CH24 Watch of the Year 2022 – final gala, winners, awards
The 13th edition of “CH24 Watch of the Year” has been crowned with the awards ceremony, which was […]
Like every year, here is our “CH24.PL & friends” summary of the best watchmaking creations from 2014 Baselworld fair.
So, without farther ado, here we go with ours, and our friends from the watch-journalism world, favorite and best watches of this year’s March/April biggest industry gathering in Swiss town of Basel (in no particular order).
It was the already the 5th Basel for us, it was the longest time we stayed but it was at the same time the most calm, casual and conventional fair we witnessed. No single piece or a brand really stud out, no one made a big splash with crazy innovation, avant-garde design or out-of-the-box solution that would make people talk for days. Having said that, there were however few pieces that I wouldn’t mind including in my personal collection.
As I’m a big chronograph geek, my first two choices go to completely new chronographs revealed at Basel. First one was the Glashutte Original newly designed and conceived caliber 37-01 (or 37-02 with hours counter disc) with a column wheel, bi-directional automatic winding, stop-second, big date and semi-instantaneous jumping minute counter. The movement was developed with minimum possible complication and number of components (to make it more stable, robust and reliable) and introduced in two new pieces: Senator Chronograph Panoramadatum and Seventies Chronograph Panoramadatum. The first one is a more classic solution with gold or platinum case and silver dial, the later presenting more sporty spirit with a rectangular steel case and number of cool dial colors.
The second chronograph of my liking, the one I’d perhaps select as my favorite watch of the entire Basel2014, is the De Bethune marvelous creation called DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon. Encased in the beautiful, gold housing with con-shaped lugs and silver dial with blue hands the new mechanism (DB2039), developed by De Bethune in-house, presents the column-wheel driven manual wind chronograph with three separate sections controlling three stop-watches indications: seconds, minutes and hours. The system was nicknamed “absolute clutch”, and was designed to guarantee maximum stability and uninterrupted work of the whole watch. And it does work indeed, looking superbly at the same time with a nice black alligator strap and hinged caseback, protecting the movement. Gorgeous!
Except this two pieces I really loved, there were some very cool classic new models revealed. Omega’s main focus of the show was the new Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, but my attention went to the traditional De Ville Tresore with a gold case, white dial and perfectly crafted, manual-wound Master Co-Axial caliber 8511. Swatch Group sister-brand Longines also introduced a very classic, small (35mm), vintage inspired Conquest with steel or gold case and very minimalist look. Surprising, classic novelty came from the house of MB&F. The Legacy Machine 101, somewhat a development of the first LM1 model, has a smaller 40mm case, one dial (with second being the power reserve) and a suspended balance wheel on the dial side, with a back reveling a masterfully crafted, hand-wound mechanical movement. It is also the first MB&F made in-house by the brand’s watchmakers – a milestone not to forget.
My honorable mention goes to Peter Speake-Marin, not for one particular watch, but for re-establishing the brand in a more open, accessible yet still characteristic and personal manner. Well done Peter!
In my opinion the year 2014 was quite calm and conservative, with very few crucial – in both technical and design aspects – new models. I’d like to highlight Peter Sepake-Marin and his Spirit Wing Commander. It is a piece that grows on you every day you wear it.
I also liked the sporty Mille Miglia 2014 by Chopard and two less expensive novelties by Longines: Conquest Heritage 1954-2014 and Heritage 1935. From the more expensive brands out there my choice would go to German high-end watchmaking – the Glashutte Original Senator Chronograph Panoramadatum and a Swiss independent De Bethune DB28 Maxichrono.
Although I have seen many new and cool watches during BaselWorld and amazingly enough after one week of being present at world’s biggest watch exhibition, I discovered even more new watches when I was home again browsing all the blogs and watch websites. If you haven’t been to BaselWorld you haven’t lived the life of a proper watch nerd (yet). There are a number of watches and watch brands that made quite an impression on me, like: Breva, Arnold & Son, Armin Strom, Tudor, TAG Heuer, Grönefeld, Ressence, Seiko and Rolex. Yes, even Rolex surprised me in a positive way with their new Sea-Dweller 4000. However, for me personally the biggest highlight was the introduced of the Seamaster 300 by Omega. Although I am more of a Speedmaster kind of guy, the re-edition of the 1957 Seamaster 300 was all I expected it to be. Even the somewhat criticized bracelet can rely on my approval. Although it is somewhat thick and has a modernized clasp on it, it does reflect the look of the original bracelet that also came with a polished centre link and matte finished outer links.
