10 Best timepieces from Baselworld 2016
Hublot's Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black
The All Black is a personal favourite for most, especially with its all black and transparent style from Hublot's iconic All Black concept. As a ten year anniversary towards the collection, the brand recently released a new piece to the collection that is "visible yet invisible to the eye."
"In the original All Black concept, the watch is visible but the time display is invisible. The Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black plays with transparency; technically it is invisible but, conversely, the time display is rendered visible. It makes our proprietary Unico movement fully and completely visible. A watch which has nothing to hide, which fully reveals its construction and its movement," says Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot.
Transferring the expertise amassed from machining very hard materials such as Magic Gold, Hublot has developed its industrial mastery of an extremely complex material, one of the hardest, most scratch-resistant and transparent in existence—sapphire. This method of machining sapphire enables Hublot to render this material—which can only be cut by diamond—more accessible, transforming its status as something unique. Transparency combined with skeleton work allows the workings of the Unico manufacture movement to be laid bare. This complete visibility means that the column wheel positioned on the dial side is now no longer the only feature of the movement which can be seen. Even the strap combines transparency with its signature all-black style, making it a worthy tribute to the pioneering and acclaimed monochrome icon.
Chanel's Monsieur de Chanel
Chanel brought their A-game this time by presenting to us the Monsieur, a watch specifically designed for men. Between power and discretion, the Monsieur de Chanel watch with Instant Jumping Hour and Retrograde Minute is equipped with the Calibre 1, the first in-house high-watchmaking movement that was designed specifically for Chanel itself.
The choice of a double complication with a digital hour display in a watchcase of extreme sobriety seemed almost self-evident as an expression of Chanel's endless quality throughout its years. In a case and crown made out of 18K beige gold and complimented by black alligator watch straps, the watch is water-resistant and weighs up to 50g in solid gold. There are also rubies located inside its internal mechanism of the Calibre 1, as well as an anti-shock system to protect the balance of the watch. How could this not make the perfect present for any lucky guy out there?
Patek Phillipe's Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300
With a fresh and distinctive appearance, the new and highly complex Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 has taken over the top position in Patek Philippe's ranking of the most complicated regularly produced wristwatches. The 20 complications of this double-face watch include five chiming functions, two of which are patented world debuts. It comes in a white-gold case with a patented reversing mechanism that allows the timepiece to be worn with either dial facing up.
Unlike its predecessor, with its breathtakingly hand-engraved rose-gold case, the latter is a limited, seven-watch edition. The new Grandmaster Chime features an inimitably 18K white-gold case with a manually guilloched hobnail motif and features a reversing mechanism integrated between the strap lugs and now belongs to Patek Philippe's regular collection. However, the process of crafting it is so time-consuming that the Ref. 6300 will also remain an exclusive rarity.
It strikes the time on three gongs: either automatically every quarter-hour with the Grande or Petite Sonnerie, accurate to the minute with the minute repeater, as an alarm that strikes the preset alarm time, or—for greater time intervals—with the date repeater that acoustically indicates the date on demand. The modes of these sonorous functions are displayed on the front dial, which also indicates the time, a second time zone, the moon phases, the date, and the power-reserve of the movement and strikework spring barrels.
The opposite side is dedicated to the perpetual calendar. Its center is a four-digit year display surrounded by four subsidiary dials: the analog date with the leap year cycle at 6 o'clock, the day of the week at 9 o'clock, the month at 3 o'clock, and the 24-hour time indication at 12 o'clock. The manually wound caliber GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM, composed of 1366 parts, ticks between the two solid-gold dials. Its energy is stored in two double spring barrels, one keeps the movement running for 72 hours and the other powers the strikework for 30 hours.
Bell & Ross' BR 03 Aero GT
"Both the BR 03 AeroGT watches and the AeroGT concept car are ultra-technical and high-performance," assures the creative director of Bell & Ross. The design studio created two variants: a chronograph embodying the very essence of the "automotive watch" and a more classical three-handed watch. These watches feature a steel case that recalls the fuselage-style body of the AeroGT project. For even greater strength, the designer boosted the proportions and shapes of these models to give them a sportier and more streamlined look. Their crowns are made using red aluminum, an extremely light alloy often used in sports cars.
