Another year, another Baselworld – it’s the world’s biggest horology love-in, where luxury watch brands unveil their latest timepieces (and flash their chequebooks) from gold-plated booths with a purpose-built aquarium inside.
No, the watch world’s biggest trade fair hasn’t mellowed in recent years – and nor have the wares on offer. As watch nerds of every kind prepare for the onslaught of free champagne and back-to-back meetings, we’ve got an early look at some of the big releases at Baselworld 2018 from the world’s biggest marques.
Agonium ‘In Memoriam H.R. Giger’
Though sadly passing away in 2014, H.R. Giger – the Swiss painter responsible for the iconic design work of Alien – remains relevant today. In addition to an enduring impact upon the film and video game industry, his signature style can now be found on Agonium’s commemorative piece: a beautifully grim automatic hand-worked and casted in silver. Attractive, especially if you like your ticker equal parts robust and terrifying.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367
Legendary watchmaker Louis Breguet arguably made his most accomplished piece way back in 1827: the famed Marie-Antoinette pocket watch. Still, 2018’s Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 from the brand that still bears his name comes close.
This impressive piece has placed a complex self-winding mechanism on a diet, losing so many inches as to be housed in a svelte 3mm case. Don’t worry, though: Breguet’s trademark classicism is still very much full fat.
TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02
TAG Heuer shouldn’t be confined to city graduates. Sure, they cater to that man extremely well, but the brand is also adept at finely-tuned, highly-engineered watches. Case in point: the Carrera Heuer 02.
As an update of a chronograph first devised in 1963, this mechanical watch will be made available in 13 different variants, including steel, carbon, ceramic or gold with a multitude of straps and bracelets. Think CEO, not lowly desk jockey.
Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet GMT
Though favoured by Putin and co, Blancpain is by no means typical oligarch fare. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Which, in this case, means 28 rubies, 286 components and a robust calendar complication – all housed within a case that’s more lord of the manor than Siberian oil baron. Still, you’ll probably need Putin’s bank account to clinch one.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel
Jaquet Droz doesn’t boast the big brand pull of, say, Cartier or Rolex. That’s a good thing. A piece from the Swiss manufacturer – much like the Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel – is a marker of good and highly-informed taste.
This time, expect a mechanical automatic with a wealth of features upon a black and 22-carat gold dial. And better yet, it’s impressive without the heavy-handed flash seen on the usual suspects.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic
Hublot revels in making horology purists see red. So, the left-field manufacturer took it one shade deeper this year. Introducing the Big Bang Unico Red Magic, a collaborative piece with Metallurgy & Materials laboratories, and one created using intense heat and pressure to forge a brightly-coloured ceramic watch. The vibrancy might not be to everyone’s taste, but it gets our green light.
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Skeleton
Watches aren’t exempt from the nineties resurgence. Maurice Lacroix launched its Aikon line in 2016, channelling the archives for a timepiece best-paired with a pinstripe suit and some very boxy shoulders.
It’s gone even further for 2018. With a skeleton dial and automatic movement, the new Aikon is a perfect mix of old-school design and modern craftsmanship, resulting in a ticker that can be worn in this decade and the next.
Longines Conquest V.H.P
You can’t be good at everything. Unless, that is, you’re Longines. The Swiss label has created a watch to tempt every single type of wearer – and they do it well. Take the Conquest V.H.P.
Named after its ‘Very High Precision’ quartz movement, this new release is every inch the racecar ticker, with a sporty steel-tinged design and a wealth of accurate, timekeeping functions, including a tachymeter.
Breitling Navitimer 8 B01
Military watches may be en vogue, but Breitling has kept its head firmly in the clouds with the Navitimer 8 B01. As a new entry to its laudable series of the same name, this pilot’s watch is available in both stainless steel and rose gold with an in-house calibre inside. Which may seem insignificant when compared to your own personal private jet fighter, but Breitling is the next best thing.
Tissot T-Race MotoGP Limited Edition 2018
The words ‘Made In Switzerland’ shouldn’t automatically trigger a bank loan application. Brands like Tissot regularly go au Suisse on the affordable end – even when a limited edition is at play.
The latest T-Race MotoGP collab adds cockpit splendour to a traditional chronograph, with the bezel taking its cue from a brake disc and the bracelet said to be inspired by a racer’s boiler suit. We can’t confirm an official price at time of writing, but it’s sure to cost much less than that Ferrari-Hublot hook-up.