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Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2018 & An Industry In Exciting Transition

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2018 & An Industry In Exciting Transition Featured Articles Mens Watches

Baselworld 2018 may have been the smallest installment of the famous and historic watch trade show aBlogtoWatch has ever gone to, but for me personally it was among the most positive ones. In addition to a bounty of value-laden watches and positive executive management direction trends, we are starting to see an industry slowly find its footing again. For years after the 2008 financial crisis the watch industry had been able to stave off serious down-sizing and fundamental reorganization thanks to bubble markets (namely China and other parts of Asia). After China’s luxury watch consumption growth slowed to a halt (thanks in large part to corruption and tax law reforms) starting a few years ago, the European watch industry as a whole quickly started to realize it needed change in order for there to be a viable future.

At the very same time the introduction of smartwatches and other wearable technology increased the traditional watch industry’s sense of caution. The threat (even potential) of a product that would compete not only for consumer dollars but for basic body real estate space, likely resulted in a serious hesitancy to develop and invest in new traditional wristwatch products. The last few years have seen little evolution among traditional managers but we’ve seen a lot of talent shifting as the old guard of luxury watches is slowly but surely being ushered out in favor of new and hopefully transformational ideas related to marketing, product design, distribution, and use of technology.

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2018 & An Industry In Exciting Transition Featured Articles Mens Watches

About five years of slowed or negative growth have allowed many watch industry players both large and small to take a step back and fundamentally reevaluate their businesses and strategies. aBlogtoWatch has seen this process play out beginning with traditional managers denying that change is necessary, to adopting short-term “band-aid” measures that rarely resulted in real improvements, to now a wholesale adoption of the notion that the future will be more than likely quite different from the past when it comes to how a traditional watch brand does business.

Adding complexity to the above discussion is the fact that while most areas of the traditional watch industry have been affected by changes to the market, different types of brands have been affected differently. For example, a high-volume production watchmaker might be focused on how to both keep its remaining traditional retailers happy while at the same time investing in a direct-to-consumer sales strategy. Whereas a small production high-luxury watch brand’s issues are less related to pitting various types of sales outlets against one another and more keen to determine how consumers will even learn about their products in the first place.

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2018 & An Industry In Exciting Transition Featured Articles Mens Watches

Long-term thinking habits are still outnumbered by managers seeking quick solutions to complicated problems related to how they price their products, get them to market, consumer needs, and communicating to the public. Even though it can take up to a decade to develop and refine a new wristwatch product, we still see managers looking to boost performance over a period of months with often unrealistic goals. The luxury industry does and will continue to attract people seeking quick money and profits, but increasingly, the realities of a well-connected world with many informed consumers prevent the types of clients or market exploitation that allowed for bubble markets and strategies to occur as often.

Getting specific, what industry trends did we see at Baselworld 2018? Before I discuss what we noticed from a product trend perspective I want to say that the greater aBlogtoWatch team was encouraged by what felt like wise pricing policies. While ultra-luxury watches will continue to come with exclusionary pricing designed to keep them solidly placed as status symbols, many, many watches at Baselworld 2018 arrived with sub-$1,000 USD price points. The Swatch Group especially should be applauded for not only having a large selection of “affordable” high-end watches, but also for packing quality design and innovation into those products. I make a point to say that because in recent years the “affordable” options might have been better-priced in comparison to more expensive watches, but more often than not utterly failed to garner interest for collectors or enthusiasts. A lot of watches coming in 2018 are both “enthusiast grade” and well-priced.

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2018 & An Industry In Exciting Transition Featured Articles Mens Watches

Design innovation is less inspired in 2018. We continue to see people piggyback on the fact that 40-60 years ago the brands they work at seemed to put a lot more effort into watch design than they do today. This means that we continue to see brands choose to reformulate “vintage” designs rather than actually invest design effort (and embrace risk) in something original. Of course there are original products to be found, but most of them aren’t coming from the “big box” names which help push the industry as a whole into new directions.

If you are looking for improvements on existing products and new flavors of existing designs, then Baselworld 2018 products will make you very happy. Some of the best innovations are actually newly upgraded models or the use of new materials which help add new life into aging concepts. Fashionable colors are especially important for the watch industry as the old “black dial standard” is quickly being supplemented with a fresh slew of hues rendered in endless finishes and materials.

