10 Top Trends from Baselworld 20175:31 pm
2017 was a big year for the biggest watch and jewellery exhibition of the world. Apart from celebrating its 100 year anniversary, the fair also saw the who’s who of watch and jewellery brands stepping out and putting their best foot forward. Showcasing an array masterpieces, Baselworld 2017 definitely set the trend for the upcoming year. Now that the dust has finally settled and we can see clearly through the hustle-bustle of it all, The Watch Guide brings you the 10 Top Trends from Baselworld 2017 – the industry’s largest watch and jewellery fair.
Ever since Apple launched their first smartwatch in 2013, it is the only thing that has been on everyone’s mind. And as the dust settles on the biggest watch and jewellery fair in the world, you realise that the smartwatch craze has definitely reached the Swiss shores. From TAG Heuer announcing its second smartwatch – TAG Heuer Modular (after they had launched their first connected watch back in 2016) a few days before Baselworld 2017, it looks like this year the Swiss watch brands have listened and taken notice of the changing tide in the luxury watch industry. However, despite the immense popularity of smartwatches, the Swiss watch industry are making sure that their consumers do not lose the feeling and touch of a traditional ticking timepiece. The solution? The introduction of an Analog Hybrid Smartwatch that combines the look and feel of a traditional timepiece while also offering the option of connectivity to their consumers.
What is an Analog Hybrid Smartwatch? It is basically an analog watch which can be connected to a smartphone with the help of a Bluetooth connection. It is a pretty simple concept unlike many of the smartwatches that are available in the market. These watches appear to look simple and traditional but on a closer look offers a Bluetooth connection that can be connected to a smartphone. Allowing the user to combine the overall experience of wearing a traditional watch without compromising on the “connectivity” concept, Analog Hybrid Smartwatches definitely lets you have your cake and eat it too!
Editor’s Pick: Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch
Representing the first dip into the deep waters of the smartwatch world, the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch definitely makes an impactful first dip. One of the very first Analog Hybrid Smartwatches in the world is the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch. A genuine Swiss made masterpiece, featuring a built-in accelerometer for step and sleep tracking. It represents the perfect marriage between a luxury timepiece and the algorithms you usually find in any activity-tracking wristband of today.
Offering a Bluetooth connection that allows your data( steps or sleep records) to be transferred from the watch to the phone. The watch runs on a standard battery with a life of 2 years. This makes the watch not need constant recharging which is a huge plus point in regard to the numerous smartwatches present in the market today. As the aesthetics of the watch is very traditional, the information recorded is displayed via an accompanying app which can be easily installed on your mobile device. What’s more, you can use the app to set the time, date, set alarms, a world timer (second-time-zone) and reminders on the watch via the app.
At first look, the touch and feel of the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch has the regular, run-of-the-mill traditional watch. However, the crown on the side of the dial departs from its natural function of setting time. It works as a pusher that kick starts the connection and synchronisation with the phone. What works most for the watch is the illusion it creates because of how it looks and the functions it offers.
Want to know more about this watch? Read the full review here.
2. Slim watches:
For as long as I can remember, big, bold and flamboyant watches ruled the watch world. It seemed that people believed that the bigger the watch, the more complications and features it could encapsulate. However, I am happy to report that things have changed considerably now. Slim, small and flat cases were all the rage at Baselworld this year. From minimalistic design details to light weight slim watches in monochromatic colour variations, the watch industry has definitely embraced this watch trend and taken it further. Embodying the “less is more” aesthetic, the current wave of slim watches is a subtle nod to the 20th-century style when men wore slimmer and sleeker watches. Make no mistake though, these slim watches are as technically tuned as your average brawny timepiece featuring a multitude of complications.
Editor’s Pick: RADO True Thinline
Rightly described as “stripped to their barest essentials”, the Rado True Thinline is a sleek timepiece that perfectly represents the current slim trend of the watch industry. The slim case is made of high-tech ceramic (a signature RADO feature) and measures 39 mm x 43.3 mm in diameter. It has a thickness of 4.9 mm which is very close to the thickness of a wafer. Imagine that! Taking minimalism to a whole new level, the watch is stripped of any unnecessary features, the dial is decorated with nothing but an hour and minute hand along with the brand name sitting proudly just below 12 o’ clock. The use of a monobloc ceramic eliminates the need for a stainless steel core, hence making the watch ultralight, weighing in at just 82 grams!
