It’s April the 2nd. One day before the 2008 edition of Baselworld is set to go off. It’s eerily calm as Oompa-Loopas hurry around putting the final touches to the impressive booths that are the equivalent to shrines for some of the brands trying to finish up for the annual pilgrimage of customers, press and other curious onlookers to the world’s largest watch fair. And just like every year, I got to take a look around:
New booths scatter through out the fair this year with brands like Villemont making their debut
The new Oakley booth. Admiring the booth design at Basel world is the equivalent of the floats you see at a parade.
Follie Follie’s new watch made with Corian material
The D&G Booth
The Breil Booth. For those not in the know, The Binda Group of Italy is the company behind the D&G watches, Breil, Tribe by Breil and now Wyler
Another Year, Another Basel World. We’re currently at Basel, Switzerland covering the watch world’s annual pilgrimage to the Swiss Mecca of Watches – Basel World 2006. Over the next 24 hours we will be posting images and news from the exhibition so stay tuned.
Put together a nationwide competition where you ask emerging innovators to depict the future of seamless mobility, and you are bound to have a scenario or two where the wristwatch retains its mantle as the interface of choice. Take the MOTOFWRD competition for example, one of their finalist enteries involves a swiss army equivalent gadget that combines your phone, GPS system, credit card and pda into one special inteface that combines a specially-equipped glasses and a wristwatch. (Read in Detail (PDF))
Each year, for the last five years, an international jury of watch experts from all walks of the industry gather together and select the year’s best in 10 categories from a short-listed collection of timepieces by the world’s most prestigious watchmakers.
Prix de ‘L’Aiguille d’Or’ (Winner) : Vacheron Constantin, Tour de l’lle
This year, Vacheron Constantin took top prize for their Tour de l’lle which sold for a record $1.5 million in an auction this year. This was the most ever paid for a wristwatch.
Richard Mille, Starck, The Richard Mille by Philippe Starck, Automatic Caliber RM 005-1. Unique Model 1/1.
Estimated Value : 90,000 EUR – 120,000 EUR Price Sold: 285,000 EUR
34 of the world’s celebrated watchmakers produced 34 original first edition watches for a charity auction at the Monte Carlo Yacht Show. Called the “Only Watch 2005″, the auction raised € 1,907,000 for medical research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrohy, a genetic illness which affects 1 in every 3,500 children each year.
The most noteworthy watch on auction was Richard Mille’s collaboration with Philippe Starck (RM 005-1) which sold for 285,000 EUR, despite it’s estimate at 120,000 EUR. This marked Starck’s first foray into the haute horlogerie category.
The biggest development this year at Basel was Seiko. The company had been slowly positioning itself over the years as an upmarket brand (i.e. Opening a Seiko Center in St-Germain des Pres in Paris so that they could rub shoulders with the likes of Cariter, Swarowski and Louis Vuitton) and all its efforts gained momentum this year. While watch brands usually maintain the same booth every year, Seiko renewed theirs this year with a more open and interative exhibit. All part of their plan to launch the new Seiko Spring Drive with as much fanfare as possible.
Spring Drive is Seiko’s new innovative movement that combines the precision of quartz and the structure of the mechanical watch. It took them 28 years, 600 prototypes of 13 different generations to reach the final version.
Also, buried under the Spring Drive announcement was Seiko’s world’s first electronic paper watch that is a ultra-thin, low-power display that is flexible as a paper. E-paper has been in development for quite some time now and I’ve been expecting a E-paper watch for the last five years, so kudos to Seiko for doing it first.
This year’s biggest miss is Chopard that won the “Don’t know when to stop” award by taking their Kinder surprise watch a little too far. Honestly, how many variations are they going to make of their Snowflake watch (I’ve already seen one too many)