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2018 & An Industry In Exciting Transition Featured Articles Mens Watches

Official Baselworld Press Imagery

Blue was especially prominent in watch product colors and perhaps for good reason. Watch brands routinely report that blue-dialed versions of their watches sell more than other variants, and the market does seem to have a healthy appetite for blue. Gray also continues to be a strong color choice – which comes in a dazzling variety of shades and styles. Even though blue and gray aren’t black and white, they are in many ways just as fashionably safe. The blue-colored watch might be the timepiece industry’s equivalent of a navy-blue sport coat.

Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2018 & An Industry In Exciting Transition Featured Articles Mens Watches

While I am generally happy with the conversations watch brands are having internally about product design, marketing strategy, and overall re-organization, the industry hasn’t quite figured out what sales distribution will look like for them in the future. From a sales-to-end-consumer perspective the industry is still pulled in opposite directions. Those directions are a comfortable reliance on wholesale distribution of watches in bulk to retailers and regional distributors – and the exciting but high-risk strategy of selling products directly to consumers. Many watch brands have attempted to embrace both (meaning that consumers can buy their watches from third-party authorized dealers as well as direct from the company either at brand boutique stores or online), though without both sales models existing in harmony. As the watch industry’s sales professionals still figure out what the future of getting watches into the hands of their customers will look like, conflicts of interest, fights, and confusions abound. What does that mean for a consumer? Simple, it means that after someone gets interested in a watch and wants to learn more or get it, they are often presented with too many or too few convenient options to get that product. This gets serious when a consumer sees multiple prices for the same watch which if too widely spread, prevents them from having the confidence to make a purchase. I fully acknowledge that the industry is in a transitional period so I expect that many of these distribution and sales issues will begin to find successful solutions over the next few years. And now on to the top 10 watches of Baselworld 2018 according to aBlogtoWatch.

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  • Boy but the surface quality of that red Hublot is nasty. Looks like red paint by a $99 auto paint shop (orange peel effect at no extra charge). As a technical innovation, the development of a bright red ceramic is good, but this Hublot looks like a clown’s watch given its red hour markers and red hands.

    I think the Maurice Lacroix looks surprisingly good for a 7750 based watch. I’m in favor of a metal cased G-Shock but not enough to go buy one. The rest of the watches on the list don’t inspire enough of anything (good or bad) for me to comment upon them 🙂

  • Svetoslav Popov

    Why the Patek’s hour hand lume is so skewed, or is just from the picture?

    • ProJ

      It’s just the reflection of light/shade on the metal frame of the hand.

  • IanE

    The orange Aquanaut colouration might suit a $150 fun Seiko, but it looks cheap and nasty to my eyes on the PP: still, why expect 38,600 chf to buy good taste?
    Rather a flat Baselworld this year (to follow a rather flat SIHH), IMO – only the Indies seemed to offer their usual exciting options – nearly all unaffordable alas!

  • Mikita

    Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld:

    1) Rolex – of course, every blog must “crown” the crown brand. As for me – boring and the bracelet looks above dated.
    2) G-Shock – wow, they made it from ss, so it is less durable and costs x3 times.
    3) PP Aquanaut Chronograph – okay, not bad. But far from my top 10 above $40k.
    4) Omega Seamaster 300M – absolutely shameful and lazy re-edition. Extremely striking wave pattern combined with skeletonized hands and super glossy bezel = zero legibility (from a dive watch perspective). Ridiculous and totally useless He valve. Bracelet aka worst memories from the 90s.
    5) Favre-Leuba Raider Sea King – obscure Indian Sellita-based watch for $2k from no-name brand, okay.
    6) TAG Heuer Monaco Bamturd – are you serious? Over $8k for bamturded Sellita-based plastic TAG. Perfect marriage of two brandnames with no credibility in watchmaking.
    7) Maurice Lacroix Aikon – poseur AP RO knock-off for $3k. Nice.
    8) Jacob & Co. Astronomia Maestro – okay, approved.
    9) Glashutte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date = worst GO you may find at almost $17k. Period.
    10) Hublow Big Bang Bang Bang UNICO Red Magic – best way to flush your $26,200! LEGO want their watch back.

