Baselworld 2016: Day 2 Top Picks
Seeing an average of 13 or 14 watch brands a day is no easy task, especially not in a year that many brands seem willing to bring something new to the table. Be it new complications or a new way of designing an existing timepiece, the watch industry seems to understand that in trying times (although many brands insist they haven't dipped in sales), innovation counts for everything.
Here are Day 2 of Baselworld 2016's Top Picks.
Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Manufacture
While not quite along the lines of Cartier's Mystery collection (my woefully incorrect assumption on hearing the name), Chronoswiss' new Flying Regulator Manufacture was quite the eye-opener. Shown above in a stainless steel case, the timepiece gets its name from the raised discs that bear the hours and minutes. As with most Chronoswiss watches, the dial gets the whole nine yards when it comes to finishing, here with a classy guilloche.
For fans of regulators, this may be cool enough a concept to warrant a purchase but Chronoswiss is taking no chances missing out on the sporty market. In the same collection, the brand has now introduced a sporty variant just by changing the colour combinations.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Face2Face 2
It's been three years now since Hamilton surprised us with the dual-movement, dual-faced Jazzmaster Face2Face. This year, the brand chose to redesign the Face2Face, giving it a little more attention to detail and pizazz.
The updated watch sees a singular chronograph movement (the new H21) that can be partially seen through the dial. The front face has the normal hours and minutes plus chronograph indications but swivelling the watch case reveals the reverse face that counts the chronograph hand off a tachymeter and pulsometer scale. Because the hand is driven by the same movement, it actually runs anti-clockwise while you look at it, an interesting way of playing with time.
Corum Golden Bridge Round
Corum has undergone some huge changes in the past two years and with that come some interesting developments. This year, the brand's famous tonneau-shaped case has been swapped out for a new round one, a novel approach to an extremely novel movement.
My favourite part of Corum is the amount of attention it pays to the potential of its timepieces. The Bubble for example, allows for limitless number of designs and likewise, the new Golden Bridge Round is aiming for this. The "bridge-like" micro-structures on either side of the movement aren't a fixed facet in the timepiece. As the brand explained it, customers will be able to opt for a different pattern should they want to as the "beams" are more of a modular-type.
In the future, you could easily see a chance to have your bridge flanked by Singapore's own Helix Bridge. Should you want to pay for it, that is.
Glashutte Originals Senator Excellence
Fans of German watchmaking, hold on to your seats - Glashutte Originals has a new damned calibre. This Calibre 36 (they just had to find an unassigned number so no story here) is a summary of the watchmaker's goal in making chronometers. Tried and tested internally at Glashutte, the new movement sees over 100 hours of power reserve on just a single barrel.
The argument that a longer power reserve is not as important as constant precision through the 100 hours itself is moot when it comes to the Calibre 36. Glashutte Original's stringent testing requires the movement to be tested at several points after the first 24 hours, a test not done by most other chronometers. The Calibre 36 is also tested in six different positions as opposed to five for better accuracy.
The Calibre 36 sees itself in the new Senator Excellence, a justifiable superlative for a calibre of this standard. When it comes to the classic dress watch, it's highly unlikely that you'll find better than German and Glashutte Original proved that today. Details such as the blued hands being made in white gold instead of steel and the laser engraving of the indices are all examples of small touches that make the watch an excellent talking piece.
Chanel Monsieur de Chanel
If there's a word I can use to correctly sum up Chanel's first in-house movement and first timepiece for men, I'd use surprising. See, it wasn't so much that I was surprised Chanel did a men's piece, it's more that they outdid the men's piece.
While most fashion brands are content to just create a casual dress watch that can appeal to the opposite sex, Chanel spent five years developing its own calibre that combines two complications that we don't get the pleasure of seeing too often - a retrograde minute counter (that goes to 240 degrees) and a jumping digital hour. Both these complications aren't at all easy to work with and Chanel has patented the watch's ability to simultaneously jump for both, a combination I'm not too sure I've seen before (we shall get back to you once more research is done).
As Chanel puts it, most of its women's timepieces are metiers d'art, but for the Monsieur de Chanel, its movement is the art form. ADLC treatment for the baseplate, sublime finishing on every component and a Chanel engraved subtly at the corner. I dare you to disagree.