For Baselworld 2014, Zenith updated it’s El Primero and it’s aviation related heritage series, the Pilot collection. The first of the trio is called the El Primero Lightweight and the name refers to the weight of the watch which has been reduced by the selective use of materials i.e. This means titanium for the movement bridges, silicon for the level and escape-wheel which not only is lighter (three and a half times lighter than classic alloys), its harder than steel, eliminating the need for lubricating the movement and is both anti-magnetic (movements are affects by magnets) and corrosion-resistant. And that’s the end of your material lesson for this write-up.
El Primero Synopsis
El Primero Synopsis
The case is carbon and aluminium with titanium push pieces and crown. The El Primero Synopsis, on the other hand, is a more classic and refined update to the line.
Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu
And the final release is the Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu which is a large 60mm limited edition watch that’s limited to 10 pieces only. It houses a movement entirely chased and engraved by hand which also is a vintage design from the 1960s called the Calbre 5011K.
It was a big deal back in it’s time – When it was released, it beat every existing precision record in its category and Neuchatel Observatory, awarded it the title of the most precise chronometer ever presented.
For 2014, HYT reached new versions of the H2 watch. For the uninitiated, The HYT is known for combining a traditional mechanical movement with a liquid indicator for the hours. The H2 is a more limited high-end version of the original model. There will be three limited versions of it for 2014. They’ve also reached other skus for the original H1 as well.
Baselworld likes journalists. They take care of them with a shiny new press area, free food and other amenities. They even have a media day a day before the event. Journalists like them too. Four thousand of them showed up for this year’s opening, ensuring that millions of images of the fair streamed throughout the world. These images were in color. This year, I thought i’d change it up and capture the spirit of the fair in black and white instead.
A few minutes into my conversation at their Baselworld booth, Alex, the European distributor for the brand Linde Werderlin, tells me about how the brand sold ten percent of its entire year’s production on instagram. This is a bit incredulous given that the average Linde Werderlin sells for a five figure amount. The most expensive in the range goes for upwards of USD 48,000.
Further inquiry does little to budge my eyebrow. It remains arched high. They have 60,000+ followers, he explains. They hold a deposit of one third of the value on their credit card and send them the watch to try out. If they aren’t impressed, they can return it.
I’m impressed and it’s this fresh approach that pervades the brand – whether it’s their communication strategy or their watches. They have gone into a wristwatch category for high-end diver and sports watches and flipped the script – Instead of making a wristwatch work harder, they have created a luxury wristwatch where once you want to use it in an extreme environment, be it diving or skiing, you add a digital module to it. In the words of one of it’s founders – “Analogue is the best way to read time; Digital is how you assimilate technical details.”
The brand has two main wristwatches with various variations and special editions within those families – The Spidospeed and the Oktopus. And there are two modules – The Reef for divers and The Rock for skiers.
The Reef has multiple sensors, an advanced 3-axis compass, alarm systems and other advanced systems for the diver, and the Rock keep its wearer informed about different temperatures at various altitudes. It also features a 3-axis compass, chronograph, inclination sensor with avalanche warnings and weather trends with a barometer function. Sounds very useful indeed.
The Spiodospeed Rose Gold Black. Limited to 99 pieces only.
At this year’s Basel event, they had released the Spidospeeds in two styles and the Oktopus Moonlite which uses a custom material called ALW and it looks a lot more intriguing in person then the rendering available to me.
The Oktopus Moonlite
In case you’re interested, ALW stands for Alloy Linde Werdelin which is an aluminium, zirconium and magnesium alloy developed for Linde Werdelin. It is supposed to be half the weight of titanium and twice as hard as steel.
The Spidospeed Green. Limited to 99 pieces only.
The Spidospeeds contain a bespoke skeletonized movement and the Oktopus Moonlite has a 2892 Eta movement with an in-house complication. Retail price is set at 32,000 CHF and 21,000 CHF for the Spidospeeds respectively and 18,000 CHF for the Oktopus. The Spidospeeds are limited edition of 99 pieces each.
The greatest wristwatch story has got to be the one about the first moon landing. In July of 1969, two NASA astronauts became the first human beings ever to set foot on the moon. What they wore on their wrist has been the crown-jewel for Omega. Strapped around Buzz Aldrin’s spacesuit was an Omega Speedmaster professional chronograph. Neil, the other astronaut, had left his own Speedmaster aboard the Lunar Landing Module as a reliable backup to the electronic timekeeping system.