    Sorry, ABTW team, I am really shocked. So these are your top picks? No Tudor BB 58 – slimmest ever with inhouse 70 hours, no GS – with their hypnotic blue and tobacco patterns, no Oris with their stunning Big Crown Pointer Date, no Longines Legend Diver 36 mm, – but horrendous Hublow, bamturded TAG, pseudo-Favre-Leuba, G-Shock and worst Seamaster ever. Bravo!

    • David Bredan

      1) “Of course” except for the fact that we didn’t include Rolex last year. So much about that “must crown” part. https://www.ablogtowatch.com/top-10-watches-baselworld-2017/2/
      2) It’s literally exactly as durable.
      3) I personally don’t like this PP at all but it isn’t my list, it’s the team’s.
      4) That’s all subjective, and it’s a very important update to a very important collection, launched with a bunch of options – if it was just one watch, come to think of it, I don’t think it would have made it.
      5) What? No obscure small brands? Shame! Obscure small brand? Shame! I’m sure FL is open to suggestions on how a sub-$2k watch is sustainable with an in-house caliber.
      6) I dig a modern Monaco – in fact anything that’s modern in our times of re-edition this and re-edition that, so kudos to both for doing something they knew wasn’t going to go down well with the trends and the taste of some.
      7) That actually is a lot of watch, nicely made, and cool looks. Inspired by RO? Sure, but so is the Nautilus.
      8) Yay!
      9) One of the best.
      10) Okay, so the novel and leading material technology in this vs. Tudor making the revolutionary discovery that they can make a steel case a hair smaller… The 70hr power reserve is impressive, the watch itself is nowhere near the tech in the Hublot.

      • Mikita

        1) So why change a good habit? 🙂
        2) I have some doubts. There was a reason in developing a polymer for G-Shock line, wasn’t it? I don’t judge from the looks, ss looks better, but a polymer adds some extra shock-protection for the components inside.
        3) –
        4) David, do you personally find it “a very important update”? Why useless valve again? Why same 90s bracelet design? Why making the pattern look so damn striking?
        5) Okay, new brands or “old” new brands are always welcome. Sub $2k inhouse? Check Alpina, FC, Seiko, Orient, etc. Tudor is not far away as well. But okay – it’s more like an exception at $2k.
        6) “wasn’t going to go down well with the trends and the taste of some” – well, not the best description of any watch. Invicta can be described in a similar way.
        7) Agree, ML are well-made watches. But as a fan of the brand, I feel a bit ashamed that they jumped into the now-popular homage wagon.
        8) –
        9) Do you like the dial scheme (logo at the bottom, three-register on top)?
        10) Does it really matter when in result you get a nasty cheap looking crudely made watch?

        • David Bredan

          1) Haha! I must say, my choice would’ve been the Root Beer – it’s a more “grown up” version of the Pepsi, but we should admit, that a steel Pepsi is a big deal for many.
          2) I specifically asked the kind people from G-Shock HQ and they barely understood the question, it came so natural to them that the steel one performs just as well as the “plastic” ones – they are also tested exactly the same.
          4) I think it’s important because it noticeably impacts what the 300M looks and wears like – and noticeably not just for nerds, but the wider consumer base of Omega as well. The He valve I could do without – the 90s bracelet I dig, but only on the tantalum version.
          5) Alpina, FC, Seiko and Orient are clearly not the same size as FL. Their upside is in-house production, while FL is not held back by the monstrous size and slow pace of a massive organization. I guess they compete with cool designs and neat execution at affordable prices, not with the provenance of their movement, which they understand many buyers at this point just want to be reliable.
          6) I dread a watch industry where everything is designed to go down well with everyone – and we are frighteningly close to it, so any big brand that appreciably steps out of their comfort zone I’ll greet with an open mind, even if the end result is not to my taste.
          7) Yeah, it’s a popular homage for sure – but they are producing these for the larger market, where they are, I am told and I can easily believe, doing extremely well with them. For us, the Masterpiece collection is there. Let’s also not forget the ML Calypso from many moons ago, that actually also inspired this watch.
          9) That’s just something refreshing in a sea of 3-6-9 watches – and in the metal this was one of the most handsome and proportionate watches. I actually want to review it to see how it fairs outside the box of a room where we see these things.
          10) Ceramic I can’t see as plastic now that I’ve handled so many – but I agree that has no impact whatsoever on how others see it. If you want this because it looks expensive, you’ll likely want to look elsewhere – even though it is a watch that’s basically unique with this material and is extremely difficult to produce (for now). I’d rather have Magic Gold. This is a toy watch made with novel tech and that sort of combination I find a lot more fascinating and fun than an ever-so-slightly smaller Tudor (that looks and wears worse than the original, ETA-based Heritage BB, it just does) or a 36mm diver from Longines.

