Baselworld 2017: Press Day + Day 1 Top Picks
Baselworld has finally started. After only a full day of running back and forth between booths, we've come to the conclusion that most brands have heeded the ominous foretelling of a stagnant economy and doubled down on innovation. It's only right that they do, of course. As much as a watch is meant to last a lifetime, the reality is that the need to constantly develop new strategies and products is crucial to keeping a brand's head above water.
We're glad to see that after SIHH, the Basel-showing brands have had their answers ready. Here are some of our favourite pieces from today.
TAG Heuer Autavia
There aren't many brands in the world that would let the public vote on a watch to produce. But then again, there aren't many brands that are under the care of Jean-Claude Biver. This year at Baselworld, we were happy to see the results of the vote in the flesh with the new Autavia. This particular look (out of 16 that fans could vote for) belonged to a timepiece worn by Austrian Formula One driver, Jochen Rindt, in the '60s and '70s.
With many heritage-inspired timepieces that hit the market, the biggest criticism tends to be modern interference. TAG Heuer has avoided changing the timepiece too much, only choosing to broaden the bezel slightly and increasing the case size to a modern 42mm. We have to admit that the touch of leaving the old Heuer logo on the dial always makes us smile (as with the Heritage Monaco) so the Autavia wins on many levels.
Bonus picture below: the new Modular Connected sans Connected, with our favourite module instead - the Heuer-02T.
Hermès Slim d’Hermès L’heure Impatiente
"Have you ever felt that the time you spend waiting for something to happen means much more than the actual something?" In typical Hermès form, the idea of time takes on a much more philosophical level and yet, playful. The new Slim d’Hermès L’heure Impatiente follows in line with the maison's past cheeky timekeeping pieces like the Dressage L'Heure Masquee and the Les Temps Suspendu, offering an alternative to the way we look at time.
The Slim d’Hermès L’heure Impatiente sees an interesting countdown timer function with a chime (a first for the house), designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht of Agenhor. How it works is easy. Say you've convinced yourself that at 6pm, you will leave the office. You set the sub-dial on the bottom right to 6 and wait. At 5pm, the watch starts counting down on the bottom left subdial. At 6pm, your watch chimes a subtle reminder for you to leave. Naturally, you turn to the person on the right and ask, "Did you hear that? My watch just chimed. What does yours do?"
Junghans Form A
We're big fans of Junghans' Bauhaus minimalist aesthetic and this year, the brand's new collection of automatic dress watches looks to make that even more so. Inspired by architectural terms, the ETA-powered watches see a slight concave (that was impossible to capture) in the middle of the dial that gives a sense of more space to the watch. As the brand representative explained, the subtlety of the curve makes you stop and ask if you were hallucinating. Funnily enough, she said it just as we were wondering if our eyes had been playing tricks on us. If you're looking for an entry-level minimalist watch, we think the Form A would very much be up your alley.
Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph
It might not be the stunning L.U.C Perpetual Chrono or the L.U.C XPS Twist but the new Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph took our hearts immediately. The 42mm men's version is a revamp of the original 2002 version and is inspired by the look of automobiles from the '40s. To us, there's just something provocative about the dial layout. Powered by an ETA chronograph, we're confident that this entry level model will be the bump up that Chopard wants from the Mille Miglia line.
Corum Golden Bridge Rectangle
We've been suckers for Corum's Golden Bridge and Ti Bridge timepieces for a long time now. Cool as they are ingenious, the latest iteration of the Calabrese-designed movement sees a rectangular 18k red gold case surrounding it. It's a handsome watch that stands out for all the right reasons - a perfect colour combination, a "skeletonised" movement and a case shape that is unique. As much as we do wish that Corum would do away with the micro-structures between case and movement just this once, the argument can be made that it adds a little more pizzazz to the watch.
Bonus picture: A new case made in silver for Corum's Heritage Coin series
Special Mention: Oris Atelier Calibre 113
Perhaps one of the most "slept-on" brands in the watch world, Oris has been steadily releasing great products across the years. This year's Artelier Calibre 113 is a fantastic example of that. A fully in-house calendar watch with 52 week indicator, 10 hours of power reserve and a dial layout that is stunningly clean - what more could you ask for?