We love talking about watches and this Baselworld had an interesting crop of timepieces this year. Some were technically savvy and some were high on diamonds while others featured detailed designs or precious materials. In our round up, we’re bringing you the good, the bad and the forgettable watches of Baselworld 2016:
7. Louis Vuitton Blossom Watch Collection
Inspired by LV’s monogram flowers, these watches incorporate the four petaled blooms into a number of different watch designs that range from simple and chic to all out bling. Our favorite was the Tambour Monogram Tourbillon which swaps one of the petals of the mother-of-pearl flower for the flower-shaped cage of the mesmerizing tourbillon against a diamond paved dial. Honestly, we’ve seen superior designs from Louis Vuitton in the past, but these watches incorporate just enough of the fashion house’s aesthetic to be popular.
6. Chanel J12 Collector Mirror
Chanel is celebrating the 15th anniversary of their ceramic watch the J12 with a new design that references their 31 Rue Cambon store through a mirrored dial. The watch is supposedly scratch and stain resistant, which is a good thing considering it’s pristine white exterior looks like it’s just waiting for an accident to happen. This watch is certainly great to look at, but it’s not universally appealing and certainly not versatile. It takes a certain kind of wearer (like radical Lady Gaga or super understated Emmanuelle Alt) to make niche designs like this look good.
5. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady Datejust 28
The new generation of Rolex’s Perpetual Oyster is available in combinations of 904L steel and either 18 carat yellow or Everose gold. This time around, the case has been redesigned to 28mm and features a mechanical movement, caliber 2236, equipped with a Rolex-patented Syloxi hairspring in silicon. Though the watch is intriguing for the Rolex fans out there, this is a forgettable design for everyone else. It’s not visibly very different from previous lady datejust models and is probably only the first in a slew of similar designs planned by the brand.
4. Hermès Mille Fleurs du Mexique
We’ve talked about this timepiece before, but its elaborate hand painted dial surely deserves a second mention. With only 6 timepieces created, this watch is bound to be a coveted piece of Hermès history. We adore the painstakingly painted mother of pearl dial, but the alligator strap feels too plain for this creation. We would have loved a more thoughtfully designed strap (perhaps a similar Laetitia Bianchi designed silk scarf tie?) No doubt the creator’s intention was to spotlight the incredibly detailed dial, a purpose that was achieved at the cost of dimming the overall shine of this incredible watch.
3. Dior Grand Soir Unique Kaléidiorscope
With its beautifully designed dial that evoked the patterns you’d see in a kaleidoscope, this is one of the most captivating watches we’ve seen from Dior in a while. Over 180 different metals and stones have been chosen and delicately arranged on this dial to catch the light to remarkable effect. We can’t look away from the clean geometric lines and hypnotic design of this watch, framed by a ring of green stones on the bezel. A denim strap provides a modern contrast to this modern, futuristic design. Inside is the “Elite 681” automatic caliber movement whose pure wrought rotor is visible through the caseback. The wonderful appeal of this watch is its ageless quality; it can be both a trendy timepiece for twenty-somethings as well as a favorite classic through the golden years.
2. Chopard Happy Diamonds 40th anniversary edition
Chopard uses the original cushion shaped case on a women’s watch to dazzling effect. Not only does this watch has more free-moving diamonds than any previous Happy Diamonds watch, but it also features the largest ones ever seen in such a design. This is the very definition of an heirloom watch, one that won’t go out of style for decades and retains a beautiful feminine aesthetic thanks to the prong set diamonds around the dial. This is the kind of watch, you would give your daughter on her 21st birthday, the kind that accumulates memories and stories the more you use it.
1. Bulgari Serpenti Incantati Skeleton Tourbillon
There’s no ignoring this stunning sparkler from Bulgari – it’s the very first combination of the brand’s iconic Serpent motif with a watchmaking complication: the tourbillon. We love the drama and diamond shine of these watches, but the real pleasure is in being able to see the precision of the openworked movement and the 60 second tourbillon. From the diamond studded coiled snake to the restrained leather straps, these watches strike a careful balance between being bright and boring. This is a bold risk for Bulgari and one that has certainly appeared to have paid off.