          I agree that the Tudor and Longines are also very likable watches, but for me it takes more than a few mm-s here and there to justify a place on this list – even if you’re Rolex! …As our 2017 list testifies which, unlike I presume everyone else’s, didn’t feature the 43mm Sea-Dweller.

          • Mikita

            1) Agreed. Rolex fans will spend months or years in the waiting lists to get it. But, honestly, if we abstract that it is Rolex, and look at it from the perspective we look at any other watch brand – the watch itself is purely incremental, same concern as you apply for a new thinner Tudor 58.
            2) Okay, but I seriously doub’t that it will be able to pass same tortures as polymer-cased 5000, like riding over it with a tank, dropping from the 10th floor, etc.
            4) “it noticeably impacts what the 300M looks and wears like” – indeed, but from my point of view, the impact worsened its diver nature and, probably, didn’t improve how it wears. The legibility looks worse (at least from the photos and videos), IMO they’ve gone with either full-lumed hands or less striking wave pattern. The increase in size (and thickness, right?) also doesn’t give me delight.
            5) I would’ve agreed on affordable prices, but not in the presence of Oris, Tudor and Seiko. All three brands offer exceptionally well-made divers with longer track record; Tudor and Seiko offer inhouse calibers for slight increase: I believe $2k and $3k aren’t really far away for someone considering a solid diver with some pedigree.
            6) True, but I also dread how would the industry look like when ruled by JCB. Well, at least it’d be a gold time for all NBA stars, fake street artists and questionable watch-tuning ateliers.
            9) Okay, its personal, but I find the dial falling to balance between classy-symmetrical and creatively-asymmetrical. To explain these two terms: Senator Observer is classy-symmetrical and Panomatic Lunar is creatively-asymmetrical. I absolutely love when one of these approaches is pure, but in case of Senator Chronograph Panorama Date they did something in between: it doesn’t look classy, but it doesn’t look creatively arranged either.
            10) Toy watch can be done with class – like MB&F or some Angelus models like the new U50 Diver Tourbillon: stricking – yes, colorful – yes, but still incorporates the haute horlogerie core. Hublot took their typical base appearance as in 1000 of their other oh-so-limited versions and simply made it from the new material. The material itself may be cool, well, maybe not for the cases, but for the dials/bezels/etc. But the watch is truly horrendous. Honestly – I never liked the Bang Bang Bang, but in this toy-ish material it looks even worse than in metal.

            You made me doubt regarding Tudor BB 58 – does it really sit worse than 1st gen BB? I was really considering it as it looks so damn handsome in press photos – it’s actually the first time I want a Tudor since the Ranger (credits to Time & Tide and Worn & Wound):
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c6fcaf0cfe252f7bb31e56463367f86105494518acd14f110404b7936c4b9377.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e897531604b70895f097c97818515dd4f5faadfadb630c3bd009aef7c4dfa08c.jpg

  • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    TISSOT TISSOT TISSOT

    • The Millionaire and his Wife

      Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!

      • Ah, that was quality TV and no mistake! The suspense before that first punch was just nerve-racking!

        • The Millionaire and his Wife

          Degenerate pop culture of the highest order!

    • Mikita

      Bang Bang Bang!

    • Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

  • Pete L

    Great article Ariel.

    Apart from over exciting the fan boys I see little appeal in the Rolex GMT. They will clamour for it and push prices/waiting lists up as always but the bracelet engineering to appease WG owners is pure snobbery – which is apt I guess. Redesigning the Deepsea case lugs and bracelet so it balances for everyday wear is much more like it. (I would love one now but don’t have the patience for the waiting list)

    I can potentially see the appeal of the red ceramic as a new material (although I am not sure how many really prefer these options?) but it looks cheap in this application. Perhaps they can find a way to use it differently. The carbon on most watches seems to last about five minutes (take a look at a used carbon AP!) so would love to see how the square edges of the Monaco look after it has been worn a few times/hit the odd door handle!

