So as the dust settles, this Baselworld 2018 was a “composed” one, with less flash and more focus on what “consumers” want, across mostly the mid-tier spectrum, a good thing I say.
The good news is that there were less vintage re-issues (Faux-tina) and more historically inspired pieces, including the star of the show, the new “Pepsi” GMT-master by Rolex, and one by Tudor for that matter. A great addition to the Rolex GMT family and a clear message that Rolex listened to their collectors, my favorite here would be the two tone root beer execution, an instant classic and with no direct war with its predecessor. Tudor has also a few key releases, but what stole it was the Tudor BlackBay 58, staying true to the original Tudor Submariners with a 39mm case.
A great and underrated launch was the new Omega Seamaster 300m, the quintessential James Bond watch. The waves dial seems to have its critiques, but that dial twist, the co-axial movement, and the price point, makes the Omega Seamaster the best all around diver in terms of bang for buck. Thinking that an Oris can sell today at Omega’s price point is just crazy.
Speaking of Oris, they also had a great product line, with their 10-hour power reserve movement caliber 114 ProPilot, as well as their divers’ 65 line, continue to be great options, yet, at a slightly “arrogant” price point.
The Germans did not disappoint either, with both Glashütte Original and Nomos Glashütte having great launches, with the Senator Cosmpolite from the GO and the Autobahn from Nomos. While the Autobahn, seems to be more of a dial play and working on the “German” affinity element, it didn’t bring as much as I was hoping in terms of “real” innovation.
Tag Heuer extended their Carrera lines and had good fanfare with a Bamford Monaco as well as the limited edition Gulf Monaco, with their tourbillon “Tete De Viper” certified Chronometer building the right credibility as the brand renews itself.
Longines was also a bit on the conservative, with variations of their “great” diver watch in PVD as well as a few Conquests variations, slightly disappointing given my expectations from Longines.
Seiko has great presence playing with both re-issues from Golden days with Grand Seiko and continues play with the beautiful dial executions with both Grand Seiko and the “Presage” line.
Going into higher horology, Patek continues to lead with its different product lines (Learn Audemars Piguet); with a perpetual Calendar Nautilus (Because why not); but completely useless, and an Aquanaut chrono, completely useful (sports watch with a sports function). In addition, their 5270P Perpetual Calendar Salmon release is just spot on and a beautiful reminder of good old days, as well as two beautiful Pilots with the 37.5mm positioned for the ladies, but equally as beautiful on a man’s wrist.
Moser extended their Pioneer line with a stunning Green Fume Steel version. Hublot played around with a “football” Smartwatch, leveraging Mr. JC Biver’s drive towards innovation and technology. Finally, the Zenith continued to showcase their Defy line, now with a simpler, second hand only version.
However, not much more there; except with the Bvlgari again taking the record for thinnest tourbillion, chapeau bas! An Amazing unique piece by H. Moser et Cie, with a tourbillon minute repeater, and finally a minute repeater by none else than Laurent Ferrier.
The industry as a whole seems to be more into “value offerings” but in a great way. The value is being created by upgrading finishing, cases, movements and thinking of price points that make sense, in most cases.
Horigically speaking however, things are much calmer, poised, and a bit disappointing for those looking for “higher horology” options and innovation; with most of the efforts coming from the “independents” like De Bethune, Laurrent Ferrier, H. Moser et Cie, and the likes.
When all is said and done, my favorites, taking into account the most horogical offering per buck:
- The Omega Seamster 300m (what a value proposition)
- The Tudor Blackbay 58
- The Bvlgari OctoFinissimo
- I would have included the Oris Pilot but not at that price point
- Glashutte original Senator Cosmoplite
- Patek Philippe 5270P-001 Salmon Dial
- Arnold and Son Gobetrotter
What are yours ?
Fayssal K. is a watch aficionado who writes for Timepiece360 on a regular basis, you can follow him on Instagram (@fayssalk) for more info.
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