2019 was an important year for Baselworld, marking the transition from an annual industry event to a year-round ‘marketing and communications platform.’ Of course, it also gave watch lovers one of the best weeks of the year. Here are four of our picks from this year’s show.
Rolex steel and gold Sea-Dweller
Rolex’s grand release at this year’s show was, well, grand. Though not an all-new release, the Rolex 2019 Sea-Dweller is an upgraded version of the classic Sea-Dweller that was showcased in 2017, but has now been launched in an Oystersteel and Yellow Gold configuration. In a 43mm case, the watch houses a black dial with large hands and indices reserved for professional models. In an interesting contrast, the word ‘Sea-Dweller’ is inscribed in yellow on the black dial. It has a solid-link bracelet in Oystersteel, with an Oysterlock safety clasp. The watch is powered by the calibre 3235, which is manufactured and developed by Rolex. And since it’s a Sea-Dweller, the watch has a 60-minute graduated, unidirectional rotatable bezel to help divers monitor their decompression time with absolute precision. In terms of design and appeal, well… it’s a Rolex. Need I say more?
Tag Heuer Autavia Isograph Chronometer
Originally conceived as a dual-purpose watch for motorsports and aviation, the Autavia name has come a long way. At this year’s Baselworld, TAG Heuer launched a new Autavia – the first non-chronograph watch to wear that name – marking a break with tradition. The 42mm round case has slimmer lugs than other Autavias on the market, and a sapphire crystal glass with double anti-reflective treatment. The presence of the rotating bezel and an oversized crown is reminiscent of vintage Autavia watches. Marked with Arabic numerals, the dial is available in three colours – blue, grey and brown-green. The date display, meanwhile, is conspicuously located at 6 o’clock. Inside the watch resides the automatic Calibre 5 movement, featuring a carbon composite hairspring that has been developed internally by TAG Heuer to ensure improved performance.
Zenith Defy Inventor
This watch intends to commercialise the revolutionary Zenith Oscillator – a single silicon component that replaced 30 different parts – that was at the heart of the Zenith Defy Lab concept presented in 2017. Well, the Oscillator is not only technologically impressive but also hypnotically engrossing to see. With a 44mm diameter and 14.5mm thickness, the watch’s case is made of titanium and has an Aeronith bezel. The open-worked blue dial looks as busy as is possible, but it’s not distracting by any means. Its Super-LumiNova indices and hands further add to its captivating look. Embellished with 18 jewels, the watch is powered by the Zenith calibre 9100 and offers 50 hours of power reserve. The functions of the watch, however, are limited to hours, minutes and seconds – essentially, it only tells the time. Its rubber strap, with alligator leather inserts and titanium double-folding buckle, really make it come together as an elegant, mechanical timepiece.
Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton
Another watch that grabbed our attention at this year’s Baselworld was none other than the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton – a watch that celebrates the collaboration between the style and elegance of a Swiss watchmaker and brilliant engineering of the recently revived British motorcycle brand, Norton. With a 42mm steel case, the watch has a look that can be instantly described as cool and charismatic. The crystal is cambered sapphire and has been glare-proofed on both sides. Powered by the Breitling calibre 01, it offers around 70 hours of power reserve. The left side of the case features a distinctive Norton logo engraved on it, while the transparent case-back has the Norton motorcycle and logo inscribed on it. This COCS-certified chronometer is water resistant up to 10 bar. Featuring 41 jewels and a back dial with silver contrasting fields for permanent seconds and a 30-minute totalizer and with Super-LumiNova hour and minute hands, the watch looks both old-school and modern at the same time.