Once again, the time had come to present the latest innovations, trends, aesthetic creations and technical innovations of the watch market at Baselworld 2019 from 21 to 26 March. This year’s most important trade fair in the industry featured several impressive highlights from a number of brands that you should definitely be familiar with. Didn’t you have the chance to admire the new products on site or to click your way through articles and videos since the event and find out for yourself? No problem: In the following overview, we have already summarised everything worth knowing about the current developments of your favourite brands, so that you are well informed about this year’s Baselworld top.
Bell & Ross
Bell & Ross is expanding its vintage series in 2019: The BRV-92 Blue Steel with a diameter of 38.5 mm comes with a stainless steel case and a strongly curved dial in sky blue. The intense contrast to the white of the luminescent indexes, numerals and skeleton hands makes this timepiece visually appealing and particularly easy to read. A brown leather strap completes the vintage look. Inside the watch, the BR-CAL 302 calibre beats on the basis of the automatic ETA 2892-A2. A further annual highlight of the Swiss watchmakers known for their “corners and edges” is the new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1, which was inspired by the iconic MA-1 pilot and bomber jacket of the US Air Force of 1958. The details in intense orange in combination with the khaki-coloured background make for a real high-contrast eye-catcher. The most striking features of the two-storey dial are the large indices, numerals and hands.
The upper khaki plate at the level of indices and numerals is open, allowing the orange superluminova of the plane to shine through – a great colour mix that the two-tone reversible calfskin strap picks up again. The characteristic angular case has an edge length of 42 mm and is made of ceramic in a matt khakiton. The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1 is limited to 999 pieces. Equally limited is the availability of the next treasure: the BR03-92 BI-Compass model from Bell & Ross is a homage to sophisticated pilot watches. The qualities of the timepiece speak for themselves, because as with its inspiration, no compromises are made when it comes to ideal readability and complete reliability. As in the cockpit, the BR03-92 BI-Compass comes with a two-level dial that displays hours, minutes and seconds separately. This is also reflected in the color scheme inspired by the US Navy. Thus the time displays can be read quickly and accurately at any time. The typography is also reminiscent of cockpit counters – a true pilot’s watch for the wrist.
Breitling has fundamentally revised the Superocean diving watch series, which has been in existence since 1957: The models now come in a wide range of colours and sizes. The prime example here is the Superocean 42 with a case diameter of 42 mm and the chronometer-accurate caliber 17, which is available with blue as well as white and orange dials. The watch is available with a rubber or steel strap. The Superocean 48 is the XXL counterpart to it, because with the diameter of 48 mm the big timepiece definitely looks great. With a DLC-coated titanium case with ceramic bezel plus soft iron inner case and a water resistance of up to 300 metres, the watch has much more to offer than just supersize. The safety lock on the rotating bezel protects against adjustments, the expansion curves in the rubber strap ensure a secure fit under water – small yet significant details that show that the Superocean series has really taken everything into consideration. Breitling’s all-new Premier Norton Edition pays homage to the collaboration with the British motorcycle brand Norton Motorcycles. On a plaque on the flank and the sapphire crystal back, the logo of the tradition-rich company is displayed together with a Norton motorcycle print. The 42mm stainless steel case with its golden hands and numerals and the brown rawhide strap create an aesthetic, nostalgic image. In return, Norton offers a limited Breitling motorcycle in a café-racer look! The popular Navitimer line also has something new to offer: a 60 year old, historic and popular model is being relaunched.
