In just a few days from now, on Wednesday 22 March (official press day), Baselworld, the main watch event of the year, based in the city of Basel, Switzerland, will open its doors. At exactly 12:00, most major brands (Rolex, Omega, Tudor, all brands from the Swatch Group, Seiko) as well as the representative of the independent watchmaking industry will reveal their new collections. Before we can all dream in front of these Baselworld 2017 novelties, let’s have a look back at our favorite watches of Baselworld 2016, as well as a few comments on what is to be expected at and from Baselworld 2017.
Frank Geelen’s Top 5 watches from Baselworld 2016
Faithful to is reputation of experienced watch expert, our Editor-in-Chief Frank came with a rather eclectic selection of watches his Top 5 watches from Baselworld 2016, going from the ultra-confidential Gronelefd 1941 Remontoire (for the beauty of its entirely hand-made movement), to the iconic Patek Aquanaut in pink gold, the vintage and small Tudor BB 36 (Frank is a strong advocate of smaller diameters), the ultra-complex Angles U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante (offering an incredible price / content ratio) or the ultra-classic and elegant Chopard XPS 1860 in steel.
You can read all about this serious selection in his article here.
Brice Goulard’s Top 5 watches from Baselworld 2016
Our Managing Editor Brice is passionate about iconic watches, mechanics and sports watches (if you see him, you’ll see that he mainly wears such watches) but also creative independents. This is why in his Top 5 watches from Baselworld 2016, you’ll find the one and only Rolex Daytona Ceramic (simply because it was the main talking piece of the show, and for good reasons), the Gronefeld 1941 Remontoire (for the combination of an extremely visual simplicity and an ultra-finished movement), the Urwerk UR105 Orange (look at the design, love it or hate, but you can’t stay neutral…), the Tudor BB 36 (again, so pleasant to see a small diameter back) or the Patek Philippe 5930g World Time Chronograph (for its overall balance and the way PP achieved to combined the world time with a chrono).
You can read more about the reasons why he chose these 5 watches in his article here.
Robin Nooij’s Top 5 watches from Baselworld 2016
if you look for something eclectic, take a look at our contributor Robin’s selection. His Top 5 watches from Baselworld 2016 cover the entire spectrum of the industry, from affordable to ultra-complex, from mainstream to confidential, from classical to extravagant. This is why you can find the Gronefeld 1941 Remontoire ‘(this one really is an unanimous choice amongst the team), the Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope (a watch that he would personally buy…), the Rolex Air King 116900 (some will hate, some will love, but Rolex finally goes out of its comfort zone), the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater (that’s the world record watch…thinnest minute repeater in the world, and this is quite something) or the Sarpaneva K3 Northern Stars (again a very personal choice).
You can see his selection and his arguments in his article here.
What to expect from Baselworld 2017
- Novelties from the main brands. Rolex, Seiko, Omega, Patel Philippe, Tudor, TAG Heuer, Oris…
- Novelties from the independent watchmakers. While some of them have decided to move to the “carré des horlogers” at the SIHH, most of them will still have a booth to expose at Baselworld, and will present some new creations.
- BUT… The palace isn’t anymore. For those who already experienced Baselworld, they might know that most of the independent watchmakers were located in a separated tent called “the palace“, a bit away from the crowd and offering, at least for us, a more relaxed and personal atmosphere. The palace has been removed this year. To counteract the SIHH and the relocation of some indies there, Baselworld has decided to create a dedicated area for independents named “les ateliers“, located on hall 1.2. You’ll find the usual suspects (MB&F, Voutilainen, Gronefeld, Armin Strom, Arnold & Son, Czapek, Louis Moinet, etc…). Still, will this area offer the same visibility and the same atmosphere? We’ll tell you…
- Considering what we’ve seen at the SIHH 2017, we can expect:
- More steel offerings, with nice and complex movements being encased in more accessible watches
- More luxury sports watches. Some brands, usually more on the classical or dress side, came with high-end sports watches (VC, Piaget, GP)… it seems that the category, mixing robust and highly designed cases with a relative elegance, is stronger than ever and we might see more of these
- More customizable or evolutive watches (interchangeable pieces, not only straps, choices of colors, etc…)
- Smaller collections, yet with stronger content. More focused, more in line with the expectations of the market
- An overall better value for money – even if prices are not expected on the decreasing side, it seems that brands start to understand that they have to give more for the same price, especially in the 2k – 10k price segment, crucial for the Swiss industry.
- More ultra-high end – on the contrary, it seems that when it comes to 6-figure watches, the trend is to offer always more, and mainly to focus on tailoring and unique-pieces.
- Several important watches:
- The 60th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster – meaning that if not a full collection, at least some special editions will be introduced
- The 50th anniversary of the Rolex Sea-Dweller – Rolex MIGHT come with a new version of its professional dive watch
- The 85th anniversary of the Patek Philippe Calatrava – A new collection is highly expectable
- The 20th anniversary of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut – Same, a new collection or some special versions could well be showed
- The TAG Heuer Autavia 2017 – the final edition of the prototype showed earlier this year will be officially launched
- Seiko is said to have a very impressive collection of divers…