    Winner for me has to be the Omega which has genuinely improved a successful product without increasing the price. An upgrade across the board and I am sure more variants will come out to suit most tastes in time.

    Also really like the mansized PP Aquanaut (would prefer a bracelet option) and the ML Aikon auto chrono looks like fantastic value.

    🙂

  • ProJ

    Rolex as usual is doing the Apple way (or is it the other way around?) Small incremental upgrades, nothing groundbreaking. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it approach. Which is okay to be honest. People were asking for a refresh and Rolex delivered. New movement known to have a great accuracy and a respectable power reserve. I don’t like however the fact that the jubilee bracelet doesn’t fit the other models. Again like Apple, the iPhone 6 and 7 were very similar, but the former case doesn’t fit on the 7.

    Not convinced with the Maurice Lacroix. In few months people will forget about it.

    The Omega that should’ve been added is the 1948 small seconds limited edition (albeit too thick as Mikita rightfully stated in another thread)

    The Hublot? Sure.. the red ceramic looks fantastic.
    Tag Monaco carbon fibre not bad either.

    All in all, I think I prefer SIHH over Basel World.

  • MeaCulpa

    The list was an interesting combination of boring and awfull.

    • Yan Fin

      The comment of the day

    • 5 more

      From tangerine-pop Pateks to schlock-rock red Hublots.

  • Color me biased, but Tudor is the king of Basel, simply because it will outsell every brand you have on your list. The lead-in article essentially asks, “What is the industry doing right?” and the GMT and the 58 answer all of your questions: a vintage feeling yet contemporary take on a classic at an approachable and realistic price point.

    Tudor is now offering what Rolex was 20 years ago: a no-nonsense product at an affordable price. Adjusting for inflation, a no-date Sub cost $4000 in 1996. It’s 8 grand today. Rolex and Omega can continue their race for the top of the luxury heap, but those two Tudors are going to fly off the shelves.

    • SuperStrapper

      Outsell in what metric? Dollars? Number of units?

      • Units. Which ultimately translates to dollars. More people will buy a Tudor 58 in the first week of its release than will buy that Maurice LaCroix in a year.

        • SuperStrapper

          And casio will sell more units next month than the other 9 brands will in the next year.

          • Not of $600 G-Shocks they won’t.

          • SuperStrapper

            Now you’re cherry picking. You started by saying Tudor, the brand, is king and will sell the most units. You’re saying I’m wrong by picking on a single reference in my brand example.

            Regardless, I was trying to have a conversation, not start an argument. Enjoy your Tuesday.

          • The Millionaire and his Wife

            Tuesday afternoon
            I’m just beginning to blog
            Now I’m on my way
            It doesn’t matter to me
            I ain’t no troll; I’m here to stay

          • SuperStrapper

            Wow 1967. You’re dating yourself really seriously. You might consider some imagine dragons or drake.

          • DanW94

            LOL, talk about retarded choices…

  • Yan Fin

    With a great pleasure I went through Mikita’s list and comments. Thank you ABTW for publishing it!

    • Mikita

      Appreciate it! Maybe I should take a chance and send my CV 🙂

      • Yan Fin

        ?? ???? ?????????? ?? ?????? ??????????.

        • Mikita

          ???????, ????? ???? ???????? ???? ????????? ? ?? ????????? ??? 🙂

        • David Bredan

          Várom a linket, amint a két profi kezd magával valamit.

          • Yan Fin

            Weren’t you taught not to interrupt when adults are talking?

  • error406

    With the exception of the Glashutte Senator, these are all watches designed to scream loudly for attention. When is that trend going to end?

  • SuperStrapper

    I’m smarter and better informed than everybody because my top 10 list is different.

    So there.

    • The Millionaire and his Wife

      That was SuperFunny, Mr SuperStroppy, so I upvoted it.

      Why must you be
      Such an angry young man?
      When your future looks bright to me

      Light up and be happy
      Justin’s sweet sweet smell will
      Soon fill the air!

