After two years of uncertainty whether Breitling would continue at Baselworld or not, the Swiss luxury watch brand has finally opted to leave Baselworld as of next year. Breitling now in the reigns of Georges Kern —former CEO for Richemont’s IWC—, has decided that is better to showcase in its own format for 2020. In the words of Michel Loris-Melikoff —Managing Director of Baselworld—: “We very much regret that Breitling will not be exhibiting at Baselworld 2020. However, there have been very constructive and cooperative discussions with the watch manufacturer in recent weeks.” In 2020, Breitling will be relying on its previously launched Summit platform to which dealers, the media and collectors will be invited.
Baselworld 2019: Urwerk UR-T8 Colibri Unique Piece in Collaboration with Emmanuel Esposito. Live Pictures & Price.
Emmanuel Esposito is the creator of extraordinary art knives and the collaborator involved in the release of the new Urwerk UR-T8 Colibri just unveiled at Baselworld 2019. This unique piece that is sold accompanied by an art knife by Esposito is a very elaborate piece of horology with the most unique look. Esposito’s passion for knives started at an early age back home in Italy. He developed his distinctive and unique style over the years, using high-tech materials like carbon fiber and metal alloys along with traditional materials like gold and mother of pearl. When URWERK approached him with an offer to work together, and showed him the UR-T8, he said yes unhesitatingly and decided to create a one-off matching knife for the watch.
Renowned Argentinean soccer player Leo Messi was Audemars Piguet’s ambassador since 2010 and the brand released three Royal Oak Chronographs in his honor back in 2012. In 2014, Messi was still visiting the Audemars Piguet manufacture around 2014 and who knows what happened since them, but somehow that close friendship and relationship ended. All that we know, is that Messi loves watches and he is now partnering with Jacob & Co. and Jacob Arabo. Right before Baselworld 2019, Jacob & Co. presented the first watch from their relationship with Leo Messi and we were finally able to check it out during Baselworld last week.
The Breitling Navitimer ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition is the fist time that the brand has brought back a reference from the past and do a reissue to the smallest detail possible. In 1952, Breitling developed the Navitimer for air pilots to be able to do flight calculations with an innovative slide rule positioned around the dial. The new Navitimer ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition, celebrates one of the most iconic Navitimers released exactly 60 years ago. A flawless execution that that replicates the early Navitimer ref. 806 to the smallest detail including its acrylic —plexiglas— crystal.
Originally released in 2018, the Angelus U50 Diver Tourbillon was the brand’s first diver’s watch. With a high level of skeletonization of its movement allowing for maximum transparency and an incredible view of all of its components. Now, along with the release of the Angelus U50 Diver Tourbillon Black Edition comes the new Angelus U51 Diver Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve in a colorful combination of orange and stormy blue. The U51 Diver Tourbillon maintains the same proportions at 45 mm as its predecessor the U50 Diver, in a titanium case that has been slightly redesigned to differentiate it from its U50 siblings.
Continuing with their partnership with the F1 Renault team, Bell & Ross presented the BR-X1 R.S. 19 Chronograph along with three other Renault Chronographs during Baselworld 2019 to mark the fourth year of involvement with this racing team. The new Bell & Ross BR-X1 R.S. 19 is an absolute racing inspired machine that brings the magic of an F1 racing car into a timepiece. Available in a limited edition of 250 pieces this skeletonized chronograph charged with the Renault team yellow racing color is for sure going to be a success.
The Breitling Superocean collection is one of the most successful and representative watch lines from this brand. Now under the reigns of former IWC President Georges Kern the brand has gone through an interesting transformation, with some good releases and others we don’t like so much. However, the new Superocean Collection unveiled during Baselworld 2019 was a solid home run in our opinion. The new collection not only reflects the brand’s diving DNA very well, but also takes into consideration the so many different wrist sizes around the world and delivers a solid offering with five different sizes to please almost everyone.
When we thought we’ve seen it all when it comes to Greubel Forsey, then they keep rising the bar even higher. What we can only describe as the pinnacle of the art of watchmaking, brings the new Greubel Forsey GMT Quadruple Tourbillon. Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have chosen to revisit their second invention and to take it even further by combining it with their legendary multiple time zone display GMT. Available in a total limited edition of 66 pieces with 11 in white gold —just released—, the new Greubel Forsey GMT Quadruple Tourbillon features a case measuring 46.5 mm by 17.45 mm in thickness.
A total newcomer and not just another color variation of Tudor’s Black Bay line. The new Tudor Black Bay P01 takes its inspiration from a prototype presented to the U.S. Navy in the late 1960s and that never went into production. The name of said prototype was Montre Plongeur “Commando.” The new Black Bay P01 is equipped with a bezel system that was patented in 1968. This blocking bezel system via the end link at 12 o’clock, allowed for the wearer to lock, turn or disassemble the bezel for cleaning. This watch is an interesting release for Baselworld 2019 and one that is better looking in person than in pictures. A robust and very solid watch with a sporty and somewhat military feel to it.
The first Chronograph from De Bethune came out in 2006 and it was an instant sensation with its five central hands. In 2014, the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon came out and then in 2017, it was revisited as the DB28 Maxichrono. This year at Baselworld 2019, a new iteration of the Maxichrono made its appearance with the DB21 Maxichrono Re-Edition in a limited edition of 10 pieces. One of our favorite mono-pusher chronographs out there, the De Bethune DB21 Maxichrono features a mono-pusher 24-hour chronograph with five hands on the central pinion and concentric chrono totallizers that go all the way from the center of the dial to the periphery.
