First look: BaselWorld 2017 highlights

BaselWorld 2017 highlights

In The Interest Of Time

Another year, another BaselWorld. This 100th edition of the world’s greatest watch and jewellery show brought a steady stream of fresh novelties and exciting ideas. While the slow global economy loomed large, spirits remained reasonably high because — pardon the cliche — the show must go on. And it did.

If you’re into vintage-style contemporary timepieces, get ready to be overwhelmed by novelties from the likes of Rolex, Omega, Grand Seiko, Tag Heuer, and of course, Longines. The blue invasion continues, and brands everywhere have adopted this cerulean hue for dials and straps. Some have even expanded the colour options of classical models. Zenith, Glashutte Original, Hautlence, HYT, Omega, Bulgari, and Hublot have all taken liberties with the colour wheel.

It’s a particularly big year for Patek Philippe, as the manufacture celebrates 40 years of its indefatigable Calibre 240, and 20 years of its sporty Aquanaut watch. The latest discoveries of its Advanced Research program was also presented in a unique Aquanaut model with an open dial.

Rolex celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Sea-Dweller with a new model, Ref. 126600, with red lettering – fancy by Rolex’s standards – while Omega celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Speedmaster with a trio of watches that includes the Railmaster, the Seamaster 300, and the Speedmaster.

In a ground-breaking, unprecedented move, Tudor and Breitling swapped movements. Tudor made a Black Bay Chronograph with Calibre MT5813, which is based on Breitling’s Calibre 01, and Breitling made a Superocean Heritage II with Calibre B20, which is based on Tudor’s Calibre MT5612.

Bulgari shattered the world record for ultra-thin automatic movement and watch with the Octo Finissimo Automatic, and debuted a new and fun collection of Serpentis with double coil snakeskin straps. Chanel introduced a new in-house skeletonised movement in the shape of a camellia flower, and a slew of new metiers d’arts Mademoiselle Privé models.

Breguet did what it does best and released a classical grande complication but in a Marine case. Jaquet Droz, too, impressed visitors with a watch that combines metiers d’arts with the art of automaton-crafting. Chopard, as well, grew its L.U.C collection with very collectible timepieces ranging from the highly complicated to the utterly elegant.

Hublot Ferrari timepiece

Hublot also had a very big year, as it always does, with a litany of new watches some of which pay tribute to Ferrari, one of its many brand partners, and others simply made to showcase its immense creativity and product development know-how.

Get the full BaselWorld 2017 highlights report in our June issue, and have a look at which pieces made it to our top show stealers, mens’ watches and ladies’ pieces.