      • SuperStrapper

        Be that as it may, it simply cannot compare to the humdinger that is your username this week! Bravo! Every time I read it I lose to the point of complete loss!

  • Marius

    In my view, the Top 10 Watches list was a bit strange as — excepting the Rolex and the Jacob & Co. — the timepieces presented here are neither technically terribly interesting, nor will they be financial heavy-hitters. Sure, the Rolex GMT will surely be a successful watch as there are already waiting lists to get on the actual waiting list, but apart from that, I find the watches presented here quite unimpressive.

    The Hublot Bingo Bango Red Ceramic looks great on paper. However, when I look at the pictures, especially at the macro shots of the case & bezel, and see how rough and uneven this “…beautiful red ceramic” really is, I think I’d better stick with steel watches. To be honest, I thought that my JLC Master Calendar has a steel case softer than butter, but even the JLC`s case looks better than this Hublötter. Sure, its case might be “scratch resistant”, but if the actual case looks like it was manufactured with a hammer, then I think I’ll pass.

    The Omega 300M is the same old, same old, entry-level and dated-looking Omega. I see absolutely no reason why one wouldn’t add around $1,000 to the budget, and buy the Omega 300 over this. The Omega 300 is infinitely better-looking, much more refined and versatile, and it doesn’t feature that rather comical He escape valve.

    The Maurice Lacroix Nikon (or whatever it’s called) looks like a cheap Chinese replica watch manufactured by the Undone Horological Atelier in Macao. Good luck selling them for $3.000.

    The Glashütte Original Chronograph offers, as Mikita rightly points out, a very poor value proposition. Its dial is quite attractive, but the case is much too thick, and the case – bracelet combination looks quite generic. More importantly though, the over $16,4000 price is a joke. Comparable sports chronographs made by prestigious brands are considerably cheaper. For instance, the Rolex Daytona costs around $12,000; the JLC Deepsea Chrono is $10,000; the IWC Portuguese Chrono costs $12,000; the Blancpain Bathyscaphe Flyback costs $12,400; and even the Breguet Type XXI can be had for around $13,000. Why is the GO almost $3,500 more expensive than these watches? Unless GO offers a solid discount, I doubt that GO will be able to sell many of them.

    The Favre-Leuba is an ugly three-hander using a cheap Selitta, produced by an unknown brand, and sold for almost $2,000. I don’t see how this timepiece could be described as “…a dressy sports watch.”

    The real winner, in my opinion, is the Bamford Monaco. It’s clearly a winner for Tag & Lord Chayton Alexander Grosvenor III because they managed to shaft unsuspecting buyers for over $8,000 for a Selitta-equipped watch using a never-before-seen carbon case. What brothers me most (as well as most of my Monegasque neighbours) is why a low-rent, nasty, and vicious brand such as Tag is allowed to shamelessly use the name of our beautiful Principality. I already contacted one of the most prestigious law firms in Mogadishu in order to look into this matter, and I will inform you as soon as there will be any developments.

    • Kuroji

      I can’t believe you missed the opportunity to call it the Daikon.

  • Rupert Muller

    I was lucky enough to step into some of Baselworld’s booths and TAG Heuer was one of them. I also put the Bamford Monaco on my wrist – but boy, this sentence “the watch is a hard-to-dislike-once-it-is-on-the-wrist” is not exactly the one crossing my mind. It was rather something like “this must be the ugliest watch ever on my own wrist”. (And I also had the Hublot Floyd Mayweather on my wrist!) The carbon case looks extremely cheap.

    Apart from that: Everyone makes his own lists and yours is not too terrible. But if you mention the word “innovation” five times on your first page, then the Rolex GMT should definitively not be on this list.

  • Mikita
    • Gokart Mozart

      really like the Mido Commander.

      • Mikita

        Mee too – even though I’ve never liked the line before.

  • commentator bob

    “The last few years have seen little evolution among traditional managers but we’ve seen a lot of talent shifting as the old guard of luxury watches is slowly but surely being ushered out in favor of new and hopefully transformational ideas related to marketing, product design, distribution, and use of technology.”

    Not really.

