Written by: Martin Green
15th March 2012
Basel 2012 is a wrap! The new models have been introduced and very soon it is time to see how they are going to perform at the box-office. Sometimes it is very difficult to figure out what will be hot and what will be….not, but of course we do already have our preferences based on personal taste.
The Omega Z-33
Omega starts off very daring with the new Z-33. If you thought the X-33 was extreme when it was introduced then the Z-33 will rock your world even more. For this watch Omega revived one of their case designs from the 1970’s, gave it way too many buttons and added two windows to the dial to display the digital readout in retro red. It gives the watch a space age kind of look, but does give you the idea that unless you fly the Thunderbird 1 for a living this watch is kind of out of place.
Video of Citizen EcoDrive Satellite Wave
Perhaps Omega should have taken the approach of Citizen. They showed the Citizen EcoDrive Satellite Wave at Basel and that is a very good and high end looking watch. Don’t worry, Citizen might have made the watch more upscale, but it is still a unique piece of technology since this is the first watch that actually doesn’t sync its time though radio waves, but with a direct link to a GPS satellite. This means that even in the middle of the Russian Tundra or the Sahara you can get the correct time down to the precise second! It’s price is also a very adult around £2,600.
The Omega Speedmaster 1962
To get back to Omega, they fortunately make up the Z-33 with the introduction of the Omega Speedmaster 1962. Another lovely variation of the so beloved chronograph and maybe the best looking Speedmaster yet. This one pays tribute, and looks of course a lot like the second generation Speedmaster. That one was introduced before we landed on the moon, so it is not exactly a moonwatch, but it was worn in during a space flight and is nevertheless a watch with a lot of character.
It is now officially more difficult to keep all these moonwatches apart than the different Rolex Submariners.
Official Rolex Sky Dweller Video
But talking about Rolex! What a surprise they had in store this time! The new Rolex Sky-Dweller forms a unique combination of complications and user friendliness, in a packaging that for Rolex is a revolution instead of an evolution. It might take some getting used to for some, but in the end I think Rolex will have a true winner on its hand with this one. The only thing they got a bit wrong is the name. Sky-Dweller sounds a bit odd….Sky-Walker would have been much better!
Tudor Neoprone automatic adjustment bracelet Video
Sister brand Tudor was also on a role, and hit two solid homeruns. First is the Pelagos, a divers watch made out of titanium with a nice 3D dial design, typical Tudor hands and a very innovative clasp. Not only does it have an easy to use fine-adjustment, but it also compensates for the effects water pressure has on the body and diving suit by tightening up automatically thanks to springs inside the clasp, so that the watch is always safely around the wrist.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
If you prefer a more old school model, then the Tudor Heritage Black Bay has it all. Domed sapphire crystal, gilt dial, burgundy diving bezel. How delightful can retro be? Especially with a name that immediate takes you back to the time of pirates and buccaneers, and makes you want to enlist on a big sail ship…or take a cruise!
Harry Winston Opus 12
High expectations were there for the new Harry Winston Opus 12. The unique collection of watches has a certain status to uphold at being a frontrunner when it comes to innovative watch making. Granted it was very hard to beat Opus 11, yet Opus 12 doesn’t seem to live up to the high expectations. Of course it is a technically very advanced and complicated watch, but also quite an impractical one. The system reminds me a bit of the Frederic Jouvenot Helios, but instead of turning cones and the minutes in the center the Harry Winston Opus 12 actually has hour and minute hands that turn but are only accurate within 5 minutes. Do you want to know the exact time then you can check how far it is to the next 5 minutes by a little retrograde indicator in the center of the dial. Great technology that makes it possible but just like the Hermes Arceau Temps Suspendu, and Chanel J12 Tourbillon Retrograde Mysterieuse it’s more inpractical than truly adding something to the mix.
Hublot $5 million dollar watch
Who is also adding something to the mix is Hublot. A new Baselworld means a new Hublot million dollar watch, which is now worth 5 million dollars. How did they do it? The only way possible: larger diamonds. Of course there is room for improvement, and larger diamonds, so Basel 2013 will probably be the place where the brand will introduce the long expected……6 million dollar Hublot!!
Breitling Transocean Unitime Chronograph
Breitling didn’t seem to know that the large watch trend is slowing down a bit. They introduced a beautifully styled Transocean Unitime chronograph. The version with a cream white dials is especially stunning and could be the perfect travel watch. Could be because with a diameter of 46mm it isn’t and you almost have to call ahead to your hotel to check if the night stand is large enough to put this watch on when you are going to sleep. Less is more Breitling!
Official Antoine Martin Video
The return of Martin Braun with the brand Antoine Martin, is, of course, very pleasant news. It reminds us a lot of the path Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth have traveled when they left the companies that bore their names. Braun also seems to be back with a vengeance, judging by the Quantieme Perpetuel au Grand Balancier that is the first watch to be launched by his new brand. The styling of the watch has some hints of Ateliers deMonaco’s design language but is mainly a bold mix of sportiness and classical design elements.
Amazing is the complexity of the case and dial as well as the movement. With a balance wheel of 17.5mm in diameter, this watch houses the largest balance wheel ever used in a wristwatch, but that is not all this watch has to offer. The layout of the perpetual calendar is beautiful, with a big date at 6 o’clock and a vertical display of day and month. A leap year indicator is also included with a day/night indicator as a bonus on the dial side.
A power reserve meter is “hidden” on the back of the watch, which has runs from 6 to 0 days! Only one remark for this young brand: If the classical time of 10:10 to display a watch in pictures and videos doesn’t work for you, because it blocks both the day and the month windows of the watch, please break free from tradition and opt for a different time, since this watch deserves to have all its features seen!
Original Review can be seen on http://www.watchmatchmaker.com/2_womens_watches/basel-2012-the-ups-and-downs.html#more-7482