Basel, Switzerland’s biggest horology event, is basically a fashion week for watches, during which brands from Rolex to Rado showcase their wares to press and buyers.
This year, the livelier, more lighthearted cousin to SIHH (the watch world’s luxury fair) is set to be bigger than ever, so we’ve charted the pre-release pieces that are keeping us ticking over until the main event.
Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ023
Seiko has been expanding beyond its usual sportswatches lately, and the upcoming Presage continues to buck the trend. The white enamel dial is mounted on a black crocodile strap, giving the low-key brand an authentic nod to high-end, old-school manufacturers. If that doesn’t silence the haters, though, the impressive in-house 8R48 automatic movement will.
Hermès Cape Cod TGM Manufacture
Not to be confused with a local fishing pond, the Hermès Cape Cod is another example of finely-tuned craftsmanship from the leading luxury fashion house. This American-influenced timepiece’s navy dial, art deco numerals and date aperture has got us hook, line and sinker.
Monsieur De Chanel
This piece was the shining star of last year’s Baselworld, and for 2017 it has got even shinier. The revisit boasts a new platinum case that makes for a cooler alternative to rose gold. Plus, the in-house Calibre 1 movement was developed by none other than Romain Gauthier (the Tom Ford of watchmakers), dispelling the age-old myth that fashion brands can’t rival prestige manufacturers.
Graham Geo.Graham Orrey Tourbillon
Forget childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut, aim for the moon with Graham’s cosmic watch instead. An update of last year’s avant-garde novelty, it tracks the movements of the solar system with otherworldly precision. In addition, the planet markers are made from actual fallen meteorites. Prepare for lift off.
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horograph
Bell & Ross first conquered the skies with a series of watches for the French Airforce, and now the brand has set a target on civilian wrists. The new Horograph puts gimmickry on standby with a clean, clear dial and a military-grade steel case – there’s no mucking about in this squadron.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Abyss Blue
Vladimir Putin’s watch brand-of-choice (but don’t hold that against them), Blancpain’s updated diver has reduced in size to 38mm, making it much easier to wear on smaller wrists, and includes a deep ceramic blue that extends to the strap. Then there’s the open caseback, in which all the inner workings are exposed for the utmost transparency (here’s looking at you, Vlad).
Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture
The brand behind the “world’s first haute horological smartwatch” continues to go against the grain – this time, with an unusual brown dialled worldtimer set on a rose gold case. The crown controls every single function on the watch (which means there’s no need for pushers) while bronze-coloured detailing sets it apart from other white or blue counterparts.