The skeletonized mechanism of these BR 03 AeroGT watches has been designed to allow a glimpse through the movement while making them lighter. This reduction work can also be seen in racing cars. For these watches, the aim was to highlight the sophistication and beauty of the watch motor. The AeroGT concept car also allows its mechanics to be admired, which are housed under a smoked glass window.
A direct expression of the AeroGT concept car, this very contemporary-looking chronograph watch is the archetypal driver's watch. Its mechanism is devoted to measuring short time intervals. The skeletonized dial features metal hour-markers. The two chronograph counters on a grey-tinted crystal display the hours and half hours. Meanwhile the large hand at the center of the dial shows the seconds and is completed by a tachymeter scale to calculate the speed of a car. To ensure continued good visibility even when driving at night in a downpour, the hour-markers and hands are coated with photo luminescent material alongside red-cultured hands of the chronograph and the red aluminum start push-button.
In the wake of the AeroGT, this three-handed version is also powered by a skeletonized mechanism. It presents a central hour, minute and seconds display. The seconds' hand is cultured red, as is the small fixed triangle indicating 12 o'clock. The latter recalls the dashboard counters of GT sports cars. These two versions feature black quilted leather straps reminiscent of luxury car interiors. Their micro-perforations and red top stitching recall the seats of the best sports cars.
Corum's Golden Bridge
Corum's legendary Golden Bridge finally demonstrates its technical prowess in a classical transformation from the vertical design into round form. With stunning precision, its minuscule dimensions replicate the monumental structure of the Golden Gate Bridge. With a diameter of 43 mm, the new Golden Bridge Round is available in two models: Crafted in 18-karat rose gold without diamonds, and 18-karat rose gold set with 84 diamonds, totalling 2.14 carats.
The latest introduction to the Corum Bridges collection, the round case, waterproof to 30 metres deep, provides a 360 degree view of this extraordinary timepiece through the transparent window of the sapphire crystal, showcasing the dial and movement, and from the sides flanked by a crystalline ring. The clarity characteristic of recent Golden Bridge models puts the spotlight on the delicacy of the baguette movement, its gold bridges and plate, and reveals the exclusive design inspired by California's Golden Gate Bridge.
Harry Winston's Histoire de Tourbillon
Harry Winston reveals its seventh edition of the most legendary complication: the tourbillon. After having explored its variations - biaxial, triaxial, double or coupled with a carrousel - Harry Winston surpasses all technical limits once again by featuring two biaxial tourbillons that dance with time.
The right side of the dial features a pyramid-cut reading area that houses the hour and minute hands, surrounded by indexable inserts that form a tilted three-dimensional hour circle. Extended by a long strip in either red aluminum or anthracite, depending the version, perforated for a better view of the two biaxial tourbillons, it overlooks a power reserve indicator in roll form that is flush with a domed sapphire crystal.
The left side of the dial displays the harmonious movement of the two biaxial tourbillons. The first tourbillon cage moves into a second cage and both turn on a different axis. The two biaxial tourbillons move the escapements of the Histoire de Tourbillon 7. The tourbillon's first cage completes its rotation in 45 seconds and houses a balance wheel that is tilted 30 degrees. The tourbillon and the balance wheel remain housed in the second cage, which has a different trajectory, as it lasts 75 seconds. The two cages nested one inside the other, assume an infinite variety of positions relative to gravity—the nemesis of timekeeping.
The two tourbillons, though identical in structure, frequency and speed, have their own behaviour, due to their different positions in space. To reconcile the operation of these two rotating time-regulating bodies, the Histoire de Tourbillon 7 uses a spherical differential that optimizes performance, by connecting the two tourbillons and creating an average. The Histoire de Tourbillon 7 then leverages the accuracy of two exceptional tourbillons and extracts the best performance.
Longines' Heritage 1918
As a tribute to its long watchmaking tradition, the Swiss brand Longines loves to reissue some of the iconic pieces that have enhanced its profile throughout its existence. This 1918 model draws its inspiration from the rich history of the brand with its winged hourglass and echoes the first bracelet-chronographs created by Longines. The timepiece also features a dial that is traditionally found on pocket watches from this period, allowing it a more vintage aesthetic.
