For any seasoned watch enthusiast or collector, the unveiling of a brand’s new collections at Switzerland’s annual trade shows such as SIHH and Baselworld is as exciting as the runway shows during Fashion Week. Throughout the course of the week, the ‘ones to watch’ tend to emerge amongst the buzz on social media – whether these pieces become enduring collector’s items remains to be seen. We round-up a few of the notable new releases from this year’s Baselworld.
The Rolex/Tudor Pepsi GMT
In what appeared to be a game of spot the difference, Rolex and Tudor both released ‘Pepsi’ versions of a GMT. The original Rolex GMT-Master was developed for airline pilots travelling on long-haul flights, juggling multiple time zones. The GMT refers to ‘Greenwich Mean Time’ and the ‘Pepsi’ refers to the dual-coloured bezel in red and blue. Since its release the GMT Master has become somewhat of a favourite amongst collectors and has appeared in various iterations – the ‘coke’ (black and red), the ‘root beer’ (brown and gold) and the ‘batman’ (blue and black) – with the Pepsi remaining the most popular amongst fans. Although both watches appear to be very similar there are of course significant differences – the Rolex bezel is fashioned from high-technology ceramic (Cerachrom) – the Tudor bezel is made from anodized aluminium. The Rolex dial is black lacquer and comes in Rolex’s Oystersteel with a jubilee bracelet whereas the Tudor version is offered in a chunkier riveted steel bracelet and also has nato strap options. Whilst some fans have questioned the motives for such a similar offering from the same group, the lovely thing about it is that it offers an in-house manufactured caliber GMT watch across a range of price points.
Patek Philippe….take your pick
It’s safe to say there were a number of timepieces from amongst the Patek Philippe 2018 novelties that were talking points. The 37.5mm Calatrava in rose gold with black dial is a wonderful new addition with unisex appeal. The 7150_250R ‘ladies’ chronograph has been re-worked and now comes with a round face, a diamond-set 38mm bezel and is designed to be manually wound. Both the Aquanaut and the Nautilus – two of the more ‘casual’ watches in the Patek Philippe stable came equipped with complicated movements but a personal favourite was the 5738R-001 ‘jumbo’ Golden Ellipse. Presented in a 39.5mm size with rose gold case, the appeal of this timepiece is in its simplicity – the warm glow of the gold contrasts perfectly with the deep ebony of the sunburst dial, finished with delicated hour markers and hands.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 2018
Love it or hate it, this watch was probably one of the most talked about upon release. The Daytona’s signature tachymetric-scaled bezel is replaced with a scintillating selection of rainbow coloured sapphires, set in perfect aesthetic symmetry. The dial also features 11 baguette-cut sapphire hour markers, each paired perfectly with its counterpoint colour on the bezel. Complemented with Rolex’s signature Everose gold, the timepiece doesn’t compromise on technicity, maintaining its waterproof rating to 100 metres, not to mention the perpetual, self-winding chronograph movement.
Tag Heuer Monaco X Bamford
This timepiece marks the first official collaboration between Tag Heuer and Bamford Watch Department – leaders in luxury watch customization. The watch takes on the iconic Monaco lines with its 39mm square case, reinterpreted by the BWD in solid carbon – making it both incredibly lightweight and highly durable. Bamford’s style signifier comes in the form of aqua blue chronograph counters, indices and date window. The result is a resolutely modern timepiece but more than that, a testament to forward-looking spirit of Tag Heuer as they embrace the modern flair that this collaboration affords them.
Chopard Happy Sport Palm
Part of Chopard’s iconic Happy Sport collection, which celebrates its 25th birthday this year, the Happy Sport Palm is the result of the brand’s collaboration with some of its most talented artisans in order to create 25-piece limited editions that showcase prestigious artistic crafts. As official partner to the Cannes Film Festival, Chopard has drawn inspiration from the Palme d’Or – the festival’s trophy – by delicately reproducing palm leaves on the dial of the Happy Sport Palm using the ancestral Japanese art of maki-e (translated ‘sprinkled image’) combined with Urushi lacquering techniques. Even the movement of the watch is adorned with palm motifs, using 19th century Fleurisanne engraving methods. The Happy Palm is paired with an alligator leather strap coated with 24-carat gold or entirely set with diamond.
Breitling Navitimer 1 – 38mm
Bearing all the hallmarks of the iconic Navitimer family, this newly launched reference that draws on its iconic design codes whilst offering a smaller case size for more universal appeal. Other small differences include the absence of chronograph subdials for a cleaner dial and a newly-designed beaded and ratcheted bidirectional bezel that lends an air of elegance to the watch. With a powerful 40 hour power reserve and a COSC certified movement, this is a timepiece guaranteed to look stylish on your wrist for longer.