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The Best of Baselworld

We pick our top five timepieces from the world's biggest watch fair.

Two years short of its hundredth anniversary, Baselworld continues to keep a firm grip on its position as the world’s biggest and most important watch and jewellery fair.

A rising Swiss franc? A dampened luxury watch market? Neither stopped a record number of international watch journalists from descending on the Swiss city for eight days this March – all in the name of having the first look at the latest horological offerings from some 1,500 brands. After getting hands-on with hundreds of timepieces, here are five of our favourites.

Rolex Day-Date 40
Rolex

Rolex’s launches for the year ahead are always keenly anticipated. We weren’t disappointed, to say the least, by the latest additions to Rolex’s highest-end family, the Day-Date. The new watches stand out with their laser-etched dials, with the ice-blue version in a platinum case being especially fetching.

With a staggering 14 patents, the new movement powering these watches was also a major Baselworld talking point: Rolex’s automatic Calibre 3255 features the manufacture’s Chronergy escapement, which was designed for increased efficiency and greater reliability – thanks to elements like a lighter escape wheel and a more precise, highly resilient hairspring.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5370 Split-Seconds Chronograph
Patek

Having celebrated its 175th anniversary last year, Patek Philippe kept the momentum going at Baselworld with one of the fair’s best-looking timepieces.

So called because of its ability to measure two elapsed time intervals simultaneously, Patek Philippe’s Split-Seconds Chronograph features an in-house calibre with a column wheel system and a horizontal clutch, and other technical innovations that increase efficiency and durability. On the dial side, the 41mm platinum watch’s glossy black enamel dial contrasts beautifully with accents such as applied white gold Breguet numerals.

H. Moser Concept Watch
HMoser

H. Moser continues to impresses with their minimalist yet functional designs, as well as amusingly witty marketing. Take, for example, the “concept watch” the brand launched in Basel. While concept timepieces typically comprise a budding technological innovation housed in a design teetering between avant-garde and unfinished, H. Moser’s Concept Watch explores a notion daring in its extreme simplicity.

Doing away with logos and other embellishments, the 40.8mm white gold watch shows the time – only – via the brand’s signature elements: Elegant leaf hands set against a dial in a gradient fume (French for “smoked”) finish.

Glashutte Original Senator Cosmopolite
Glashutte3

Useful, easy to use, and easy to read. Powered by a new automatic in-house movement with a 72-hour power reserve, the Glashutte Original’s Senator Cosmopolite is a dual-timer with a difference.

The destination time in any of the world’s 37 time zones is easily set – just turn the crown at 4 o’clock until the appropriate city’s airport code appears at the window at 8 o’clock. The destination time is automatically set, along with the correct day/night indication, so harried travellers can cross calculating time zone differences off their to-do lists.

Zenith Elite 6150
Zenith4

For many, Zenith is practically synonymous with the El Primero chronograph calibre. The brand clearly hopes that its Elite movement will also enjoy that kind of close association. Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, Zenith brings the Elite base movement – named Best Movement of the Year at Basel in 1994 – to the fore.

Featuring an increased power reserve of 100 hours and a larger diameter, the new and improved Elite 6150 automatic movement, is housed in an ultra-thin timepiece of the same name. The 42mm steel watch is a study in monochromatic elegance: Sleek hands tell the time against a silver-toned, curved dial. Simply perfect.

Read our full Baselworld report in the upcoming May issue of The Peak.