The Best Luxury Watches from Baselworld 2018
If you’re familiar with the luxury watch industry, you already know that Baselworld is an action-packed week for horology enthusiasts worldwide. This event gathers almost the entire watch industry in Basel, Switzerland to unveil new releases from popular brands, from Bulgari, Rolex and Omega to more affordable timepieces like Swatch, Nomos and Longines. Below, we list some of the most highly talked about watches from this year’s show.
Rolex GMT Master
Without a doubt, this high-end watch has been one of the most highly anticipated—and in a way, the least expected—watch in the world for several years. Rolex created the “GMT” dual time-zone function back in the 1950s, with its most famous iteration being the blue/red “Pepsi” models that divide the bezel into separate hemispheres.
When Rolex adopted ceramic for its bezels, it reserved the Pepsi combo for a white gold version. This move frustrated many collectors who believed the GMT Master is a travel tool that’s at its finest in steel. However, this year Rolex answered the demands of its loyal audience by bringing the Pepsi GMT back in steel, with a brilliant Jubilee bracelet to boot. A classic watch reborn, and then some.
Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar
Another highly anticipated but unexpected move comes from Patek Philippe, which added a perpetual calendar complication to its iconic modern watch, the Nautilus. This model is cased in white gold and contains the brand’s impressive 240Q automatic perpetual calendar movement with micro-rotor. It’s a natural fit with the luxurious surrounds of the famous Nautilus “porthole” design, causing many people to question: what took them so long? This model is expected to quickly become one of the most popular watches in the Patek catalog.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic
After almost 30 years of investment, development, R&D and gradual improvement, Bulgari has blossomed into one the most exciting brands in watchmaking. Over the last four years, the company has made significant strides in both its technical and creative vision, captivating collectors with its spectacularly thin, exquisitely designed Finissimo watches.
The latest model is recognized as the thinnest self-winding tourbillion watch in the world at just under 4mm thick, with a movement at an incredible 1.95mm thick. Plus, it’s the thinnest automatic watch ever created—a phenomenal achievement in the watchmaking industry. With a peripheral rotor rotating around the outside of the movement as well as a case of sandblasted titanium and an open-worked dial to achieve a fine thinness, the Tourbillion Automatic offers an inescapably contemporary style.
MB&F’s the Fifth Element
As MB&F’s latest adventure, the Fifth Element combines clockmaking and high-concept sculptural design with retro sci-fi. Described by the company as an “intergalactic horological weather station,” it’s a desktop clock with spaceship-like pods designed for a barometer, thermometer and hygrometer. Made in collaboration with top-end traditional clockmaker L’Epée, there are 500 individual, hand-finished components. With just 18 pieces, each consists of either black, silver or blue highlights.
TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford
Having joined forces with the British firm Bamford Watch Department last year, which is now its official partner for customization, TAG Heuer has released its first full collaboration with Bamford. This luxury watch is a new interpretation of its ’70s classic, the Monaco (developed before the brand added its TAG prefix—the reason for the retro logo). It boasts a carbon-fiber case and an exceptional dial of black and luminous turquoise.
Nomos Glashutte Autobahn
As Germany’s icon of methodical brilliance and cool design, the red, white and blue livery of Nomos Glashutte’s latest model entices watch collectors worldwide. Nomo’s very first sports watch is the fruit of creative collaboration with Berlin’s renown designer, Werner Aisslinger. The speedometer-esque, semicircle markings glow brightly when it’s dark, while the dial is also known for its bowl-like curve.
Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8
Omega improves its ceramic-cased Dark Side of the Moon series of Speedmaster Chronos by adding a boldly open-worked edition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 8 mission—when US astronauts traveled around the moon for the first time, becoming the first humans to view the “dark side” itself. With laser-etched movement bridges designed to resemble the lunar surface, it also has the famous words that astronaut Jim Lovell spoke to ground control: “We’ll see you on the other side.”
Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic
No matter if you love Hublot’s unashamed flamboyance or not, the brand’s continuous creativity is certainly remarkable, and this model is just sheer fun. Though ceramic is a material that could only be used for watches in white or black just a short time ago, this one is cased entirely in red. As you might expect, this watch required an extensive amount of effort in R&D, with Hublot obtaining a patent in the development and industrialization of the incredibly vibrant red ceramic used. In the brand’s popular “Big Bang” style, the watch comes with an in-house Unico chronograph movement. One can only predict that other color variations will soon follow.
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