    The most popular watches, by far, this year were a re-issue of the “Pussy Galore” GMT Master, a re-issue of the “Clint Eastwood” GMT Master, a knock-off of the “Pussy Galore” GMT Master, and a re-issue of a 1950s knock-off of the Submariner. And they will all be sold using the traditional authorized dealer/grey maket distribution model. The first one will go above MSRP grey, which is somewhat unique.

    The only company really doing revolutionary things in design, technology, and distribution is Apple. Not that I would ever buy a non-mechanical watch.

    Swatch group and Tag get honorable mention. I did buy a $150 mechanical Swatch completely made by robots (innovative design and technology) from a blog about watches (innovative distribution).

    But the Apple Watch and Sistem51 are 2013/2014 news. What this year? Probably the most interesting thing this year is that Tag introduced a really great GMT + chronograph movement that is currently in a really ugly watch, but will eventually show up in a fairly great looking Heuer Autavia re-issue.

    • Tea Hound

      The only company really doing revolutionary things in design, technology, and distribution is Apple…

      The Apple watch is the most boring design they’ve produced for a while – and the first real new product under Cook.

  • Jerry Davis

    The watch industry in the end is a business. Expensive R&D that goes into groundbreaking innovation
    will not happen unless market research shows that the customer will pay for it. The many media articles
    I’ve seen lately on new “classic” designs from Timex kind of indicate that they will not.

  • commentator bob

    The watches Rolex released – the two most iconic versions of their most iconic model – one which devalues a recent white gold version, show that Rolex sees a big opportunity to move watches right now (with our drunken deficit spending pouring gasoline on an already at full employment economy) but sees a global recession in the next two years or less.

  • cluedog12

    The original Seamaster Professional 300 M is the first luxury watch I held in my hands, at the ripe age of 12. My mom’s co-worker got it “off the truck” and I remember being in awe of how heavy it was.

  • SuperStrapper

    Anyone that doesn’t agree the red ceramic Hublot is the best watch to ever debut at Basel is literally retarded.

    • Hope the one photographed was a prototype. The more non-reflective surfaces show some small voids in the ceramic.

      • SuperStrapper

        Like that matters. Groupthink is king an no one needs to actually see a Hublot to hate it!

    • ‘Literally’ eh?

      • SuperStrapper

        “Eh”? Taking stereotype potshots at the Canadian are we? Very inclusive of you.

        And, I was going to use unequivocally but wanted to reach as much of the audience as possible and felt that literally worked better. By all means include your own preferred adjective of absolution.

    • The Millionaire and his Wife

      Perhaps you might consider using words like foolish, silly, misguided? It’s 2018; we’ve evolved. Your use of that word is offensive. It dates you—in the worst way.

      • SuperStrapper

        Libtard SJW identified.

        • Ross Diljohn

          That didn’t take very long.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Do stop winding people up Strappy it’s frightfully childish.

      • SuperStrapper

        It’s far too easy to stop my friend. And don’t be so easily frightened.

      • R La R

        More juvenile than childish.

    • Framlucasse

      Seriously?

    • R La R

      Do you choose your words specifically to offend people or are you just completely insensitive?

      • SuperStrapper

        How many comments could this question be applied to…?

        • R La R

          Only one. Yours.

          • SuperStrapper

            Your bias is showing.

  • Tea Hound

    2 x yes; 1 x maybe; 6 x no; 1 x are you f§§§§§g joking.

    • SuperStrapper

      Oh c’mon. Dont be such a meanie. The Rolex isn’t THAT bad.

      • Tea Hound

        As ever, the Rolexes are wonderful.

  • Framlucasse

    I find this top 10 a bit boring, but well this Basel was. “Look, a new bezel !” “Look, a new bracelet!” “Look, a new color!”

    Woah. Or not.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I’m all baselworlded out. .Nothing stood out as exceptional.

  • GalaxyGuy

    This list just reinforces the idea that Baselworld was particularly mundane this year. Rolex put a dress bracelet on a sports watch and people are foaming at the mouth. Yes there is a new movement inside, but come on… Whether or not you agree with Ariel’s choices (or the staff’s choices, I’m not sure which), though, the overall takeaway for me, which is echoed many times over in the comments below, is that the best efforts of the Swiss watchmaking juggernaut were quite subpar this year. The best watches of the show came from Japan, in my opinion, and Tudor made a good showing of it as well. I also think some of the offerings from Longines, Oris, and a couple of others were not bad.

