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April 02, 2015

Top 7 Watch Trends at BaselWorld 2015

Text by Sitanshi Talati-Parikh

Timepieces in varying shades of blue, ‘smart watch’ prototypes and innovative complications…Verve gives you complete access to the biggest watch trends of 2015

Besides the watches that garnered all our attention, we couldn’t help savour the hautest experiences and happenings at BaselWorld (Check it all here). The timepieces were an obvious display of a desire to trump a previous feat of mechanism but also suggested a need to refer to tradition and classic styles in an increasingly modern world. As diamonds flashed amid moonphases, Verve picks the trends that stood out.

1. SEEING BLUE
It was surprising to see a prominence of the colour blue across the various watch brands, sometimes in more than one style and spanning straps, face and design attributes.

2. HAUTE HOROLOGY AND THE ‘SMART WATCH’


The watch manufacturers struggled to deal with the question from varied worldwide press about the impact of the smart watch (namely Apple) to horology. TAG Heuer kept an air of mystery with, “Wait and watch,” and a promise to deliver by the year end, while Seiko said they were watching the trend with great interest.

The showstopper was of course, Bulgari‘s “intelligent” watch prototype, Bulgari Diagono Magnesium (self-winding mechanical watch) which they said to be akin a “vault” (powered by the WISEID Bulgari Vault App) that stores sensitive data on the Cloud secured by Swiss security and data storage company, WISeKey. It provides the ability to make payments, log into a digital community, open doors and start your car engine among other things.

Frederique Constant offered bi-directional communication with iPhone and Android devices (powered by MotionX a patented sensor-fusion engine) in their Alpina/FC Steel Horological Smartwatch (refined brushed and polished stainless steel 39mm case with a metal bracelet) using analog dials. The “smart” counter is positioned at 6 o’clock and the small steel hand shows the percentage of your activity and sleep goals. It has a 2+ years’ battery life. There is an in-built goal achiever with a pedometer (Kms and calories), sleep monitor, alarm and activity reminder that ties into an iPhone app connected via bluetooth. “If you get bored with the app, it’s still a classic watch. A digital watch is not in our DNA,” said Annabel, their PR Assistant.

Breitling B55 Connected is the brand’s first “connected chronograph” taking off from last year’s Caliber B50 electronic multifunction chronograph movement with analog and digital displays. The chronograph continues to remain the master, and the connection with the smartphone is primarily to improve its user friendliness. Owners of the B55 Connected can use their phone to perform certain adjustments (time-setting, timezones, alarms, display and operating parameters, night mode, etc.). Conversely, the user may also upload the results of various measurements (flight times, etc.) from the chronograph to the smartphone so as to be able to read them more easily, store them or pass them on. The watch may be recharged via the main grid or a computer USB port. It is powered by a SuperQuartz movement ten times more accurate than standard quartz, which is chronometer-certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute.

Longines brings back one of its vintage models with the Longines Pulsometer Chronograph which adds a pulsometric scale. The single push-piece chronograph can measure heart rate.

3. BEING OUTRAGEOUS
You whistle at the prices and don’t dare blink at the glitter, but the mechanism and sound leave you awestruck. From crazy diamonds and shiny jewels to glyptics and feathered dials, there is everything and more to send our hearts in a flutter. Here are some of the fantastic pieces (including limited editions) seen behind the scenes. We have our lips sealed on which have already been booked and sold! (Hint: Toggle the gallery for limited edition details.) 

4. THE SHAPE MASTERS


Hermes launched a new shape after 20 years with unique typography that describes an Art Deco and modern feel, with numerals placed in a radial position. It shows the classic simplicity and deep aesthetic eye of Hermes. Slim d’Hermes, designed by Philippe Delhotal, creative director of La Montre Hermes, testifies to the graphic approach of the house through the original typography created by graphic designer Philippe Apeloig to mark the hours.

Bulgari’s Serpenti timepieces are reinterpreted with a head-over-tail design, a variation on the original. The bracelets are crafted for the first time without the internal spring, which gives them a sinuosity.

Longines showcased a new look with its Equestrian range (a tribute to it’s long-standing passion for equestrian sports). Arches on racetracks evoking horseshoes, stirrups, leather of saddles: all these images are found in the lines of these watches. With it’s Symphonette range, it revived the classic elongated oval shape.

5. SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET…AND THE COMPLICATIONS

Chanel knows how to find place in every closet with its high complication flying tourbillon for women (the prize-winning style first made two years ago) beautiful in black spinelle and blue sapphires.

Blancpain‘s Day Night has gradations in the colour blue, achieved by deposit upon the mother of pearl, marking the change from day to night. It has the caliber 1150 created especially for its Women collection.

This year, Louis Vuitton aimed higher with it’s striking 2014 Escale Worldtime, with the addition of the minute repeater functionality, produced in-house at the La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton manufacture.

Raymond Weil released a brand new complication, the Nabucco Cello tourbillon, which was on embargo until this month.

6. THE WORLD OF INSPIRATIONS

Ulysse Nardin creates a music box within a watch. In the second edition of 2013’s Stranger, the in-house developed, self-winding, musical mechanical watch performs the Vivaldi melody, Violin Concerto in E.

From Raymond Weil‘s music-inspired range including the Gibson special edition to a tribute to Raymond Weil’s demise last year, a special 45 mm watch to celebrate his passion for flying (out later this year) in a special edition of 1500 pcs with hands that recall the design of propellers…the Raymond Weil booth served as a centre of homage and inspirations. Says CEO Elie Bernheim, “My late grandfather Mr. Raymond Weil had an infinite passion for music, so has my father Olivier Bernheim. My mother is a professional pianist, and I have been playing the cello and piano from very early age. Music is part of our family story, and naturally splits into our Brand DNA.” (Read more in a Q&A with the CEO here.)

