The best of Baselworld 2017

Words by
Jemima Sissons

24th March 2017

Baselworld this year is full of innovations, new trends and exciting collaborations. Here are some of the highlights from the three days so far

Art Of Fusion - Magic Gold
Art Of Fusion - Magic Gold

Art Of Fusion - Magic Gold

As ever, the stakes are high in the watch world, but there is plenty of food for thought at this year's show. There is a big trend for brown and bronze watches. From the stunning Hermès Impatient Hour, to the delicate ladies Blancpain Villeret Date Moon Phases in red gold with a beige strap, along with Patek Philippe's dazzling 5062R in rose gold set with diamonds on a taupe strap and the Glasshütte Pavonina with mother of pearl dial.

Hublot's collaboration with Naples tailor Rubinacci created the stand out Classic Fusion Chronograph Italia Independent, with a fashion forward brown and houndstooth pattern. Breitling’s macho Navitimer Rattrapante bronze coloured timepiece also channelled the trend.

Big Bang One Click Italia Independent
Big Bang One Click Italia Independent

Big Bang One Click Italia Independent

Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire
Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire

Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire

Big Bang Unico Red Sapphire
Big Bang Unico Red Sapphire

Big Bang Unico Red Sapphire

Spirit of Big Bang Moonphase
Spirit of Big Bang Moonphase

Spirit of Big Bang Moonphase

This year also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Chanel Première. This iconic watch whose face echoes the shape of the Place Vendôme (and the bottle top of Chanel No.5) is memorialised with a new red version, the Première Rock, with a dainty face and a double strap. Or with a lighthearted nod to street art, the Mademoiselle J12 is resplendent with a model of Coco Chanel depicting the hours and minute hands.

NOMOS_Club_Campus_group
NOMOS Club Campas

NOMOS Club Campas

NOMOS Glashütte has some interesting new models aimed at attracting a younger audience; the Club Campus Series are priced at a reasonable 1000 CFH and come with a back that can be engraved - perfect for a graduation present. 

5062_450R_001
The Patek Philippe 5062/450R-001 in rose gold featuring 160 snow set brilliant cut diamonds and 88 baguette diamonds on the dial

The Patek Philippe 5062/450R-001 in rose gold featuring 160 snow set brilliant cut diamonds and 88 baguette diamonds on the dial

Women’s watches have got some showstoppers this year, including the Grand Soir Botanic from Dior, with over 200 different parts alone on the dial, and floral motifs resplendent with a stunning snow setting. At Harry Winston, they have created a masterpiece, the Premier Precious Weaving Automatic 36mm, with raw silk woven with mother of pearl and threads of gold, limited to thirty pieces. Graff continues to innovate with their statement earrings this year, some that skim the shoulder, and jewellery inspired watches. Custom-cut stones are also abundant and a showstopper is their emerald and sapphire collection, juxtaposing the two stones.

Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph
Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph

Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph

Meanwhile, Mr Jean-Claude Biver announced on Thursday his intention to stay another seven years at the helm of the LVMH watch group, in charge of Tag HEUER, Hublot and now Zenith. In an animated press conference, he drove home his message that the brand will need to move forward into the future, and he will be holding weekly rigorous meetings using the best brains from the LVMH watch stable. “We must bring the past into the future. We must connect to tomorrow. We must not become a museum brand,” he said.

Mr Biver said that 20% of the company’s turnover would be directed towards research and development, with a focus on making the most accurate movements in the group. “We need a technological revolution at Zenith, embracing the best ideas of TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith. Our creativity and inventions will do their own marketing,” he explained.

MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis Titanium
MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis Titanium

MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis Titanium

The ebullient chronographer put on a fun-filled party last night held by Hublot to celebrate Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, and their ongoing partnership (new Hublot releases pictured top of page); it was only a shame we couldn’t stay for the Depeche Mode concert after the dinner. It was back for an early night as we bade farewell to Mr Biver.

As ever, his delicious cheese from the stand provides fuel for the lengthy days of back-to-back meetings, although the Ladurée macarons from Harry Winston and the Graff chocolates and Champagne have kept us going amply too, as we race around the fair, searching for the finest timepieces of the coming year.