Blued steel and honey-coloured varnish impart character to the hands that stand out on a white-lacquered polished dial, which marks the hours and minutes on this reissued model. The small second hand at 6 o'clock adds dimension and contrast to the dial with its Longines' blue colour. Available in two sizes to adapt to the wrists of both men and women, the watch houses an L615 automatic winding mechanical calibre. An additional interpretation of the ladies version is adorned with a row of sparkling diamonds.
Breguet's Tradition Dame 7038
Breguet's Tradition collection welcomes a new self-winding Tradition Dame 7038 model. Women with a penchant for prestigious timepieces will undoubtedly be won over by this elegant and technical watch featuring an ultra-modern, graphic structure that exhibits almost all the movement components on either side of the mainplate.
It features a central barrel, a subdial at 12 o'clock bearing hands directly driven by the barrel, as well as a balance-wheel and intermediate wheels forming an arc stretching from 4 to 8 o'clock. The bridge bearing the escapement is reinforced by a hand-chamfered pare-chute—a Breguet invention that serves to protect the balance-staff from shocks. In terms of its display, the Tradition Dame 7038 shows the hours and minutes on a finely engine-turned Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial. These indications are discreetly complemented by the retrograde seconds engraved on the movement face at 10 o'clock.
Another distinctive feature of this ladies' timepiece lies in the finishing of its movement, with a decoration specifically designed with women in mind. The NAC treatment typical of the Tradition collection and hitherto appearing in grey, anthracite or golden rose tones, is replaced here by a frosted white movement admirably complemented by an 18-carat white gold case. Brilliant-cut diamonds delicately set on the bezel and a watch movement jewel unusually placed on the crown further contribute to the fresh, sparkling character of this Tradition Dame 7038.
Graff's MasterGraff Perpetual Calender
Graff Luxury Watches has recently just announced the launch of a new timepiece, the MasterGraff Perpetual Calendar, which features the Graff Calibre 7—a new and exclusive proprietary movement with a depth of just 7.72mm.
Featuring the highly complex Perpetual Calendar complication, the intricate openwork dial enables the wearer to view the day, date and month, which appear in a fluid horizontal line.
The two discs indicating the days and months are crafted using a highly-complex scientific electroforming process which creates the matter for the discs, resulting in a mesmerising skeletonised effect. A specially formulated resin positioned around and above the date has been treated to give it a translucent appearance, which shrouds the inner workings of the timepiece with an enthralling effect. A dial indicating leap years also features and if the timepiece remains wound, it is not necessary for the date to be adjusted until 2100.
The tourbillon cage which completes one revolution in precisely 60 seconds is a new design for Graff and has three Icon-inspired spokes, with the inverted Icon motif on one tip indicating the second hand. A true feat of engineering and technical prowess, a 22 carat gold, offset rotor with a depth of just 2.4mm has been skillfully integrated into the calibre and can be clearly viewed on the reverse of the watch. The MasterGraff Perpetual Calendar also incorporates features synonymous with Graff's DNA including a striking faceted bezel, an Icon perfectly positioned at 12 o'clock and a diamond set crown.
Omega Speedmaster "CK2998" Limited Edition
First released in 1959 and has since become one of the most sought-after vintage Speedmasters in the world, the original Omega Speedmaster CK2998 has always been a favourite with its alpha hands, symmetrical case and dark bezel. This year, Omega looks to the classic model as inspiration for the new Speedmaster "CK2998" Limited Edition.
A noteworthy point to mention is the striking use of blue on all three subdials, as well as the minutes track and a polished ceramic bezel with tachymeter base scale. The tachymeter scale is also coated in Super-LumiNova for increased visibility in dark conditions. There is a blue leather strap with subtle "beige" stitching and a polished buckle. The polished and brushed stainless steel case is complemented by an opaline silvery dial that also houses a number of exquisite features.
Firstly, rhodium-plated "Alpha" hands are used for the hours and minutes, as well as on the subdials. The "lollipop" style chronograph seconds hand that were inspired by the original model are reintroduced in this timepiece, which is driven by the Omega Calibre 1861, a movement that was famously used in the very first "Moonwatch". Only 2,998 of these collectable watches have been produced and each Limited Edition number can be found on the caseback, along with an embossed Seahorse medallion, Ω logo and its "Speedmaster" name.