The Navitimer Ref. 806 Re-Edition keeps close to the original, because it also has a case diameter of 40.9 mm, the entirely black dial, the acrylic glass, the logo of the American Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the bezel framed with 94 fine pearls. Only two changes were made: There is no glass bottom like the original and the water resistance has been increased to 30 meters. In order to give the new model a hand-wound movement as well, Breitling designed the B09 hand-wound caliber, based on the B01 automatic manufacture caliber, which was allowed to be used in the new Navitimer. This re-edition is limited to 1959 pieces according to the year of publication of the original. And the Navitimers continue: Breitling honours airlines that have left a lasting mark on the style of their era with three airline editions of the Navitimer 1. The Navitimer series was already inspired by aviation when it was introduced in 1952. Now three watches have been developed in honour of the popular airlines PanAm, Swissair and TWA. They are all powered by the B01 chronograph calibre, which has chronometer accuracy and a 70 hour power reserve. The Airline Editions are recognizable above all by the dial in the colors of the respective airline, as well as the aircraft-shaped tip of the center second hand. The name of the airline is also printed on the case back. The PanAm model comes with a blue dial and silver auxiliary dials, while the Swissair model comes in black and red. The version with silver dial and anthracite grey sub-dials is again the TWA edition. The three watches are available with vintage and Milanaise bracelets. This collection is also limited.
Also this year there is a new Mille Miglia Race Edition from Chopard. The automatic chronograph is dedicated to the legendary classic car race, which takes place again in 2019. From 15 to 18 May, hundreds of participants will again drive the more than 1,600 kilometres from Brescia to Rome and back. Chopard has been the timekeeper and sponsor of the event for over 30 years. This year’s Mille Miglia Race Edition features a ruthenium-coloured, grey-blue dial with date display at three o’clock and chronograph displays at six, nine and twelve o’clock. The indices and hands of the 44 mm timepiece are coated with Superluminova for ideal legibility even at night. The Mille Miglia logo is engraved on the back of the case. Like the 2017 edition, the new version is powered by the COSC-certified Eta/Valjoux 7750 automatic calibre. The tachymeter scale engraved on the blackened aluminium bezel insert makes it possible to calculate the average speed during the race. The watch is complemented by a perforated strap in cognac calfskin with matching seams, inspired by racing gloves. The lining of the strap is also reminiscent of a Dunlop tyre relief from the 60s. This racing watch of a special kind is limited to 1,000 pieces.
Hublot’s new Classic Fusion Ferrari GT represents a premiere in several respects: It is the first Hublot watch on Ferrari’s GT models, the first Ferrari timepiece in a Classic Fusion case plus the first watch with an in-house Unico manufacture calibre in this one. The caliber is a smaller version of the 2018 Unico chronograph movement, but with the same power reserve of 72 hours. Ferrari was actively involved in the design development of the 45mm model. The newly formed bezel is particularly striking. The watch is available in three different versions: Hublot’s special red gold version “King Gold”, titanium and extra robust 3D carbon fibre. The chronograph functions are highlighted in the typical Ferrari red, only the reset button is in classic black. The strap of the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT 3D Carbon is specially made by the saddlery Schedoni in Modena, which has been producing luggage for Ferrari for decades, as well as the seat trim of Formula 1 Scuderia cars. Hublot has now released the second watch in collaboration with tattoo artist Maxime Plescia-Büchi. Three years after the first cooperation, the Big Bang Sang Bleu II follows. The untypically hexagonal bezel was also retained in the artist’s second stroke, but a rounder shape was sought by continuing the six facets. Round and angular at the same time, a pattern that can also be found on the sapphire crystal – suitable for Plescia-Büchi, who likes to experiment with geometric shapes. This time the Big Bang Sang Bleu II is a chronograph with flyback function, which makes it more interesting than its predecessor. Time is indicated by two large diamond-shaped discs with Superluminova coated tips. Only the elapsed stop seconds are indicated by an actual hand on the 45mm timepiece. The “blue blood” is available in titanium or pink gold and is limited to 100 pieces each.
