It’s that time of the year again – Baselworld – one of the two biggest and most prestigious watch fairs in the world has closed its doors. In this article we’ll highlight the best new watches in a streamlined and convenient way. You will get all the essential information as well as some images of the timepieces.
The new Rolex Sea-Dweller is currently the most popular and most controversial timepiece simultaneously. Funnily enough, most people wouldn’t even recognize it as a new model, so what’s the big deal?
- New Sea-Dweller is bigger with a 43-mm diameter
- Small red inscription, reminiscent of the legendary vintage models
- First Sea-Dweller with loupe over the date
- Water-resistant to 1,220 meters (instead of the usual 300 m of the Submariner)
- Official list price is 10,350 euros
- Created for professional divers with much more demanding technical specifications, a relatively high price and probably rarer and harder to get, the Sea-Dweller is basically the “Mega-Submariner”
At first glance, it’s just a regular Rolex Submariner with an inscription on the dial that says “Sea-Dweller” in red instead of Submariner in white; and it’s bigger with a 43-mm diameter instead of 40 mm. If you look closer, you’ll see there are also minute graduations that go fully around the diving bezel instead of just to 15 minutes on the Submariner. The most significant details of this watch, however, are technical in nature. It’s water-resistant up to 1,220 meters, which is four times higher than a Submariner and on the side of the case it has a helium escape valve for deep-sea saturation diving.
In the end, this watch is a “Super-Submariner” created for professional divers, but highly desirable if you like products that can perform to a higher standard than you’ll need in your normal life. This is similar to the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, seeing as 90 % of owners will never drive through deep mud or up a steep hill, but it feels pretty good to know your car could.
So, why is it the most controversial piece at Baselworld? The Sea-Dweller now has a cyclops loupe, as does the Submariner, GMT Master II, Datejust, and more. Like all passionate enthusiasts, Rolex collectors tend to prefer puristic watches that are true to their heritage. Since the Sea-Dweller has never had a loupe before, it was one of the key features that distinguished it from the Submariner. Therefore, the Sea-Dweller is being discussed very heatedly in the watch collecting community.
In any case, the Rolex Daytona just received a competitor for the most-sought after piece in 2017.
Tudor Black Bay Chronograph Ref. 79350
When the first Black Bay was introduced in 2012, it was an instant success among collectors and first-time watch buyers. Today, it’s one of the very few watch models introduced after 2000 that has become a modern classic. Many passionate enthusiasts have been hoping for a Tudor Chronograph and this year their wish finally came true.
- Combines the most popular watch characteristics into a single timepiece
- A modern sports chronograph with black dial
- Water-resistant to 200 meters
- Available with a steel bracelet, leather strap, or NATO strap
- Chronometer-certified “in-house movement
- Date display (which the Daytona and the Speedmaster don’t have)
- Very attractive value for money ratio with an official list price starting at 4,410 euros
- Some purists criticized the use of the so-called snowflake hand, but the Black Bay Chronograph is pretty close to being a perfect watch
Omega 1957 Trilogy
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of three legendary models, Omega released a set of limited edition pieces which are as close to the originals as possible in modern watchmaking: the Seamaster 300, Railmaster, and of course, the Speedmaster. The watches were originally created in 1957 with very specific wearers in mind: professional divers, pilots, racing drivers (not astronauts – that came later), as well as scientists and people working in magnetic environments.
The new watches were made to include all the traits that make the vintage pieces so great, plus more:
- The dials and hands were created with the so-called “tropical” look that vintage watches often acquire after being exposed to tough everyday conditions for years or decades.
- Relatively small sizes are reminiscent of their heritage; 38.6 mm for the Speedmaster, 39 mm for the Seamaster 300, and 38 mm for the Railmaster
- Each watch is limited to 3,357 pieces and comes with three straps: a solid modern steel bracelet, as well as a leather strap and NATO strap.
- In addition to these pieces, there is an even more exclusive option: the complete set of all three Omega 1957 Trilogy watches. Limited to 557, this option comes with dedicated packaging and accessories, making it the ultimate choice for Omega collectors.
Longines Heritage 1945
Modern Longines and vintage Longines are usually very different types of watches. Most people associate Longines with nicely designed and affordable watches, including sports watches like the HydroConquest or their classic Master Collection. However, vintage Longines are a different story. If you look at auctions, their vintage chronographs and a few of their time-only dress watches achieve very high results.
