Now Baselworld 2016 is over, we’re back in the office. We survived, somehow, and our heads (and SD cards) are full of images of watches. Some pleased us, some made us laugh, some disappointed us, and only a real few deserved to be on the top of our wish-lists. Thus, it was time for the Monochrome-Watches team to sit down and relax, in order to bring you our personal Top 5 Watches from Baselworld 2016. First to pull the trigger is our contributor Robin Nooij. Robin is Dutch, he’s tall (2 meters) and has several passions, and watches rank highest among his passions. His tastes are as unique as his personality and this why his selection is properly eclectic. Here are the Top 5 Watches from Baselworld 2016 by Robin Nooij.
1 – Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire
For me, this was the total package. The extremely beautiful movement combined with the sleek, elegant case and a subtle but striking dial. Oh, and the fact that the guys behind the brand (The Horological Brothers) are Dutch helps too. I got to spend some time with Tim and Bart in December, as they showed the first prototype parts and designs to us. For me, it was one of the few watches that I couldn’t help but look at over and over again. Every time I passed by the Palace (where the independent brands are during Baselworld), I had to take a quick look. Superb, striking and mesmerizing… My first for this year, period! – see details here.
2 – Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope
Simple: the sheer value-for-money combined with a nice (and real) heritage and a very good design makes this Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope my number two. I loved every little detail of it, whether it was on a leather strap or the multi-link steel bracelet. Nothing fancy or overcomplicated here, just good, honest watchmaking. I already liked the Junghans Meister Driver Handaufzug that was released just prior to Baselworld, but that is a little too slim for my taste. The Chronoscope fits the bill perfectly. See details here.
3 – Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King ref. 116900 40mm
I never thought I would say this, but there is a Rolex I find stunning! Ever since I came to Baselworld, visiting the legendary brand, I couldn’t get myself to like a Rolex enough to actually consider buying one for myself. I can appreciate the product that is in my hands or on my wrist, and the quality and craftsmanship (and not to mention legacy) but I never felt connected to the brand like I do with others. With the Air-King they struck a nerve, big time. I don’t know what it is exactly, but the fact that the dial (well, almost) is in the fastest car that will ever be built might help, being a car-guy too. All the details here, in our review.
4 – Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater
Another big surprise for me, but this time due to the complexity and attention to detail on the back of the watch. Viewed from the front while wearing it, there isn’t much that gives away just how special this watch is. No slider on the left hand side of the case, but a push-button. This could just be there for decorative reason but it actuates what is simply THE slimmest minute repeater mechanism in the world. Housed in a titanium case, weighing no more than 43 grams including the strap; there’s clearly a lot to applaud in such watchmaking innovations.
5 – Sarpaneva K3 Northern Stars Black Enamel / Rose Gold
One of the first watches I got to see during the fair, and immediately one of the most striking one’s. It is a complete nightmare to attempt to photograph (thanks to its glossy, black, enameled dial), but such a cool looking watch (again thanks to its glossy, black, enameled dial). Usually I am not a big fan of rose gold cases but in this one I don’t mind it one second. Actually, I wouldn’t consider it without this rose gold case, it just looks so brilliant! The black enamel dial is something you hardly ever see, although enamel was a bit of a theme this year. The grid-like hour markers, in steel and blued steel, and the trademark angry-moon finish the deal for me. I just love it!
Honorable mention: Romain Jerome Tattoo-DNA by Xoil
For those who don’t know, I am a fan of the brand. Not everything they do is right up my alley, but I find most of the creations interesting. I liked the first iteration of the Tattoo-DNA but the new one is even better to me. One of the best RJ-movements, the Skylab, receives a two-thirds enamel dial which perfectly blends traditional watchmaking techniques with the sleek industrially built movement (straight lines throughout). Pair that with a unique leather strap with a tattoo by one of the best man in the business and I think it works very well. Even though I fully realize these kinds of watches aren’t talking to a large audience, I simply love it.