Based around an exhibition area of 160.000 m², Baselworld in 2007 once again proved the phenomenal attraction of the luxury watch and jewellery industry. As the world fair for this market, it’s rightfully set in Switzerland and is traditionally the place that many of the world’s top brands launch their newest models. The Classic Driver style police were out in force and are pleased to offer the following selection of some of the highlights from this year’s show...
This fair is unusual, in that if one enters Hall 1, you have the impression of being transported to a trendy street in St Tropez, New York or Tokyo, complete with luxury boutiques. The well known watchmakers such as Chopard, Rolex, Breitling, Ulysse Nardin – to mention just a few – present their ranges from stands dazzling in their complexity and extravagance. Just what is possible is shown by Breitling, who were presenting their chronometers on a stand built to resemble a ship with four decks complete with cabins. The highlight however is a 5 mt x 3 mt saltwater aquarium that seems to ‘float’ alongside the ‘virtual ship’. Quite extraordinary, and this is just one example from one of the biggest brands. But enough talk of the trade stands, what about the watches?
Bell & Ross
The French manufacturer concentrated mainly on its best-selling BR 01 instrument. Apart from already-announced BR 01 Phantom, Orange and Blue, Bell & Ross presented the first BR01 Tourbillon. In this version of the company's Instrument, the watch face has four smaller dials (or 'complications': a Tourbillon, a Precision Indicator, a Regulator and a Power Reserve Indicator.. With a diameter of 46 mm this is one XXL Tourbillon. The Tourbillon is made from technologically advanced materials, which have been further enhanced by sophisticated finishes. The carbon fibre dial and the case, which is made out of ultra light, DLC-coated (Diamond Like Carbon) titanium at 4 000 Vickers HV, optimise the watch’s performance.
Bulgari presented the first Bulgari calibres in Basel at Baselworld in 2006. These watches featured a mechanical movement developed and produced in-house, and sold as the Assioma Multicomplication. For 2007, Bulgari presented the new version of this exclusive complicated watch the Assioma Multicomplication Squelette that has a dial, developed completely in-house, with four superimposed layers subjected to four different finishing treatments. Made in a limited edition of just 20 pieces, the movement with a 64-hour power reserve is housed in a platinum case measuring 48 mm in length.
For Chanel there were two reasons for celebration: on the one hand the 20th anniversary of Chanel watches, and on the other the birth of a new member of the Chanel family, the J12 Tourbillon. In 2005 Chanel launched the J12 as the first watch in the world to feature a tourbillon with ceramic components. In 2006 the company went one stage further, by setting 605 baguette-cut diamonds on the watch and strap. This year the theme has been developed even more; the new Tourbillon Haute Joaillerie, that has a dial consisting of two 0,3mm ceramic plates (a Chanel exclusive) and 9 index diamonds. Baguette-cut rubies encircle the bezel, the watchcase and bracelet. In addition to the new Tourbillon, Chanel were also showing the latest version of the J12 Superleggera.
Carl F. Bucherer
The traditional Swiss watchmaker Carl. F. Bucherer has the slogan "with tradition into the future". Two new models at Baselworld embody this idea. The gold Manero “Tribute to MaBu” is distinguished by using a completely restored original movement; a Valjoux 92 from the early fifties. This watch, a limited edition of 100 pieces, is named in honour of Max Bucherer, Carl. Friedrich Bucherer's brother. The other model, the Patravi Chronograde is a world first from Carl F. Bucherer having 5 (chronograph, flyback, large date, annual calendar, power reserve indicator) useful functions and a retrograde hour display for the Chronograph
Chopard were showing two new models in their “Mille Miglia” collection, marking the 80th anniversary of the legendary race. Both are titled “Mille Miglia GT XL Chrono” 2007, having mechanical self-winding chronograph movements that are chronometer-certified by the COSC. The first model is produced in a limited edition (of 2007 in steel and 500 in 18-carat rose gold) and features a slate-coloured dial, while the second is available in a black dial version with oversized numerals with Superluminova coating. This model is distinguished by a transparent sapphire crystal case-back providing a clear view of the self-winding chronograph movement inside.