With the new Heritage 1945, Longines kept the reasonable pricing, but added the aesthetic of one of their fine historic pieces:
- Great interpretation of Longines history in high-end watchmaking
- Elegant dress watch with modern twists like the suede strap, an automatic movement, and the 40-mm size
- Connaisseurs and purists highly appreciate the lack of a date display on a watch like this
- A timepiece with a similar appeal as a Patek Philippe Calatrava, Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle, or A. Lange & Söhne 1815, but for a fraction of the price
Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture
Last year, Frederique Constant surprised and impressed the watch world with one of the most beautiful and affordable perpetual calendar watches available on the market. This year, their FlybackChronograph Manufacture continues the same story:
- Beautiful classic chronograph with well thought out details like square pushers, Breguet-style or sword hands, and date by hand at 6’o clock
- Serious watchmaking with an in-house developed and assembled flyback chronograph
- Another great example from Frederique Constant of a fine mechanical watch with great value for money
- Official list price: 3,695 euros
Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente
Several luxury and jewelry brands create exceptional timepieces. Houses like Cartier, Piaget, Chopard, and Bulgari have more than just a few examples to prove their ability. Much rarer, however, are traditional fashion and leather-goods brands that produce fine mechanical watches that are more than just a beautiful design. Over the past years, legendary French maison Hermès has unveiled several timepieces with serious watchmaking craftmanhsip that deserve attention. The new Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente follows that example effortlessly:
- Poetic combination of an elegant dress watch with complex inner values
- Alarm function for a specific event which can be set between 12 hours and one hour before the event; a countdown progresses until a smooth sound rings
- This piece is built on the playful idea that in the midst of hectic times, there are moments to look forward to. When the fine tone strikes, it reminds the wearer that the awaited moment has arrived.
- With the L’Heure Impatiente Hermès has created the opposite of sporty deep-sea diving or motor-racing tool watch; this is more a piece of art than a timekeeper
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic
Similar to clothing or shoes, certain watches are not for the faint of heart. Some timepieces require their wearer to try new things and experiment with colors, materials, and shapes. The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic is exactly one of these pieces; you either love it or you prefer to stick with more traditional watches:
- Slimmest ultra-thin automatic watch worldwide; another world record for the Bulgari Octo collection
- Hand-finished movement with 60-hour power reserve and platinum micro-rotor
- Highly technical design with clean lines, surface finishing, and an unmistakable appearance
- Worthy interpretation of a legendary design that inspired some of the most exclusive and iconic watches today
NOMOS Club Automatik Datum Atlantik
The young watch manufacture NOMOS is famous for their clean Bauhaus designs, high-level of German watchmaking, and amazing value for money. It comes as no surprise that all of their new watches share these values – and more. The Club Automatik Datum Atlantik is our preferred version:
- A confident and modern appearance thanks to its dark blue dial, stylish textile strap, and 41.5-mm case
- Very practical watch for everyday use with an automatic movement and water-resistant up to 20 atm (suitable for diving)
- A NOMOS watch for people who like their timepieces understated, yet contemporary
- Official list price is 2,740 euros
Chopard L.U.C Lunar One
In the world of fine watchmaking, the perpetual calendar still holds a very special place. One of the so-called grand complications, it always shows the correct day, date, and month as well as the moonphase and leap year, regardless of whether the current month has 31, 30, 28 or even 29 days. With the L.U.C Lunar One, Chopard has created an particularly beautiful piece:
- Striking blue dial with traditional Roman numerals and a very balanced layout
- Very prominent outsized date display
- Automatic movement with micro-rotor; not only chronometer certified, but also hand-finished and decorated to the high standards of the Geneva Seal
- Limited edition of 100 platinum pieces
- Official list price is 66,890 euros
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320G
Though Patek Philippe introduced several spectacular grand complications and a new model in their Advanced Research line, we’d first like to draw your attention to a watch that looks a bit simpler upon first glance, but only for that first look.
If you look a bit closer, you’ll realize that this model is also a grand complication from the master watchmakers at Patek Philippe, but it doesn’t stop there:
- A perpetual calendar with the triple calendar dial layout reminiscent of legendary vintage pieces like Ref. 1526 and Ref. 3448
- For decades Patek Philippe only offered annual calendars with this dial configuration
- Beautiful vintage-inspired dial in a cream color, featuring Arabic numerals and fine-tipped baton hands
- Modern size at 40-mm diameter
- Overall, small, but unique details make this timepiece quite different than other high-end complications from Patek Philippe
TAG Heuer New Autavia
The new TAG Heuer Autavia has several strengths, making it an instant winner:
- Based on Heuer’s great chronograph heritage, it’s the outcome of an online competition where the public could vote for a design among 16 options. Thus, we have a watch produced by TAG Heuer and chosen by the online watch community.
- It’s a rugged sports chronograph with an in-house movement, “panda” dial, date display, and is available with a leather strap or steel bracelet.
- Great attention to detail, e.g. the old Heuer-only logo, big subdials, and the characteristic bracelet.
- Official list price starts around 4,600 euros
New IWC Ingenieur models
Last weekend IWC Schaffhausen introduced four new Ingenieur models and each of them stands out with different strengths:
- The understated Ingenieur Automatic 3570 is the kind of watch we need more of: a no- nonsense piece with just a time and date display. There are no triple chronographs or double tourbillons here, but just a nice watch that fits on a leather strap and steel bracelet and is available with a black or silver dial.
- The Ingenieur Chronograph Sport 3809 is a different kind of timepiece and showcases some of IWC’s old engineering values. It’s a sporty chronograph in a titanium case with a soft-iron inner cage for protection against magnetic fields.
- The Ingenieur Chronograph 3808 meets the lifestyle requirements of some with its dial available in blue or silver with gold accents and a steel or gold case. It also has a transparent glass back, offering a view of the new caliber instead of the anti-magnetic construction.
- The technical highlight is the Ingenieur Perpetual Digital Date-Month. It’s a newly designed version of the impressive IWC complication, which was available in other collections, as well as a previous Ingenieur model, in the past.