Every year, watch enthusiasts from all over the world descend on Baselworld in Switzerland, the world’s most important watch show with more than 600 exhibitors. The show is an obligatory fixture in the watch industry, filled with anticipation about the new watch models. Baselworld 2018 included debut watches from heavyweights like Rolex and Patek Philippe, as well as new launches from smaller watchmakers.
The overarching trend at Baselworld 2018 was “to look back to move forward.” The major brands unveiled watches inspired by vintage pieces but made of high-tech materials. Call it Heritage over Vintage. In addition, we saw the continuation of slightly reduced case sizes: The new average is now between 39 and 42 mm. And of course there were some “halo timepieces” – extreme flagship models to show the technological capabilities of the brands.
7 Top New Watches from Baselworld 2018
1. Rolex GMT Master II
Rolex’s new releases are always some of the most highly anticipated of the show. The company did not disappoint with its Rolex GMT Master II, a stainless-steel travel watch with the Cerachrome bezel in red and blue ceramic, nicknamed “Pepsi.” The newly designed movement has an impressive 70-hour power reserve. A watch that will be hard to get as the waitlists are already growing.
2. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36
The archetype of the classic watch that never goes out of style has been redesigned: The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 in Rose or Yellow Gold features a new case design and is equipped with the new cutting-edge calibre 3235.
3. Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5968A
A perfect addition to the Patek Philippe Aquanaut line is the new Aquanaut Ref. 5968A – a flyback chronograph in steel with a dial featuring orange accents to give it an even sportier look and feel.
4. Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 7234R
New for ladies who want to take off: The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time ref. 7234R in Rose Gold with a graduated brown dial. The second time zone and a local-time date reinforces Patek’s legacy of tradition and innovation.
5. Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Chronograph
To commemorate the Carrera’s 55th anniversary, Tag Heuer announced the Carrera Calibre 16 Chronograph with two different versions: in black and blue. A 41-mm case and some hints of red on the dial recalls the collection’s history with motorsports.
6. Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic: a timepiece that is the world’s thinnest automatic watch, the world’s thinnest automatic tourbillon, and the world’s thinnest tourbillon. The entire watch is a mere 3.95-mm thick, a stunning technical achievement.
7. Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Paying tribute to the brand’s first divers’ watches, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight has a dial inspired by the 1950s. The 39-mm case is fitted with a new manufacture movement, and is waterproof to 200m. Form and function perfect for vintage enthusiasts.
The new models presented in Basel are generally delivered in the summer or fall. This means there is plenty of time to think about your Christmas wishlist, since all of them will look great in the Miami sun.
Have you ever wondered why Switzerland is the traditional center of watchmaking? The answer: During winter, when the people in the Swiss mountain valleys were snowed in, farmers and other workers occupied themselves by making watch components. They simply had nothing else to do.
Gerhard Zimmermann is a marketing executive with a deep passion for horology. He is an avid collector, and has spent the past five years as an advisor to a leading luxury watch retailer in Miami.