The watch world has seen a lot of change in the last 12 months. For Baselworld, Switzerland’s most highly-anticipated yearly watch fair, the biggest change saw the Swatch group decide not to exhibit this year. It’s a seismic shift in the industry, and one that could have left a gaping hole at the heart of the annual event. But, despite all of the change, the majority of our favourite brands still set up shop and exhibited their new and exciting releases. Here, we break down the best from the fair, our nine favourite timepieces from the event — and our recommendations of what to pre-order before they hit shelves this summer.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 42 is back in black
The latest iteration of Rolex’s seafaring watch, the Swiss brand have increased the case size by 2mm. It’s a small change, but one that makes the now-42mm white gold watch just that more impressive. But perhaps the most exciting development comes in the form of a matt black ceramic bezel, with the numerals rendered in a high shine. The result is a dark, mysterious-looking timepiece as chic as the superyachts it’ll be worn aboard.
The Tudor Black Bay Bronze has a vintage feel
Thanks to their iconic Black Bay range, Tudor have become one of the most popular and recognised brands in modern watchmaking. The frequency with which they add to the collection is incredibly impressive — and the latest addition may be the best yet. A new bronze piece, the metal choice of this latest watch harks back to Tudor’s past — and will develop a beautiful patina over time. The faded slate grey dial also adds to the vintage aesthetic, giving the effect of a genuine heritage timepiece.
The Breitling Navitimer Ref: 806 is a brand new antique
The Ref: 806 from Breitling was perhaps the most coveted Navitimer designs ever created. Originally released in 1959, the watch has now been given a re-edition — and is back on wrists to turn heads everywhere. It’s true to its namesake, as well. Made to the exact specifications of the original watch — even down to the 40.9mm case and hesalite crystal — most everything is identical. Even the number of beads used on the bezel is exactly the same. And it’s this level of attention to detail from the watchmaker that really swings it for us.
The Patek Phillip 5726/1A Nautilus combines sports and luxury
Could this new Nautilus be the perfect combination of an elegant annual calendar and an agile sports watch? We think it could be. Patek Phillipe have taken inspiration from their past catalogue, and brought back an original dial colouration for the new edition, a blue that fades to black around the edges. The new release also builds in a moon phase indicator along with an annual calendar, touches that give this traditionally sporty model a layer of complexity only Patek could deliver with such class.
The Chopard L.U.C Quattro Chrono Flyback is the ultimate style statement
Chopard’s sense of style constantly surprises us. Just when you don’t think the watchmaker can push the envelope any further, or release a watch that pushes any more design boundaries, they come out with something like this satin-brushed slate grey dial. It’s a thing of true beauty. And the rest of this sporty chronograph also displays the flair of its striking dial. We’re particularly taken by the juxtaposition between the high shine stainless steel, and that softer feel of the dial.
The TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph is a bold new look
While most of us will simply see the Autavia as a driving watch, it was actually first marketed to both drivers on the ground and pilots in the skies. In fact, it’s a blend of ‘Auto’ and ‘Aviation’ that give this watch it’s inimitable moniker. This year, the brand has released a new edition with a 60-minute bidirectional rotating bezel and broad lume-filled sword shaped hands. It’s a bold look, and one we love. So, while TAG may have been speeding along in the style stakes before, now they’re flying.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Blue Steel is an icon reinvented
The square cases of Bell & Ross are instantly recognisable. But, with the new dial treatment of this timepiece, the brand have succeeded in reinventing and breathing new life into a classic design. A blue sunray colouration, the dial is possibly our favourite feature on this new piece. But, with a 100 metre water resistance and subtle date window placed at 4:30, we just can’t say for sure.
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is impossibly thin
Bulgari have done it again. Another year and another world-record broken. This time, they set their world-beating sights on the world’s thinnest automatic GMT chronograph — and succeeded by building this Octo Finissimo at just 6.9mm thick. You’ll find the impossibly thin timer encased in sand-blasted titanium, and fronted with a simple pared-back grey dial. So not only is this watch thin, but also impossibly light for a timepiece that contains the very latest in modern watchmaking.
The Nomos Club Sport Neomatic 42 date black is made of tough stuff
Although Nomos made a name for themselves by creating simple, delicate Bauhaus watches, they now seem to be toughening up. The new Sport range allows you to take your Nomos anywhere and everywhere without ever worrying about its safety, and this Neomatic 42 date black is our pick of the new releases. The brand has even introduced a new bracelet that allows you to change the links at home with a small screwdriver.