In terms of design, the RADO true Thinline is an extremely refined timepiece with the case, bracelet and crown all polished to perfection. The cultured parts of the watch perfectly contrast the sunray finish of the dial and flanges. The RADO True Thinline is powered by an incredibly thin quartz Caliber 9 ETA that is just 1mm thick and perfectly keeps time behind a solid titanium sandblasted caseback.
Want to know more about ultra-thin watches? Read our story here.
3. Materials Used: Titanium
The watch industry has always prided itself in using the most ingenious materials in their watches. From wood to bronze to tobacco and even fossils and meteorites, there is nothing that cannot be used in the world of watchmaking today. Despite it all, it is a given that many of the above-mentioned materials might not be the most practical materials to be used in a watch. At Baselworld 2017, titanium was one of the most popular materials used by almost all brands, big and small. Also called the “engineering metal”, titanium houses advantageous properties like strength, hardness, toughness, lightness, and durability. For a long time, titanium has always been the go-to material for aerospace engineering because of its strength and toughness. Titanium is one of the strongest materials in the world with a strength of 1000MPa for Grade 5 which is five times more than steel.
One of the main advantages of using titanium to structure the case and other parts of the watch is the lightness of the material in its core state. It weighs half the weight of steel while bringing in the same strength as that of steel. Therefore, despite the size of the watch, the use of titanium ensures the watch feels light on the wrist. The only disadvantage of using titanium is the price that comes with it. However, on the flipside, it is cheaper than other precious metals.
Editor’s Pick: Edox Chronorally Chronograph
Talking about the extensive use of titanium in watches, the Edox Chronorally Chronograph is one fine example to bring out the incredible and innumerable properties of the much sought-after material. The Edox Chronorally Chronograph, as the name suggests, is a watch that has been developed in partnership with one of Formula One’s iconic teams- Sauber F1. The Chronorally Chronograph is an illustrious watch with a 48mm titanium case that features a carbon fibre dial whose lower part takes inspiration from the chequered flag used at races. In terms of features, the watch houses a big date window with a retrograde date function, a tachymeter (necessary for racing professionals), beautifully designed hour markers, oversized Chrono pushers, rubber strap and a special wheel caseback.
As the watch is dedicated to Rally divers, it is imperative that the timepiece has a high resistance towards shocks, tarmac, extreme weather conditions and general wear and tear. The use of titanium here ensures the watch is equipped with high level of resistance against all forms of abuse. The 48mm titanium case not only guarantees protection but also ensures that the huge watch feels light on the wrist and doesn’t wear the racer or driver down.
Want to know about the watch? Read our full review here.
4. Visible mechanics A.K.A Skeleton Watches
A re-occurring trend is the “visible mechanics” feature incorporated in a watch that enables the wearer to witness the intricate workings of the movement behind the dial. This time too, more than a few brands incorporated this trend in their Baselworld 2017 novelties and were met with much vigour and enthusiasm. From an out and out skeleton dial to offering a peek into the movement of a watch, the 2017 watch fair was filled with timepieces that focused on showcasing the craft and skill that goes behind manufacturing and developing a timepiece of this calibre.
Editor’s Pick: Corum Admiral’s Cup Squelette
It is a known fact that manufacturing fine watches has always been Corum’s forte. They have always managed to cultivate an eccentric collection of watches. The Corum Admiral’s Cup Squelette is definitely one of them. While it is at heart a skeleton watch, the Corum Admiral’s Cup Squelette is so much more than just a skeleton watch. It is a fine architecture masterpiece with an open worked dial that gives off a three-dimensional effect. What stands out most is the incorporation of a uniquely crafted and remarkably modern date disk. The skeleton dial while showcasing the entire movement in all its glory, also delivers the watch in a multi-layered three-dimensional manner. This adds real depth to the dial and establishes Corum’s expertise in design and execution.
Eventually, the skeletonised date ring is where you finally realise the extent and dedication of the Corum team. Taking advantage of the slopes of the dodecagonal case design, the date ring allows large numerals to fill the space between the movement and the hour indicators, adding to the illusion of the skeletonized watch, while at the same time fulfilling an essential function of delivering an extremely legible date display.
