The watch season traditionally begins in January with the SIHH watch salon in Geneva and reaches its climax in March with Baselworld. The world’s largest watch fair runs for eight days. In Basle alone some 4,400 journalists throng around over 300 exhibiting watch brands. Which means everything we need to know about the new products will make its way into the media coverage. We’ve asked Alexander Pfeffer, watch expert for the magazine Wirtschaftsblatt Deluxe, to summarize for us which trends he has brought back with him from Switzerland.
- Retro, vintage, heritage. The good old days are now a trend in the watch industry, too. Never before have so many watch brands rummaged around in their archives and reissued old classics. One of these reincarnated highlights is the Omega Speedmaster CK 2998 – needless to say, brought up to date both aesthetically and technically. The cumbersome name has been given a new meaning for 2016: the new edition is limited to 2998 pieces. Retro fans will also be delighted with the new version of the iconic Oris pocket watch, which first went on sale 50 years ago. The new Oris Divers Sixty-Five has the vintage appearance of the 1960s original on the outside, but there’s 21st-century watch technology on the inside. Anniversaries always provide the perfect excuse for a special edition, and Chopard is no exception: 40th years since the first ever “Happy Diamonds” watch, the brand has indulged in opulent haute joaillerie pieces called “Precious Couture”. Price on request, naturally. Bulgari, too, is reissuing a watch that wraps twice around the wearer’s arm in homage to a past Serpenti model. The eyes are made of emeralds and rubies, the snakeskin decorated with diamonds.
- Bronze. This metal is enjoying a boom in the world of watches, perhaps because it is reminiscent of elements from the shipbuilding of yore. The trend was initially triggered by Panerai; Bell & Ross – and above all Tudor with its Black Bay Bronze (incidentally in the heritage vein, see above) – hit the big time in Basle. This diver’s watch with a 43 mm case incorporates historic design elements from the brand’s own past. The dial and the domed glass have been borrowed from Tudor’s first diver’s watches. Fans will also recognize the distinctive Big Crown winding crown and the angular hands.
- Fashion. Chanel has brought out its first men’s model to be met with praise from experts. Louis Vuitton was absent from Basle this year; the label has of course designed new models – such as the Blossom Watch – but they are being presented elsewhere. What was striking in Geneva and in Basle was the sheer presence of the fashion industry: a result of the increasing number of design co-operations. Hublot has collaborated with Berlutti for a new model; IWC with Santoni for its leather straps; Jaeger-LeCoultre with Christian Louboutin. For the 85th anniversary of the Reverso, the luxury shoemaker has designed a customizable variant of the cult classic with a variety of watchstraps and faces.