The world’s top watchmakers have previewed their most desirable new timepieces at the Baselworld show in Switzerland. Our horophile Norman Burns was there.
The latest edition in the Connected Modular series squeezes a huge amount of futuristic tech into a smaller, more elegant 41mm case. Running Android Wear, this Swiss-made smartwatch hides 8gb of storage and 1gb of RAM behind a gorgeous high-definition AMOLED screen. To make sure it goes with almost every outfit, the “modular” concept showcases seven standard models, all with interchangeable and customisable straps and lugs. And for lovers of the classic look, just a few clicks turns this smartwatch mechanical.
The Genie Goddess sparkles with 70 Swarovski crystals around its bezel, circling a shimmering mother of pearl dial adorned with even more crystal hour markers. At 12 o’clock a flower-shaped window allows the wearer a glimpse of the partially skeletonised ETA automatic movement. A red leather-crocodile pattern strap completes the aesthetic for what is a funky, sassy women’s watch.
Skeletonising a watch movement is a tricky business, walking the delicate line between aesthetics, strength and accuracy. But boy does the finished product look cool. This hand-wound 42.5mm beauty is no exception, with the see-through dial showcasing all the amazing ticking and whirring going on inside. And if it really gets your heart racing, there’s a bonus pulsometer function on the case back.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic
If red’s your thing and you want a spectacular state-of-the-art wrist statement, look no further than Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Red Magic. Big Bang because, well, at 43-48mm they are big, and the “magic” is the use of a patented red ceramic that took Hublot more than four years to perfect. An automatic Hublot chronograph movement with 72-hour power reserve ticks away in the background. Just 500, all individually numbered, have been created.
The “gold dress watch” can sometimes be a stodgy affair but not this ultra-elegant beauty from Switzerland’s Carl F. Bucherer. The 43mm rose gold case accentuates perfectly the clean lines of a classic dial (with unobtrusive date window and seconds sub-counter). Carl F. Bucherer engineers have done some nifty tweaking, too, to keep the 43mm diameter watch —powered by an automatic Bucherer movement with 55-hour power reserve — as thin as possible.
TAG’s Carrera Heuer sports watch staple gets a complete revamp for 2018. No fewer than 13 variants (steel, ceramic, gold and carbon cases) have been released for a watch which screams “motor racing” from every pore. These are bold on the wrist (43-48mm), jammed with functionality and powered by TAG’s new 02 automatic calibre movement.
Adorned with diamonds, sapphires and a mother-of-pearl dial, this feminine collection from Swiss Bijou Montre celebrates the memories of travel. Each colour corresponds to a destination: Switzerland, France, Italy, China and Japan. There’s an ETA quartz movement at the heart, but these 38mm watches are not so much about technical wizardry
as invoking pure joy.