Not heard enough? Read the full review of the watch here.
5. Accessible Price Points:
Anybody who has got anything to do with watches is well aware of the fact that the watch industry is going through a tough phase. According to the Financial Times, “the January figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry show exports were down 6.2 per cent by value on the same month last year. Sales of precious metal watches fell 9.7 per cent, while those for steel models fell 0.8 per cent.” Hence, this year at Baselworld, we witnessed a large number of novelties and reiterations of icons introduced in steel (an affordable metal) like never before. For example, Rolex launched the iconic Sky-Dweller in a steel-and-gold version after being available in various gold references for five straight years! If this isn’t one of the biggest takeaways of the event then I don’t know what is!
Editor’s Pick: Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue
The Favre-Leuba Raider Deep Blue is a watch that brings with it the incredible watchmaking history of 279 years at a very accessible price point of Rs 162,000. The 44mm stainless steel case is powered by an automatic Swiss Made movement that offers the hours, minutes and seconds function protected by a screwed and aligned caseback. The immaculately designed case also features a unidirectional rotating bezel made of anodised aluminium, a screw-down crown on the side. The sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating on both sides provides additional resistance against general wear and tear.
Additionally, the black dial features appliqued index markers filled with blue luminous material emitting a dark blue glow that provides legibility when reading time in low light conditions. If you take a closer look at the dial, you will notice a uniquely designed seconds disk at the center that makes this a unique offering for anyone who wants a unique piece of horology. The Favre-Leuba Raider Deep Blue is a true precision instrument that promises to keep you on time everywhere and also at an affordable price point.
6. Watch Bands/Modular approach
Could you ever imagine the iconic Bulgari Serpenti in wrap-around interchangeable leather straps? From this year onwards, you might just have to! The 2017 Baselworld saw an introduction of a variety and mesmerising array of strap and wristband options. With iconic timepieces being offered in colourful NATO and rubber straps, this year the watch industry has taken a step forward by taking risks and exploring new territories. From modular timepieces like the TAG Heuer Connected 2.0 or Modular 45 to the exclusive availability of customising one’s straps and bracelets, the trendiest trend this year was going “Modular”.
Editor’s Pick: Oris Divers Sixty-Five
Oris launched their famous divers watch- the Oris Divers Sixty-Five in 2017 in a variety of colour and strap options. Already pegged as “a true recreation of a cult classic”, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five, with its options of dial colours and strap options definitely struck a chord with the current generation of watch lovers. The Divers Sixty-Five features a 42mm slender stainless steel case equipped with a black rotating bezel with a 60-minute timer, retro-inspired dial with large circular vintage hour markers, and a domed sapphire crystal. Despite all this, the watch makes a fan out of you with its ability to provide a delightful collection of strap and bracelet options. From steel bracelets, rubber straps, a brown distressed leather strap (our personal favourite) to blue and green striped nylon NATOs, the watch definitely satisfies a contemporary watch-lover’s need for variety and customisation.
Want to know more? Here is our take on the iconic divers watch here.
7. More Refinements than Novelties
While a major trend from Baselworld 2016 was the influx of novelties from major brands, this year, strangely enough, there wasn’t much to talk about when it came to narrowing down the major novelties from any brand. Rather, 2017 was the year when brands all across the board introduced an array of reintroduction and refined timepieces of the existing novelties. For instance, as this year marked the 60th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster family, the brand reintroduced impeccable refinements of the existing collection of watches. After all said and done, this trend isn’t necessarily a bad one; it just goes on to make “good watches even better.”
Editor’s Pick: Omega Speedmaster ’57 Omega Co-Axial Chronograph
Before I begin, I just want to say that choosing any other watch would not have made any sense. While its easy to lose track of every Speedmaster version that has been introduced in the market for 60 years, this one, however, is a difficult timepiece to forget. The Omega Speedmaster features a 41.5mm stainless steel case with a bold black dial protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It is powered by the Omega Co-Axial calibre 9300 movement that is also the first chronograph movement produced by the brand’s family of in-house mechanical movements.
