Baselworld 2018 took place on 22nd to 27th March and saw major industry players participating in the world’s largest horological “GTG” under one roof. This year’s show gained better awareness and traction, as the event reported an 8% increase in the number of visitors attending Baselworld on the first two days compared to last year. And with all the major Swiss watch companies exclusively presenting their new products during this event, how does a collector like yourself suss out the unique and interesting, yet value-for-money timepieces from clutter in the various forms of media? Well, here are the three most relevant everyday watches which I have picked out of the many others presented at Baselworld 2018, and if you are looking for affordable everyday timepieces, I am certain you will like them too. My picks are from Bell & Ross, Sinn and Seiko Prospex.
The Bell & Ross Vintage BR Racing Bird Chronograph Limited Edition 999 pieces
The two new watches from the Vintage BR Racing Bird series announced at Baselworld this year were inspired by the BR-Bird plane aircraft. This “BR-Bird” plane is the brainchild of Bruno Belamich, Bell & Ross’s co-founder and creative director, made for the low altitude Reno Championship Air Races held annually at the deserts of Reno, Nevada. The link to the designer’s muse is obvious, based on its use of bold and daring use of colours on this chronograph timepiece.
There is indeed much going on in this watch, however it still remains aesthetically pleasing and highly legible. This chronograph with a 100m water resistance also includes a date wheel, and the dial cleverly combines the generous use of multiple colours: Orange, Navy Blue, Grey and Black. The sporty navy sapphire bezel frames up the entire design of the watch, complementing the busy white dial. At first glance, you will notice that even the minute markers on the dial are given a differentiating touch – they in divided into 5-minute sectors and they alternate in blocks of grey and navy. In addition, the central chronograph hand is depicted with a tiny orange plane icon on its end. This adorable detail certainly adds to overall whimsical and vivacious factor of the watch.
The Bell & Ross Vintage BR Racing Bird Chronograph BRV2-94 retails for $6,900 SGD (approx $5,200 USD) for the bracelet version and is definitely one to add to the collection if you are into bold and distinctive pieces, yet modest enough for everyday wear. If you are looking for a thinner case, or if chronographs just aren’t your thing, there is also a 3-hand version of the Bell & Ross Vintage BR Racing Bird BRV1-92 time-only watch (Limited Edition 999 pieces) priced at $3,600 SGD (approx $2,700 USD).
The Sinn 103 Sa B E Limited Edition 500 pieces
Just when you think that they couldn’t possibly come up with another variation, the Sinn 103, an iconic pilot chronograph from the German brand made a surprise comeback this year at Baselworld 2018. This year’s variant, the Sinn 103 SA B E comes with an extremely well-executed sunburst blue dial, but this time with faux-patina hands and indices. The shade of blue that was chosen matches the ivory tone very well and with the white outlines of the hands, the watch maintains its legibility without compromising on its “vintage” touch. This ivory tone continues on, without stark contrast, to the luminous triangle key mark on the blue anodised pilot’s bezel.
Another thoughtful factor that contributes to the watch’s overall historical reminiscent look would be the highly curved sapphire crystal glass that was specially manufactured, maintaining that to a similar look of traditional acrylic glass.
Inside the Sinn 103 Sa B E is the Valjoux 7750, a workhorse chronograph movement that is cam-controlled, complete with Day and Date display. The Sinn 103 Sa B E Limited Edition 500 pieces Leather Strap option retails for $4,760 SGD (approx $3,600 USD) and is documented by the “Eine von 500” (i.e. one of 500) engraving on the rotor.
The Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean – Fabien Cousteau series
Seiko recently announced their partnership with Fabien Cousteau – distinguished ocean explorer and marine conservationist. Taking after his grandfather Jacques Cousteau’s footsteps, Fabien is dedicated to explore the ocean and protect it from the damaging effects of human activity and climate change. He founded the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center, an institution created to make a direct and positive contribution to the health of the oceans.
As a watch enthusiast, you can play a part too by purchasing a watch. A portion of the proceeds from the Prospex Save the Ocean collection will be donated to the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center, showing Seiko’s commitment to preserving the marine environment. For this Prospex Save the Ocean series, three special edition watches have been created based on the popular models of the Prospex collection. They are the SRPC91K1 “Turtle”, the SRPC93K1 “Samurai” and the SSC675P1 Solar Chronograph. The gradient wavy blue dials are inspired by the blue whale flapping its fins and gliding in the ocean, reflecting sun rays from above.
Determined to make this long term initiative a success, a dedicated Seiko Prospex Instagram account (@seiko_prospex) has been created and Seiko fans can now follow Fabien’s activities, adventures and discoveries.
And there we have it, three wallet-friendly pieces that are practical for everyday use: two robust chronographs with outstanding aesthetics, and a series of dive watches from Seiko that I am sure you can’t take your eyes off while desk-diving. Would you have chosen the same watches, or would your picks differ? Are there any other new, affordable releases that have caught your attention? Let us know in the comments section below.