In 2019 Patek Philippe presents the new Alarm Travel Time Ref. 5520P-001, another pilot-style timepiece. In addition to the well-known function of the second time zone in 12h format and the two day and night displays, there is now an easy-to-use alarm that can be adjusted to the local time just like the date. The pusher at two o’clock can be used to turn it off or on and the crown at four o’clock can be used to set it in 24-hour format. Patek Philippe has applied for four patents for the specially designed alarm mechanism. Thanks to the transparent case back, one has a clear view of the impressive AL 30-660 S C FUS manufactory caliber with a total of 574 components. For the first time, the case of a striking movement by Patek Philippe is now water-resistant – but that also has its price: the special watch with sophisticated mechanism and platinum case costs a proud 204,050 euros.
The anniversary model of the Rolex Sea-Dweller was extremely well received by fans of the brand in 2017. The date magnifier and the red lettering of the timepiece caused a lot of excitement – so it is hardly surprising that a new version of the diving watch icon is coming in 2019. This time it is an edition with a case made of “Rolesor yellow”, i.e. a bicolor version made of stainless steel and yellow gold. Rolex used gold for the unidirectionally rotating, scratch-resistant bezel and the Oyster strap. Even the numbers on the bezel are gold plated. The gold tone is also picked up again on the black dial of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller: The gold-coloured Sea-Dweller lettering makes this timepiece look really classy. Just like the 2017 model, a date magnifier arches over the date display at three o’clock. Also size and water resistance are unchanged with 43mm and 1,220 meters. Indexes and hands are coated with luminous material for best readability. In addition, the watch has a helium valve and has a proud power reserve of 70 hours thanks to the in-house automatic calibre 3235.
TAG Heuer has developed a new Autavia. The three-hand watch comes with a blue dial and matching rotating bezel and represents the launch of a whole new Autavia collection. Compared to the Autavia Chronograph launched in 2017, not only the colour has changed: The bezel is now narrower, with minute digits instead of hour digits, and hours are represented by Arabic numerals. The hands are also different and the usual logo has been reused. Most striking, however, is the development of the crown: it is much larger on the new Autavia and has a groove in the middle. This is a tribute to the brand’s historic clocks that were used in cars and airplanes from the 1930s to the 1950s. Inside the 42mm watch is the Calibre 5 automatic movement, certified as a chronometer, based on the Eta 2824, but equipped with the new graphene spiral spring produced in-house. The name “Isograph” on the dial also refers to the in-house spiral spring. The new Autavia comes with a fine brown calfskin strap.
For the new Black Bay P01 diver’s watch, Tudor took inspiration from a 60s prototype designed for a US Navy research series. The stainless steel watch features a 12-hour rotating bezel that rotates on both sides. Tudor has equipped the 42mm timepiece with a special locking system for the bezel between the moving lugs to prevent it from being accidentally adjusted. After adjustment, the bezel is secured by a foldable stainless steel element at twelve o’clock and can then no longer be twisted – a mechanism that was already available in a prototype from 1968. The P01 in the name accordingly stands for “Prototype 1”. The protected winding crown at four o’clock and the blocking system extend the shape of the case asymmetrically. The Black Bay P01 has the Snowflake hands characteristic of the collection on its black convex dial, typical of Tudor diving watches since 1969. The heart of the watch is the in-house COSC-certified automatic movement MT5612.
But the Black Bay line is surprisingly growing even further this year: the Black Bay Chrono S&G is Tudor’s second stroke. The bicolor model has pushers, crown, bezel, tachymeter scale, indices, hands and middle links in yellow gold. The totalizers of the chronograph also use the tone of the precious metal in an attenuated form. The case, with a diameter of 41mm, is made of stainless steel and contains the COSC-certified MT5813 automatic caliber, which is based on the Breitling B01 caliber. The watch in a two-tone robe comes with the typical characteristics of the Tudor models: the domed sapphire crystal and the likewise domed dial in matt black are reminiscent of the first Tudor diving watch from 1954. The famous Snowflake hands are also present. The watch is water-resistant up to 200 meters and comes with a strap of stainless steel yellow gold mix, brown leather with removable cuff or black textile.
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