Armchair Picks: Two Classics and a Wildcard from Baselworld 2018

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From a weather station to an atomic clock, and from a heavily patinated chronometer to red magic – there never was a dull moment at Baselworld 2018. The show may be over now, the curtains drawn, but the world of watches never stops hustling. There will be plenty of new releases, auctions, news and drama to tide us over till next year.

As per Deployant tradition, I’ve chosen three timepieces that really resonated with me during this year’s Baselworld. Two of my selections I believe are a given for the most part, and then there’s the wildcard pick. Without further ado, here is my Baselworld top 3:

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 5270P-001

I don’t normally pick existing references with mere cosmetic changes for my top 3 lists, but this one is a worthy exception. Those who know me know also that I am a big proponent of the Patek Philippe Ref. 5270. For the longest of time, I’ve wondered if Patek Philippe would ever make a white metal/salmon dial version of the watch. I love salmon dials in fine watchmaking in general, but when Patek Philippe does it, you bet it’s going to be extraordinary. Lo and behold, my wish has come true this year with the release of the new Ref. 5270P. It is besotting in every imaginable way. The decision to use the noblest of metals, platinum, as the case material was the right one, though I’m sure humble ol’ steel would’ve caused a week-long riot. The use of Arabic numerals instead of stick indices results in a less streamlined look than before but, in return, gives the watch more character. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that my choice of the Ref. 5270P-001 is more emotional than logical, but hey, the heart wants what it wants.



Lang & Heyne Anton

The works of Marco Lang and team have always impressed me. Every single Lang & Heyne timepiece exudes the full splendour of German high watchmaking, and the new Anton is no different. What makes the Anton extra special for Lang & Heyne is that this is the young Dresden manufacture’s first tourbillon watch. The Anton is essentially last year’s Georg with the seconds sub-dial replaced with a flying tourbillon in a lyra-shaped cage for authenticity. To be honest, I would’ve preferred if the tourbillon were hidden in the case back, reserved only for the owner’s occasional pleasure and subsequently preserving the purity of the dial. But given how gorgeously finished the tourbillon cage is, I can understand the decision to flaunt it.



NOMOS Autobahn

Never in a million years would I have thought a NOMOS would make my top 3. Don’t get me wrong, NOMOS makes great watches relative to their price point, but my main interest lies in classical haute horlogerie. Imagine my surprise when I found myself attracted to the Autobahn. In my opinion, the NOMOS design department – in collaboration with respected designer Werner Aisslinger – has done a fantastic job with the dial. I love the curved edges of the main dial and seconds sub-dial, as well as the speedometer/odometer-inspired implementation of superluminova and the triple date display. The new Autobahn comes in three variants; my favourite is the Sports Gray, pictured below with blue strips of lume on the dial and neon orange hour and seconds hand. If I were looking for a fun watch to wear, this would unabashedly be it.


Final thoughts

There are certain brands that I always keep an eye on come exhibition season, Patek Philippe and Lang & Heyne being two of them. They make the kind of watches that I thoroughly enjoy and value; the Ref. 5270P and the Anton were no-brainers for me. The NOMOS Autobahn surprised me and gave me a newfound appreciation for the brand’s modern, minimalist approach to design. It is now officially my favourite NOMOS timepiece and yes, I would wear the hell out of it. I can’t wait to see what these three manufactures have got in-store for us in the coming months and next year’s Baselworld.


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