conservative piece that has a split-seconds chronograph at a price that’s less than one would expect to typically pay. The split-seconds chronograph complication is relatively rare and high-end, but Sinn refrains from playing up the typically costly part and presents a historic-looking tool watch with a cream-colored dial that is hard not to love. The Sinn 910 Anniversary Split-Seconds Chronograph appeals to fans with relatively sophisticated tastes without being prohibitively expensive, and that’s certainly something to applaud. The watch will be produced in a limited run of 300 with a price of $5,940.
Like the Sinn split-seconds chronograph just above, the Frédérique Constant Slimline Perpetual Calendar Manufacture watch offers a typically high-priced complication at a price that a lot more people can afford. The perpetual calendar has a lot of history and heritage and is found in some of the most expensive watches in the world. By offering one as a module on an in-house movement, Frédérique Constant is providing a great option for the watch lover who can’t afford a $20,000-$200,000 watch. It’s got classically beautiful looks, solid construction, and a complication many can only dream of for a price of 8,000 Swiss francs.
The slimmest light-powered watch out there, the Citizen Eco-Drive One is pure innovation. It feels like a piece of paper on the wrist due to how thin and lightweight it is, but you know you’re wearing something special. Yes, it is a quartz movement but it’s neither boring or unoriginal – rather, it is an example of how the Japanese are always innovating and pushing the boundaries of what consumers expect. At 2.98mm thick, the Citizen Eco-Drive One is peerless in its style, refinement, and innovation. They are a bit expensive, but it is for due cause, and typically Japanese brands do not have a reputation of wildly overpricing their products. The limited edition version has a price of $4,400, and the standard version is $2,200.
Bulova tapped into the heritage of their moon watch by releasing an unfussed-with tool watch that is executed perfectly for the price. While the Omega Speedmaster was the ultimate tool watch of its time, the Bulova Moon Watch allows a level of precision and accuracy with its high frequency quartz movement that makes this a contemporary iconic tool watch based on a design popularized in the late 1960s. The monochromatic “professional astronaut” watch for the masses, the Bulova Moon Watch is priced at $550 on a strap and $650 on steel bracelet.
Fashion houses are always looked at with a certain level of skepticism and slight derision from “watch people,” but we challenge anyone to dismiss the Chanel Monsieur de Chanel, which features the brand’s first in-house movement in a case that embodies Parisian elegance without coming off as over-designed. It takes effort and talent to make something that looks and feels good and gives off a sense of lasting appeal. Anyone still fighting the anti-fashion house battle need only try this piece on and their argument will lose its steam. You’ll also need to be able to afford it, as price for the 18k beige gold version is $34,500 and the 18k white gold version is $36,000. The price may seem high, but this watch occupies an interesting territory that isn’t crowded with a lot of competition as a new watch with a timeless appeal from a, yes, fashion house whose pedigree is surpassed by few, if any, others.
We love this watch because it an exercise in appealing to a younger generation of watch collectors with little regard to the old way of doing things or worry about messing with expectations in the Swiss watch world. TAG Heuer has placed an automatic chronograph tourbillon in a sporty watch that you can actually wear every day, and it has no interest in appealing to the traditional crowd. The piece is a testament to what the brand is going to do more of, and I feel that Jean-Claude Biver has succeeded in taking away a lot of long-held limitations of what you can and cannot do. By making the TAG Heuer DNA fluid and offering a sporty, fresh-looking tourbillon at a price of $15,900, Biver is bringing some long-held expectations down to earth.
There aren’t a lot of options for a more “gentlemanly” regatta, or yachting, watch that you can wear on a regular basis in a variety of situations. Sporty design is usually par for the course but the Bremont Regatta AC watch has elegant looks and functionality that make for a compelling and relatively versatile package. Released alongside the Bremont OTUSA, the AC cleans up the dial a bit by getting rid of the 15-minute dial but both are part of an effort to support Oracle Team USA at the America’s Cup. All of these are limited edition watches, with 235 steel models produced, each of which are priced at $6,895 and the 135 gold models will be priced at $15,895. Bremont is clearly putting a lot of thought into their new pieces, and it’s great to see them standing out from the pack with this release.
Large and modern-looking with a cool, complicated movement, the Angelus U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante is the poster child of what you should be looking for in a contemporary independent luxury watch – despite the fact that the brand produces a small trickle of timepieces per year. Angelus exists under Arnold & Son and currently has very limited production, creating tons of exclusivity here. The convenient automatic movement also has a split-seconds chronograph and power reserve indicator, not to mention a tourbillon. This, in a bold, yet comfortable case with a legible dial for under $60,000 makes for a watch that collectors could easily line up for.
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Quick and fun time-lapse from over almost 2 weeks ago when we headed to BaselWorld. This weekend we are wrapping things and as we are bringing you two amazing Top 10 lists — one's coming right up and stay tuned for the next one just a few hours after! @bmwhu #bmw #4series #grancoupe #ablogtowatch #timelapse #gopro #baselworld #BaselWorldABTW #baselworld2016
Having seen this many amazing pieces over the course of nearly two weeks, we finally set on our way back home. It is also a good time for us to thank BMW for providing their 4 Series Gran Coupe to our BaselWorld team – and don’t miss our next list of Top 10 Existing Watch Updates Debuted At Baselworld 2016.