Monochrome Watches
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Xavier Markl’s Top 10 of Baselworld 2017

| By Xavier Markl | 5 min read |
Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

The 100th anniversary edition of Baselworld has just came to an end. It has been another packed event, despite a strange overall impression and the current situation that prompted brands to be more cautious. As for each fair, the offerings are diverse but we have to come with our highlights. A tough choice but as we had to pick ten, here are the Baselworld 2017 watches that have caught my eyes – presented without specific order… But as always with Monochrome watches, it is guaranteed 100% quartz- and android-free!

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic

Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

Bulgari’s record-thin version of their Octo Finissimo with automatic winding was one of the highlights of the fair. Crafted in titanium, this lithe wristwatch is powered by the caliber BLV138, just 2.23mm thick! Still, whether you care about records does not really matter; like its manual wound siblings, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic is simply magnificent. It is comfortable, elegant looking and its micro-rotor movement is superb. One of my favorites from Baselworld 2017. 40mm titanium case, automatic movement, CHF 11,900.

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Hermes L’heure Impatiente

Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

I have always been a fan of the Slim d’Hermes. The collection was presented in 2015 and reflects the understated, distinctive style of the brand: elegant, well-thought-out, reserved but with a different twist conveyed by uniquely written numbers, designed by Philippe Apeloig. The Parisian Maison is now introducing a “poetic” complication with L’heure Impatiente, developed with Agenhor’s Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. The watch allows to measure the anticipation toward an eagerly awaited moment. Basically, you can set a 12-hour alarm/countdown (5 o’clock counter). The 7 o’clock counter will allow you to countdown the last 60 minutes before the defined time. When it hits the end, the moment is marked by a delicate chime on a gong. 40.5mm pink gold case, manual movement, CHF 35,000.

Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph

Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

What a stunning chronograph by Fabergé! An unprecedented movement construction based on snail cams, center chronograph indications for enhanced legibility, a new clutch system, the smart “Agenpit” regulator, etc. (read our article here). And, like for the Hermes, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht is involved behind the scenes! It is not by chance that Fabergé comes with such a development; the Visionnaire Chronograph follows a rather impressive series of complications (the ‘peacock’ watch and the Visionnaire DTZ in particular) and it provides further evidence of the impressive work done at Fabergé. 43mm pink gold and titanium case, automatic movement, $39,500 ($34,500 for the Black Ceramic and Titanium version).

Favre-Leuba Bivouac 9000

Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

It is great news to see the illustrious ‘Favre-Leuba’ name make a come-back. The Raider Harpoon had set the tone at the end of last year. The newly introduced Bivouac 9000 is the ultimate instrument for mountaineering. This modern interpretation of a 1960s model is a proper (and massive) tool watch capable of measuring altitudes up to 9,000m above sea level thanks to a proprietary development. 48mm titanium case, manual movement, CHF 7,500.

Omega 1957 Trilogy Speedmaster, Seamaster 300 and Railmaster 60th Anniversary

Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

Omega celebrates this year the 60th anniversary of 3 legendary professional watches this year. The reedition is super faithful to the original watches and all three watches come with tool-like steel cases and “tropical” dials. Each of these cool retro-style watches is limited to 3’357 pieces. Spot-on! More information here. Speedmaster, 38.6mm steel case, automatic movement, CHF 6,700 – Seamaster 300, 39mm steel case, automatic movement, CHF 6,500 – Railmaster, 38mm steel case, automatic movement, CHF 6,300.

Urban Jurgensen 1140 platinum, blue dial

Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

The Urban Jurgensen reference 1140 is now produced in a blue dial version, paired with a platinum case. Its superb dial combines some of the most distinctive features of the brand. Its hand-wound movement is painstaking finished. This limited edition radiates timeless beauty and is a superb example of the elegance and uncompromising craftsmanship of Urban Jurgensen. More information here. 40mm platinum case, manual movement, CHF 49,650.

Greubel Forsey Balancier

Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

A picture is worth a thousand words. The finish of the new Greubel Forsey Balancier is simply insane – and this is sufficient in itself to make it into this top 10. But there is more to it than this, read our article here. 43mm white gold case, manual movement, CHF 205,000.

Rolex Daytona 116519LN White Gold, Ceramic Bezel, Oysterflex Bracelet

Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

As always, there is no revolution at Rolex, which is good. Still the new Daytona with Oysterflex bracelet is indeed a stunner and a real pleasure to wear. It was love at first sight for the whole Monochrome team. My favourite is the white gold version but expect to see the yellow gold in the rest of the crew’s picks!  40mm white gold case, automatic movement, EUR 26,150.

Jaquet Droz Loving Butterfly Automaton

Jaquet Droz made it a priority to develop its métiers d’art collections to perpetuate decades of expertise that define the brand’s identity. Their latest creation – the Loving Butterfly Automaton is magnificent, emotional and poetic. The dial is made of black onyx with gold appliques of cherub, chariot, and butterfly. These are hand-engraved with extremely fine details. A simple press of the pusher integrated into the crown brings the watch to life. Just watch the following video. 43mm pink or white gold case, automatic movement, CHF 120,000.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Reference 5320G

Top 10 of Baselworld 2017 Xavier Markl

The new perpetual calendar from Patek Philippe stands out with its superb design, timeless and modern at the same time. The dial lay-out is perfectly balanced in the pure Patek tradition. The luminous syringe hands (let’s call these this way even if this is not the official Patek vocabulary) and the magnificent applied numerals are to die for. As always, there is impressive attention to details throughout – for instance with the beautiful stepped lugs. 40mm white gold case, automatic movement, EUR 76,000.

2 responses

  1. Definitely the most original top 10 selection among your peers, which makes it more interesting to see what you’ve picked — not all just new editions of iconic brands’ models. Hope to see more lists and reviews like this, but adding some independents that are even further off the beaten path, in the future. Thanks!

  2. Thanks Michael, glad you’ve enjoyed going trhough the list. In fact, the selection was quite hard as I believe that apart from 3/4 watches, none was clearly standing out and a few more could have easily made it into this top 10, in particular several independents. Les Ateliers, the Ramada (Moser, MCT, RJ, Hautlence, James Pellaton…) or the AHCI area were indeed interesting places to spend some time when in Basel

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