The watch has a very wearable diameter of 41mm (no bulky stuff) and comes equipped with the new Omega Co-Axial caliber 8400 movement. An anti-magnetic movement based on the > 15000 gauss movement that Omega introduced last year. The new Seamaster 300 has an interesting vintage looking – but ceramic – dial with “broad arrow” hands, like the original CK2913 Seamaster 300, and a straight-lug case. The bezel is manufactured using the LiquidMetal technology of course. Why do I like this watch so much? Of course it – successfully – nods to the original Seamaster 300 and also because of its interesting price point of 5000 Euro. I have a weak spot for brands that are able to come up with watches around this price point that really have something to offer. This Omega Seamaster 300 in my opinion, is such a watch.
It is admittedly rather hard to sit down and choose your Basel World 2014 favs. You see so much and are over-exposed to horological info and press words. But with this year’s watch fair a few weeks behind me I have chosen three watches that really appealed to me:
1: Linde Werdelin Oktopus II MoonLite. Funnily enough this was the very first watch I saw on my six-day stint in Basel this year. And the sheer beauty and perfect overall feeling just stuck to me. I really like that mother of pearl finish of the light ALW case and even if I find white rubber straps rather narly, then I must admit that it looked really good on the MoonLIte, instead of the initial silver-grey version, that Morten Linde had designed for this timepiece.
2: Girard-Perregaux Neo-Bridge Tourbillon this year was a truly spectacular watch! Love the obvious architectural approach that Stefano Macaluso has to Swiss watch making and with him behind the helm of the manufacture GP is really going to “the right places” these years. Not only with this novelty, but with many other models coming from their production facilities these years.
3: With last year’s Dark Side of the Moon and this year’s Apollo 11 45th Anniversary of titanium grade 2 and Sedna rosegold attached to a brown textile strap and laser engraved brown dial, Omega is obviously doing a Justin Timberlake, bringing back sex. Can’t wait to see what they have in stall for us, come 2015 as they obvious are on a roll these years.
This year I had the pleasure of experiencing my first true Baselworld as part of the new Quill & Pad team. My highlights, not surprisingly for me, come mostly from technical accomplishments achieved by various brands or independent watchmakers.
My “Best of” has to be the Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon with its push-to-set, push-to-wind feature that allows the wearer to safely stop the delicate tourbillon and set the watch with to-the-second precision. The Parallax Tourbillon also is regulated within C.O.S.C chronometer standards making it a truly accurate timepiece.
My first runner-up goes to another independent: Andreas Strehler and his Sauterelle à Lune Perpétuelle. This beautiful movement contains a moonphase that is accurate to 14,189.53 years and utilizes only 4 components making it the most accurate and least complicated moonphase in a wristwatch ever. Not to mention that it also features a remontoir d’égalité and jumping seconds from its Sauterelle forbearer.
The second runner up isn’t exactly a timepiece as it is a piece of technology: the Ulysse Anchor Escapement from Ulysse Nardin. The anchor escapement is the first of its kind, an anchor constructed from silicon and needing no pivot staff it becomes a flying anchor. I give major credit to UN for continuing to push the boundaries of silicon technology for watchmaking.
Some of my honorable mentions include the incredible Christophe Claret Margot; the first female oriented, non-time related complication in a wristwatch, and the Louis Vuitton Escale Worldtime; a true world-timer featuring 24 colorful historic monograms taken from none other than the Louis Vuitton archives.
Also in my honorable mentions are the Starfleet Machine from MB&F and L’Épée 1839; a space inspired table clock that is very much out of this world, and finally the entirety of NOMOS Glashütte for their milestone of developing and producing their own swing system in-house, making them one of very few companies to have that capability in-house. Congrats NOMOS!