Baselworld. Every year it comes along. One of the biggest watch fairs in the world, in an impossibly small town, with almost no infrastructure to support such a huge event. But yet, it continues. And many of us look forward to the pleasure and the torture which is the show. Here our Editor reminisce from his week in Basel, and picks the Editor’s Top 5 Watches.
Some statistics: 145,000 attendees from 100 countries, 4,400 press representatives from 70 countries. 1,500 brands. These are the statistics released by Baselworld management. For me, it’s these statistics: 5 days at the fair. 80,000 steps walked (approximately 60 km, about the distance of a bicycle ride on an average day for me), 52 brands covered handling some 400 watches, 1200 photographs taken, 400 business cards given out, 50 flutes of champagne (approximately 5 bottles), 1 lunch eaten (yes only 1 lunch at the Blancpain booth), 5 brand dinners (two at the Trois Rois), and lots of stress. And many of old friendships renewed, and new ones forged. Its been an interesting week.
Out of those watches, which comes up as the Top 5? I have intentionally omitted the obvious ones, which will be covered by my colleagues over the next few days. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona in steel with the new ceramic bezel is one. I prefer the black dial version. Another is the Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8 Day Power Reserve. But let’s dive straight in…alphabetical order…Full reviews, in our usual manner, with high resolution photographs, analysis, explanations, comparisons will be published for all these 5 watches soon.
Czapek & Cie Quai des Bergues
Czapek is new. The name is old…François Czapek was a Czech-born Polish émigré who partnered with Antonie Nobert de Patek in 1839 under the name Patek, Czapek and Cie. The partnership dissolved in 1845, and both went on to found their own companies. One became Patek Philippe, and Czapek disappeared into oblivion. Till recently. it was revived by a group led by Harry Guhl, keen in re-establishing a watch brand, and acquired the name with the intention of sharing it with collectors worldwide.
Read our initial coverage for the Baselworld watches here. The firm is started with a crowdfunding. Certainly a novel way to raise funds to start a watch company. Details on the funding is shown on their website here.
The company communicates the manufacture of the watch completely. The movement is made by Jean-François Mojon of Chronode, the design by Antoine Tschumi of NeoDesis and the cases made by LAB – Les Artisans Boîtiers. The watches are classical, and well made.
Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire
The new eight second remontoire from Grönefeld is one of the highlights. The Horological Brothers have made fame with their Parallax Tourbillon last year with their GPHG 2014 win as Best Tourbillon. And they continue to amaze with the Remontoire.
Design is nice and classical: check. Stainless steel movement layout that is to die for: check. Remontoire as a complication: check. Eight second remontoire: double check…novel!
Jacob & Co Twin Turbo
We announced the new Jacob & Co Twin Turbo here in these pages, one of the first sites to carry information on this amazing new watch. Twin triple axis tourbillons, coupled, and a minute repeater in a shaped case. We have not seen these complications in combination before. And at a rather reasonable, if these high prices can be seen as reasonable, of CHF360,000.
The twin triple axis is a treat to watch…mesmerizing, captivating. And certainly one to while away the minutes or hours by just watching. The minute repeater is a rather nice addition. The strikes are loud, clear, and clean sounding. Nice resonance. Good decay.
Patek Philippe Chronograph Worldtimer Ref. 5930
Combining two of their most popular complications, Patek Philippe introduced the Ref. 5930: chronograph with worldtimer.
The watch is a very wearable and modest 39.5mm diameter, and equipped with Patek’s in-house movement CH 28-520 HU self winding movement, with column wheel chronograph and world time capability.
We were attracted to the gorgeous blue guilloché dial. And the combination of the dual complications.
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
The talk of the show. Tudor introduces the new Black Bay in bronze. Of course Tudor being Tudor, and part of the giant Rolex group, the bronze case is not any bronze case. It is a special aluminium alloy designed to patina evenly across the case.
We continue to be amazed with the trek Tudor is making. They are no longer the poor man’s Rolex, though they remain, in Hans Wilsdof’s words when founding Tudor with the intention to create a product for authorized Rolex dealers to sell that offered the reliability and dependability of a Rolex, but at a lower price. Tudor today is a force unto its own. Beautiful products. Great price points. We covered the basics in our introduction article here.