The Geneva-based watchmakers de Grisogno were showing a previously unknown complication in its model collection: the annual calendar. It is found on the new Instrumento novantatre. When you first set eyes on the watch, you tend to wonder what the oddly placed pair of dial openings are for. Positioned at 12 and 8 o’clock, these diminutive arc-shaped windows display the date and the month. A pair of hands show the hours and minutes while the seconds appear on a sub dial at 5 o’clock. The Instrumento Novantatre’s self-winding mechanical movement is a complex construction that automatically accounts for the irregular length of 30-day and 31-day months. On June 30 for instance the annual date-calendar mechanism remembers to jump directly to July 1, forgetting about the nonexistent “June 31”.
Available in a choice of gold and steel versions, optionally set with gemstones, Instrumento Novantatre is joining both the women’s and the men’s de Grisogono collections. The curved sapphire case back reveals the workings, the movement and its oscillating weight, both blackened by the PVD process. Fitted with a deployment clasp to match the case, an alligator or galuchat strap is connected to the case by articulated lugs guaranteeing both perfect on-the-wrist comfort and impeccable good looks.
Oris describe the new TT3 Chronograph 2nd Time Zone as a "hero amongst the motor racing watches". The compact carbon dial displays a wealth of features that are encircled by a rose gold ring within the black-coated titanium case. The bezel features a 24-hour display for the second time zone with red special hand from the centre; the dial ring features the tachymeter scale, and within this are the stop functions for the chronograph. The flexible lugs are integrated into the rubber strap, The watch is water-resistant to 100 m, and even under the strongest pressure the crown is secured thanks to the Quick Lock System.
Eterna presented the Porsche Design Worldtimer P’6750 at Baselworld 2007. The latest timepiece from Porsche Design displays the time in two different time zones simultaneously. An additional crown with an integrated button makes the world time settings easy to change. The new timepiece features an intelligent GMT function: the three hands in the centre of the watch display the time in the time zone in which the wearer currently finds himself. By means of discs rotating behind the dial, the movement additionally displays, via two dial apertures, a reference location and the present time in the corresponding time zone. The second time zone runs in synchrony with the main watch time.
The setting of the reference location can be corrected by means of the crown at the two o’clock position. Transfer of the time at the reference location to the hands is permitted by the button integrated in the crown at two o’clock. While the time zone function of the watch is being adjusted, the automatic movement continues to run without any limitation – not one single second of the original setting is lost when the time zone is changed.
Rolex have brought back a famous name and engineering principle first seen in the 1950s; they have revived the famous Milgauss model that was designed for use in areas of high magnetism such as scientific laboratories, medical imaging and the aeronautical industry. Literally '1000 Gauss' (the scientific measure of magnetic flux activity), the new watch is manufactured in ferromagnetic alloys specially selected by Rolex, and is equipped with both a Ferrochrom hairspring and an escape wheel made from a new paramagnetic material. Automatic and certified by COSC (Swiss Official Chronomter Testing Institute), it's available in stainless steel with a matching Oyster bracelet and is waterproof to a depth of 100 mt. The face is grey with a green-coloured saphire crystal (for the anniversary edition) and an orange second-hand shaped like a bolt of lightning.
The Ulysse Nardin Perpetual GMT± in white gold is equipped with a new 42 mm diameter case. The structured dial is available in different colours, while the ovoid-shaped skeleton hands permit comfortable reading of all calendar functions such as week day, big date, month and year. The exhibition case back allows for viewing of the self-winding patented Ulysse Nardin movement. The watch has the following features -
- The only perpetual calendar that adjusts forward and backward in seconds over the quick corrector position of a single crown, even in the year 2100.
- The hour hand is adjusted instantly to a new local time with pushers (+) or (-) without taking the watch off the wrist or interfering with its time keeping.
- The arrow keeps track of one’s home or reference time.
- The oversized date, the day, the month and the year change instantly forward or backward when the hour hand is moved to a new local time across the dateline with pushers (+) or (-)
- The white gold rotor ensures that the watch is automatically wound with a power reserve of 48 hours.
Text: Classic Driver
Photos: Bell & Ross/Bulgari/Chanel/Carl F. Bucherer/Chopard/de Grisogono/Oris/Porsche Design/Rolex/Ulysse Nardin
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