Joining three other World Time watches available from Patek Philippe comes the new ref. 5231J in yellow gold. in 2016, Patek Philippe presented the new World Time ref. 5230 replacing all previous models. The changes at the time included subtly reworking the case, the dial, and the hand designs. Two years ago, Patek Philippe released the World Time ref. 5131P in platinum with rice bead platinum bracelet and the watch was an absolute success. Now, this year at Baselworld 2019, the 5231J in 5N yellow gold joins its siblings the 5231G and 5231R in 5N white and rose gold respectively.
Four years after the polarizing release of the Patek Philippe Travel Time ref. 5524G, the brand has decided to dive into the grand complication waters with the Travel Time model and has now unveiled for Baselworld 2019 a grand complication that adds a 24-hour alarm mechanism while displaying the time to which the alarm is set on a double aperture in a digital manner. The alarm signal is struck by a hammer on a classic gong and to make this possible, Patek has developed a totally new integrated movement with four patent applications filed for the alarm mechanism. The new Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time ref. 5520P is the result of five years of research and development.
Continuing with the saga of their incredible watches, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud just hit another home run with their latest release from Baselworld 2019. The new Chronomètre FB 1L is a new experimental collection, combining the in-house tourbillon movement with a new display of the age and phases of the moon in a way in which we have not seen it before. The new Chronomètre FB 1L intertwines the world of astronomy and chronometry, paying tribute to Ferdinand Berthoud’s work on chronometric precision and the calculation of longitude. It was to this end that the master watchmaker designed his famous Marine Chronometers, which inspired the creation of the FB 1L collection.
One of our favorite releases this year came from Hublot with the new Classic Fusion Ferrari GT. With a completely new case construction where the middle is suspended inside an outer caseband structure that holds the strap and the pushers for the chronograph, this new watch has a slight resemblance of the old Porsche Design ref. 3510 by IWC from the mid 80s. And this is not a bad thing. The new Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT has a lot of substance as well as forward thinking design that brings the automotive world into the equation.
Adding to the frenzy caused by the release of the GMT Master II ‘Pepsi’ last year —read about the current pricing bubble here—, a new iteration of the Rolex GMT Master II in 18K white gold was just released sporting a meteorite dial that makes it appear a lot like the rare GMT Master ref. 6542 ‘Albino’. While we are not the biggest fans when it comes to Rolex meteorite dials, we need to admit that in the metal and outside of the showcase, the watch is very nice. Now, would we take this one over the discontinued white gold ‘Pepsi’ with black dial? Absolutely, not.
Setting a fifth world record as the thinnest ever mechanical Chronograph in watchmaking history comes the new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. Endowed with a case measuring less than 7 mm in thickness, this new chronograph from Bulgari makes things even better by also adding a second complication in the form of a GMT. This integrated movement is another demonstration of Bulgari’s skills in Haute Horlogerie. The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic represents the fifth element for the collection. Neither round nor square, Octo has created its own codes since it was first released and, with its Finissimo collection, helped launch the industry trend for ultra-thin watches surpassing someone like Piaget in some ways.
Without a doubt, the simplicity and clean lines of a 'time-only' watch like the new Chopard L.U.C XP Galvanic Blue are hard to beat by other more complex timepieces. Continuing with the watch industry trend of blue dials, comes this stunner from Chopard in stainless steel. The new Chopard L.U.C XP Galvanic Blue ref. 168592-3002 is an exceptional timepiece with a stunning vertical satin-brushed dial, a virgin wool blue strap, and rose gold hour markers and Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9. As stunning in these pictures as it is in the metal.
One of the nicest watches we’ve seen this year at Baselworld 2019 and a feat of horology thanks to its 1/100th chronograph and its double tourbillon. The new Zenith DEFY Double Tourbillon is not your conventional watch from Zenith. After the revival of the DEFY line with a case design more in line with the historical DEFY watches from the sixties and seventies, the DEFY watches bring a breath of fresh air to a brand that has revolved around the El Primero look for most of his modern history since 1969. While the case of the DEFY might not be everyone’s cup of tea, here at WCL we do like it.
Baselworld 2019: Arnold & Son Time Pyramid Flying Tourbillon in Red Gold and in Stainless Steel. Live Pictures & Price.
The Arnold & Son Time Pyramid was first released in stainless steel in 2014 and now comes back with a skeletonized flying tourbillon. The tourbillon and the two power reserve indicators are superposed by a sapphire crystal dial indicating the hours itself, crowned with a rhodium plated ring for the minutes. This exclusive construction offers a lively-look and three-dimensional face to the timepiece and, to further enhance the balance and symmetry, the crown is positioned at six o’clock.
Originally released in 2018, the Angelus U50 Diver Tourbillon was the brand’s first diver’s watch. With a high level of skeletonization of its movement allowing for maximum transparency and an incredible view of all of its components, the Angelus U50 Diver Tourbillon is now also available in a Black Edition. The new Angelus U50 Diver Tourbillon Black Edition maintains the same proportions at 45 mm as its predecessor, but now in a very stealthy-looking iteration.