March 25, 2016
Team Woolfe boarded a plane bound for Switzerland to visit the premier world watch expo Baselworld to experience what the international horology brands had lined up for their new collections. Pretty much all the big brands were present and showcasing their Aladdin’s cave of unique treasures. As a watch enthusiast, I highly recommend that you attend as just being caught up in the hustle and bustle is an experience in itself and the exhibition space spanning multiple floors with indoor waterfalls at some of the exhibitors was impressive stuff.
So to the watches, well, each brand had their 2016 pre-release pieces in store and Mr. Woolfe was fortunate to see these all of them close up. Our top watches that stood out were:
1. Brietling Avenger Bandit in its grey stealth titanium finish inspired by the impressive military aircraft carriers of our time.
2. Tag re-introduced us to their Heur Monza, which certainly stands out with its return to the iconic black and red colouring. Racing pedigree celebrating 40 years of history.
3. Tudor Black Bay ranges, looking to distance itself from the shadow of its bigger brother Rolex in carving its own separate identity.
4. Rolex had its new collection on full display, with the Daytona Ceramic Bezel being the big crowd pleaser. The new Air King with its all new green and yellow logo surprisingly looked better in real life and actually carries in itself well as one of their more affordable timepieces. The Yachtmaster range was also spruced up with new editions – the platinum dial getting a baby blue colour hands adding a splash of brilliance, a perfect summer and all rounder.
5. Originality in the use of precious materials made an appearance with Bell & Ross showcasing their BR-X1 Tourbillon, the case and materials carved from a single block of Sapphire! Hublot also had a similar sparkling transparent limited edition with their Big Bang Unico Sapphire. Both amazing watches to look at, and no doubt will get conversations going in any room for any lucky owners.
6. Omega flaunted new editions in their Speedmaster range with the Moonphase Master Chronometer and one of our favourites the CK2998 with its panda style dial, rich navy tones and discreet variations like the lollipop seconds hand. A worthy tribute to the 1960 original version of the First Omega in Space homages.
7. Breguet Classique Hora Mundi 5727, although the 2011 versions that were on display with varying dials showing different continents Americas, Europe or Asia along with a moon-phase indication – still shone as classics.
8. And finally Patek Phillipe, showcasing what watch making is all about with its dual faces Grand Master Chime in white gold, labelled the as the most complicated watch of all time. Commanding a starting price tag in the millions, this was luxury craftsmanship at its best!