The best new watches from Baselworld 2018
by Zoe Dickens
The annual Baselworld watch fair took place in the Swiss city from March 22-27, 2018 bringing with it a huge range of new collections, models and fine timepieces for collectors to covet. With many of the world’s top fine watch houses in attendance, we bring you our edit of the watches to see and be seen in this year…
Baselworld 2018 was a big event for Breguet. Alongside announcing a new long-term partnership with ocean conservation organisation Race for Water, the brand debuted an entirely new range of Marine watches. Extending upon its first Marine timepiece, which was launched in 2017, the collection draws on the brand’s history as the official chronometer maker to the French Royal Navy and features three models with in-house movements.
All available with either leather or rubber straps, reference 5517 (left) offers date display at three o’clock while the reference 5527 (centre) boasts a central chronograph and with subdials for hours, minutes and small seconds. For frequent flyers, however, the Marine Alarme Musicale 5547 (right) is the model to choose thanks to its second timezone, alarm function and power reserve. All models are available in white and rose gold while references 5517 and 5527 also come in titanium.
Chanel’s new collection includes everything from a modern pocket watch to a chronometer table clock but, as you might expect of the famed French fashion house, it was the brand’s black tie timepieces that really stood out. For 2018 Chanel expanded its Monsieur de Chanel line, the house’s first for men introduced in 2016, with a number of pieces including this limited edition beige gold watch featuring the same motif as the latest L’Espirit du Lion high jewellery collection. The unusual design offers a 240-degree retrograde minute dial and jumping hour window.
For women the hugely popular Boyfriend design gets an haute horology upgrade with a skeletonised calibre 3 movement and crystal caseback – ideal for those who like to truly appreciate the details of their timepieces. Opt for the beige gold and diamond version for some classic Chanel glamour.
Japanese watchmaker Grand Seiko celebrates the 20th anniversary of its classic calibre 9S movement in 2018. Highly prized for its high accuracy, long power reserve and durability, Grand Seiko has created three limited edition watches to mark this important moment in the brand’s history. The gold and steel editions feature the calibre 9S85 with the former available as a run of 150 and the latter as 1,500. Grand Seiko has also created a 20-piece platinum version housing a special V.F.A. (Very Fine Adjusted) version of the movement boasting accuracy of +3 to -1 seconds per day.
Ever the innovator, Hublot presented a huge selection of new watches at Baselworld 2018 which all cemented the brand’s reputation as a leader in the modern horology field. One of these innovations came in the form of the Big Bang Unico Red Magic created from the first vibrantly coloured ceramic used in watchmaking – a patented material developed in Hublot’s research and development department.
Hublot also used the occasion of Baselworld to debut its first foray into the world of smartwatches. The Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia was developed to be worn by referees at the upcoming World Cup and is equipped with cutting-edge goal line technology. The fan version is limited to 2,018 pieces and, along with all the usual functions of a connected watch, features a special application offering wearers real-time updates from all the matches at the 2018 World Cup. Finally, Hublot’s key offering for women came in the form of a new Big Bang One Click created entirely from transparent sapphire and set with diamonds. As with all One Click timepieces, interchangeable straps are available in delicate shades of pink and blue.
One of the key pieces to look out for on the wrists of true watch collectors this year will be TAG Heuer’s new Monaco timepiece created in collaboration with George Bamford. Famous for his customisations of watch icons, Bamford has reinterpreted TAG’s distinctive square Monaco design with a full black dial and aqua blue chronograph dials housed in a lightweight carbon case. The brand’s Connected Modular line, a hugely popular iteration of the standard smartwatch, has also been given a design upgrade for 2018. The newest version comes in white gold set with 23.35 carats of baguette diamonds complete with a calibre 5 mechanical dial module set with a further 72 diamonds. As with all Connected Modular timepieces, the dial element can be exchanged for either a different mechanical module or a smart module compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
While Omega’s new launches for 2018 are numerous, for yachties it is three new iterations of the classic Seamaster that are the need-to-knows. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Diver 300M the entire range has been given a facelift with a larger 42mm version, calibre 8800 Master Chronometer movement and mixed metal case options now available. The classic wave dial pattern has also been reintroduced on the Diver 300M alongside gracing the beautiful Aqua Terra Jewellery line. While more models are set to be unveiled soon, the range’s initial release is crafted in 18 carat gold with ruby indices and a diamond bezel with a calibre 8807 Master Chronometer movement.
Collectors will also find much to love in the Seamaster 1948 limited editions. Marking 70 years since Omega supplied timepieces to the British Ministry of Defence, the limited editions are available in small seconds and central seconds versions, in accordance with the original models, with the caseback of each featuring illustrations of a Chris-Craft boat and Gloster Meteor aircraft. Each will be made as a run of 1,948 pieces.