Keeping in tune with the adventurous pioneering spirit of the collection, the watch features a uniquely crafted brushed bezel equipped with a tachymeter scale, perfect for racing enthusiasts across the globe. The bold black dial also features chronograph sub-dials with a seconds counter and a 12-hour and 60-minute chronograph counter at 9 and 3 o’ clock, respectively. The hour and minute hands are shaped in a “Broad Arrow” style that adds a distinct persona to the already idiosyncratic watch. The Omega Speedmaster ’57 Omega Co-Axial Chronograph is presented in a brown Barenia leather strap that matches perfectly with the stainless steel case.
8. Marking Occasions:
Marking occasions like celebrating an anniversary, has always been an important reason for numerous watch brands to introduce special watches that commemorate the particular occasion. This year was no different. 2017 was a year that was important not just for many brands but also Baselworld. The event entered its 100th year of showcasing watches and jewellery. It was also the 60th anniversary of the legendary Speedmaster collection from Omega. Additionally, other big brands like TAG Heuer, Hublot and Longines introduced watches that established a special moment in the history and heritage of the respective brands, making 2017 Baselworld a grand affair to remember.
Editor’s Pick: Raymond Weil Maestro Beatles Limited Edition
Raymond Weil – an independent, family-owned brand has time and again strived to showcase its complete dedication to offering intricately designed timepieces at an affordable price point. For its 40th anniversary, the Swiss brand made head turns with their limited edition Maestro Beatles watch. Rightly called “a music partnership that beats all music partnerships”, the Raymond Weil Maestro Beatles Limited Edition is a one-of-kind-watch that deserves a place on your wrist.
The stainless steel dial of the Maestro beautifully represents the journey of the band through their albums. It houses all 13 album titles placed around the silver galvanic dial in an interesting way: starting with “Please Please Me”, their first album, to the 4 o’clock indication reserved for the unforgettable semaphore interpretation of “Help”, the band’s fifth album released in 1965.
Want to know more about this watch? Read our full review here.
9. Classic Watches:
You can never go wrong with a classic watch and this year Baselworld was brimming with watches that were introduced in their signature classic designs. Showcasing their take on dressier and traditional timepieces, Baselworld 2017 saw an array of classic watches from brands like Rolex, Longines and even Seiko. Classic timepieces are impervious to changing trends and will last you a lifetime. Hence, it is necessary to choose a watch that is simple, elegant and will make you want to still wear it twenty years down the line.
Editor’s Pick: Carl F. Bucherer Manero Peripheral
Apart from its classic looks and the brand’s attention to detail, the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Peripheral also features a movement that is a first of its kind. A true gentleman’s watch powered by the world’s first Peripheral chronometer, the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Peripheral definitely rings true of a classic watch that will not just last you a lifetime but will always be a good conversation starter. It combines a classic design with state of the art engineering and the best watch making skills.
A true classic watch, the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Peripheral features a 40.6mm case which is neither too large nor too small for any wrist size. Additionally, the balanced and textured dial is well executed and is guaranteed to look great on the wrist too. Other classic elements include arrow-shaped, faceted hour indicators matched in style by lance hands which are done in stainless steel. All in all, the Manero is well dressed, well versed, and has a strong character of its own.
Want to know more? Read the full review here.
10. Smaller Dials
A welcome yet unexpected trend that we noticed this year was the decrease in the dial size with brands offering watches in 38-42mm for men. A great shift from the usual chunky and bulky 45-48mm watches, most of the launches at Baselworld this year inclined towards smaller and more compact dials. A few of the notable brands that launched smaller dials were the Omega Railmaster 1957 in 37mm, Longines Flagship Heritage in 38.5mm and the Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition in 40mm.
Editor’s Pick: TAG Heuer Carerra Calibre 5
The TAG Heuer Carerra is a classic yet contemporary sports watch inspired by motor racing. The watch is available in a 39mm case size which is a rather small size for a sports watch. While it has been inspired by motor racing, the watch, however, features dressy aesthetics and design details. The black dial houses hand-applied polished and fine-brushed faceted indexes and polished hour and minute hands with luminescent markers. Furthermore, the watch is powered by an automatic Calibre 5 Swiss Made movement that clocks in a power reserve of 38 hours. The 39mm steel case is the perfect for every wrist size and brings forward a new trend of watches with smaller dials and cleaner aesthetics!
All watches featured in this article is available at Ethos Watch Boutiques.
What did you think about the upcoming trends for 2017? What do you think about the 2017 Baselworld launches? Let us know in the comments section below.