Horology is big business. Most of us may only buy a few in our lifetime, and yet the watch world is a billion-pound industry that keeps ticking over thanks to constant innovations and inventions.
Once a year, major players and newcomers alike come together at the biggest event in the timekeeping calendar (and the largest industry event on the planet) – Baselworld – to unveil closely guarded brand secrets and mega-launches for the months ahead.
Fresh from back-to-back appointments, we’ve picked our top of the horological drops for this year.
Rolex Sky Dweller
The new Sky Dweller model from Rolex harks back to a glorious pre-iPhone era of watches: the 80s. While international businessmen no longer need a watch to tell the time abroad, the yellow gold dial and dual-tone bracelet would still look at home on the wrist of Messrs Bateman or Belfort.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel
When history is this good, let it repeat itself. Rather than start afresh with its 2014 relaunch, Tudor’s latest Heritage Black Bay model continues to pull influence from the archives. Nodding to the watches the Rolex sibling brand has made for the French Navy since the 1950s, it features red text to the dial and a ‘snowflake’ hour and seconds hand. The good old days indeed.
Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS17
For a brand that’s still very much in its youth, Bell & Ross is certainly driving in the fast lane. The BR-XI RS17 marks the French firm’s latest partnership with the Renault Sport Formula One Team, placing colour on the podium via a skeletonised automatic that mirrors a racer’s steering wheel. Very va-va-voom.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic
Following a major weight loss programme, Bulgari has taken over from Piaget as producer of the world’s slimmest automatic, with its Octo Finissimo clocking in at just 5.15mm. The clean, clear dial makes for one handsome watch, although the lightweight finish means you’d barely know it was there – if you could take your eyes off it.
Omega Speedmaster 60th Anniversary Limited Edition
A 60th anniversary may usually be celebrated with diamonds, but when you’re already as blinged out as Omega, you needn’t play by the rules. Commemorating the original 1957 Speedmaster, this birthday update comes complete with a tachymeter bezel and burnt orange markers. The insides, however, house a modern chronograph caliber 1861, showing there’s life in the old boy yet.
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Double Retrograde
Despite household names dominating the Basel ring, smaller manufacturers can still fight with the big boys. Punching well above its weight this year in the blue corner: Maurice Lacroix’s Masterpiece Double Retrograde. With a traditional dial that rivals the titans, this horological wonder packs a mighty five different scales of measurement. It’s a technical knockout for the underdog.
Calvin Klein Minimal
We’ve long argued that fashion brands can rival Swiss big-hitters, and it seems Calvin Klein is firmly on our side. Less is more has been the brand’s mantra for decades, and Raf Simons’ contemporary update sees the Minimal model follow suit with a minimalist design and on-trend Milanese bracelet. All of the style none of the watch snobbery.
Raymond Weil Buddy Holly Limited Edition
Raymond Weil is particularly fond of musical commemorations, however, its latest hits a high note. A tribute to mark Buddy Holly’s 80th birthday, the everyday watch packs a sky blue and silver dial and features the rock n roll icon’s signature and iconic thick rimmed glasses to the chronograph hand. Peggy Sue won’t be able to resist you.