It’s 45 years since and in order to salute to this milestone, Omega’s launched a 45th Anniversary limited edition complete with an outer circle engraving that reads “FLIGHT QUALIFIED BY NASA FOR ALL MANNED SPACE MISSIONS.”
The other big news for Omega, probably a lot more important was their new upgrade to their watch movements that feature a anti-magnetic ability. Mechanical watches tend to be sensitive to magnets and a lot of watches deal with it by relying on a protective container inside the watch-case. Well, the new Omega Master Co-Axial movement is proper anti-magnetic – it uses a selection of non-ferromagnetic materials (translation: magnet proof) in the movement itself. The movement is supposed to resist magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss/1.5 tesla. Omega intends to have all of their watches equipped with this soon.
Omega’s Speedmaster Mark II
Other releases included a revamped Speedmaster Mark II, a staple diver’s watch from Omega’s stable that’s been given a makeover i.e. new materials and the new anti-magnetic movement; The De Ville Tresor with a new calibre movement, The De Ville Prestige Butterfly and then Constellation Pluma which is a new 27mm addition to the Consellation family.
Omega Seamaster 300
The Constellation Pluma
And finally, Omega’s hopped into jewelry with “Dewdrop”.
At this year’s fair, Patek Philippe presented its first timepiece to combine a dual time zone with a chronograph which is cased in a Nautilus designed case. The Nautilus design was first launched in 1976 and was inspired by the shape of a porthole. Hence, the new watch is christened the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph.
They use architects to design booth space! – The new Philippe booth featuring a cube of light was designed by renowned architect Ottavio Di Blasi.
I’ve seen the H. Moser & Cie watch before and I came across it again this year and I must say that even though this is a simple pared down watch, there is something to be said for the typography of its logo because it certainly makes the watch. At least for me. What do you think?
Women are getting a lot of love this Baselworld. This time its from Christophe Claret. They’ve created a unique mechanical complication called Margot where the petals animate in response to a button, creating a fun memorable piece for those who can afford it. The price was not available but the watch is limited to 4 limited series of 20 units.
The things they do to sell a watch – Bell&Ross, the purveyor of aviation dashboard aesthetics, have extended their current winning streak with a concept bike. Mind you, all jokes aside, I really do love the BR watch range and this is a very clever marketing move so I approve. From what I understand this is not their first bike but this is certainly the first to catch my attention – They collaborated (again) with Shaw Harley-Davidson Speed and Custom to create a custom motorcycle that is inspired by the speed bikes and experimental aviation of the 1960s. So in other words, something that is half-way between nostalgia lane and futurism.
The B-Rocket Limited Edition watches
Packaged Along side this custom bike are two limited edition wristwatches – The BR01 & BR03 B-Rocket. They’re limited to 500 pieces. Other updates to the brand included a ceramic version of the successful BR series and a heritage edition watch called the WW1 Guynemer which pays tribute to a pilot from the first world war.
For Baselworld 2014, Tagheuer updated its line-up and released a new version of the Monaco V4 Tourbillon. For those who remain uninitiated, The Monaco is a tourbillon mechanical watch that you uses belts instead of gears. The first series in this range was sold in gold, platinum and titanium and now in black titanium coating. Tag hopes that this release would help them reach their milestone of the 500th Monaco V4 sold by the end of the year which would also mark the 10th anniversary for this watch. Why is this significant, you ask? Because this remains the most expensive wristwatch in Tag’s entire line-up. It’s currently available for approximately 169,000 USD.
Other updates included new colors and skus for the Carrera series of wristwatches and the Tag Meridiist phone. For the phone, Tagheuer has launched a version called the Meridiist Infinite which is able to maintain its charge level on standby mode by using natural or artificial light source to charge itself.
The Bvlgari Roma commemorating 130 years with a 130 unit limited edition.
2014 makes 130 years for Bulgari and so not only have they updated their existing successful line-up with among others, an Octo watch featuring the world’s thinnest tourbillon, a special edition commemorating 130 years in the business and a new ladies wristwatch.
The new ladies watch is called the Lvcea. It features a cabonchon cut gemstone for a crown with a diamond on top, though there is very little that is new here, for example, the design of the band references an earlier band from the Bvlgari collection, Serpenti.
The Octo Finissimo
The Octo Finissimo Tourbillon
The Octo Finissimo is the new slim edition of the Octo series. One of which contains the thinnest tourbillon movement which is approximately 1.95mm thick.