    Specifically from this list above I was surprised about the choice of the Omega. I (and, I think, many others) thought the Seamaster limited editions represent the best efforts of Omega this year. Just as Rolex will eventually put a 32xx movement into every watch they sell, it is inevitable that Omega will put a master chronometer movement into (nearly) every watch they make at some point, so I feel that the reintroduction of the wave dial was more evolution than revolution. I thought the tantalum version is interesting, but for $13k I think I would prefer a Blancpain sports watch.

    Many people have been hating on the ML Aikon watches, but I find them appealing. There are watches with the look of a Genta design at every price point, and I don’t see that these ML devalue APs offerings in any way. With a clean look at a reasonable price, I think both the three hand and the chronograph version of Aikon watches will do well.

    It’s not that the show was terrible, but I feel it was almost entirely uninspired, and I think that the list above reflects this feeling perfectly. Thank you ABTW for your continued efforts!

  • Ross Diljohn

    The Casio is nice. As for the rest…

  • Richard Baptist

    For Me Lang and Hayne Anton, Moritz Grossman hammer automatic, lost in space and the atum backpage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DWwWMYYHuo

  • Yanko

    Casio in steel is a killer. Omega Seamaster is the same old boring unpleasant and grammatically incorrect watch. Prices for some watches are act of criminality. Rolex GMT is OK but jubilee bracelet is wrong. Tudor is the same Tudor of last year and the year before and the year before that. Hublot is so grotesque that calls for an immediate melting and such melting should be put on YouTube for us to enjoy. I, actually was surprised by some watches by Zodiac, particularly Olympos which looks so futuristic.

    • GalaxyGuy

      I agree with your assessment of the Olympos. It is a decent looking piece, and priced under $1k.

    • Tea Hound

      Omega should make a watch in off-white ceramic and call it the Semen.

    • commentator bob

      Zodiac is the most underrated watch company out there. Legitimate history, manufacture movements, as “Swiss Made” as anything else in the same price range. Edgy serial killer association. People get mad about it being owned by Fossil Group, a quartz fashion watch company, and forget that Swatch Group is the same model. I have a Sea Wolf and it is a really nice watch. The case and dial look great in person. Glad that the keep building out the model line, and the Olympos is cool, buy I wish they got on the GMT bandwagon and brought back the Aerospace.

  • Larry Holmack

    Ariel….I liked all your choices…even the Rolex…but then:

    The Hublot ” Praetorian Guard” god awful red thing! Are you sure that the watch wasn’t made from the leftover materials that the Disney people used to make the costumes for Snoke’s Praetorian Guard in Star Wars: The Last Jedi? If they were…well they might be worth something to Star Wars collectors.
    I thought David was the only one under the influence of the Dark Side!!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/61042f0b74856f6955f140f923f2e4b16e9a0663eeaffb72ddc01984acfbc5c6.jpg

  • Fernando López

    Wow Ariel, this is one of the best articles I have read in a long time.

  • Gokart Mozart

    A couple of nice watches, one of which is the Jacob. I think that is the first time ever that in a list of 10 watches that a Jacob will be top of MY list.

    Generally, these are mostly just a rehash of existing models with a couple of tweaks. What is the point of having a best watches list at the biggest watch show in the world and mostly picking up graded watches?

    It’s like going to the Geneva or Frankfurt motor show and having a top 10 list of cars with about seven of them being a tweak of an existing car. For example having a 2018 Audi TT (Rolex GMT) on the list as it has cool new running lights and the latest Apple interface, on a car that is otherwise the same as the year before. Or a 2018 BMW 5 series as it is now available as a more economical hybrid (PP Nautilus in Steel for less rich people).

  • Gokart Mozart

    Hi Ariel, with all due respect can be some more interesting and less predictable lists. Pretty much these are all watches that most people will already know and love (or hate). Where is the excitement?

    How about various lists such as;

    Best top ten watches from brands you have never heard of.
    Best top ten watches from independents
    Best top ten watches from new startups
    Best top ten non swiss watches

  • iacubfan

    Is the lume on the Casio pictured above misapplied or falling off of the hour hand?