TAG Heuer had a burst of superstar editions in their bid to target the growing youth market: Cristiano Ronaldo, Maclaren, David Guetta, Cara Delevingne. The Cara Delevingne story resonates with the young woman who is talented and sophisticated but has rough edges, and this comes through in the watch design. (See ad campaign below)

Hublot has mastered the art of the outrageous with their cricket, Ferrari and poker limited editions.

Seiko has a Novak Djokovic special edition in a new Premier Kinetic Perpetual series. Across the year, Novak plays indoors and out, on clay, grass and hard court, and by day and night. Each dial in the four creations in the Novak Djokovic Special Edition reflects the different conditions which Novak faces as he continues on his journey.

The Tissot T-Race MotoGP Limited Edition 2015 is a tribute to Tissot’s relationship with MotoGP™, taking the motorbikes themselves as inspiration. A new case design featuring flexible horns and indices coated with Super-LumiNova®, while the screws that fix the brake disc to the wheel are reminiscent of the small parts of the motorbikes themselves.

Chopard‘s new Mille Miglia GTS (for Grand Turismo Sport) collection, revisits its flagship collection and is composed of a three-hand and date chronometer, a power reserve and a chronograph. It sees the introduction of a Chopard movement: for the first time, the chronometer and power-reserve models will be equipped with a Chopard movement from the workshops of Fleurier Ebauches. The Mille Miglia collection stems from the fascination for classic cars nurtured by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard. A collector and active driver, he takes part in the race each year. Dedicated to Italy’s most famous and closely followed classic car race, the Mille Miglia GTS Automatic, Power Control and Chrono watches are designed as wrist worn auxiliary navigation instruments. The rubber strap is evidently inspired by 1960s Dunlop racing tyres or steel bracelet.

7. THE MATERIALS

Bulgari has always experimented with materials — one of the first to use aluminium, titanium and then a rubber strap. This year they showcased a combination of magnesium, PEEK and ceramic. Magnesium is a very light silvery-white metal with strong properties in terms of structural and mechanical strength for a minimum weight (used in super-cars, aeronautics or space research). Bulgari also decided to design the pieces of the Diagono watch with an ultra-resistant, light polymer used to replace metal in aeroplanes or space shuttle design. Popularly known as PEEK, it stands for PolyEtherEtherKetone and brings rigidity and dimensional stability to the table — enabling it to withstand high temperatures and hostile environments. It is easy to work with and light compared to steel, aluminium and titanium. Alongside these three contemporary technological materials, Bulgari’s engineers used a unique lacquer inspired by car racing: Motorlac, a very high quality protective coating. It also makes it possible to create surprising grained textures and colours, and shimmering new light effects.

Hublot, known for pushing the boundaries with it’s fusion of materials, has true to tradition unveiled a range of combinations of materials in other pieces including Texalium® (seen in the Big Bang UNICO Italia Independent) an aluminium-coated carbon fibre. They have also introduced Osmium. The valuable rare metal (a part of the Platinum group and it is very hard, dense and heavy) appears in the dial in the form of bright, colorful and neon-like crystal. It has the reputation of being the most expensive metal in the world. Hublot’s osmium crystal (made at the melting point of osmium) is now patent protected. In its compact and crystallised form, it becomes very stable in the air and radiates fade-proof rays of blue brilliance.

The new feature of the 2015 version of TAG Heuer‘s Monaco V4 Phantom is found on the case, which is made from CMC (Carbon Matrix Composite) and the seven bridges of its movement, also in CMC. A specific technique was used to create them in ‘directed carbon’, which means that the carbon fibres are placed in a certain direction in the mould, then micro-blasted, giving them a regular ‘matt black vertical brushed’ appearance.

Plasma high-tech ceramic is Rado’s “modern alchemy”. Transforming white ceramic to take on a warm metallic shine without the use of any metal, was a process that was first used by Rado. This year, the brand presented a lovely chocolate brown ceramic. Three new models of the HyperChrome family were introduced, including one automatic chronograph as well as an automatic frosted with 56 diamonds. The new Rado HyperChrome Si3N4 is the first watch made entirely of ultra-light silicon nitride high-tech ceramic.

Seiko‘s Astron GPS Solar launched in 2012 has the innovation of a third caliber for a global traveller. Using the power of light Astron connects to the GPS network and tells time with atomic clock precision adjusting the time zone at the touch of a button. With dual-time caliber you can read the time in 2 time zones and the day of the week. Date is correct until Feb 28, 2100 due to the perpetual calendar. In titanium and steel with the Zaratsu technique to give sharpness in every light reflection. Various colours in the dials and a limited edition mother of pearl.

VIEW MORE

Fans of the Jaquet Droz Ateliers D’Art? Check out the video of the technique here. It’s the first ever movie produced by Jaquet Droz featuring the craftsmen in the Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art. Painting, engraving and sculpting, enameling, paillonnée enameling, the automata; discover how the main decorative arts crafted by Jaquet Droz are worked in miniature and integrated into timepieces.

The Rolex calibre 3255, unveiled at Baselworld 2015, is a new-generation mechanical movement with 14 patents, which sets a new level of chronometric precision with criteria surpassing those of COSC (the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute). Calibre 3255 establishes new standards of performance for the core characteristics of a watch movement: precision, power reserve, reliability, resistance to shocks and magnetism, as well as the ease and convenience of its adjustment. See video:

The Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon, Grey Side of the Moon and White Side of the Moon come together to tell the story of OMEGA’s association with space. Don’t miss the Grey Side of the Moon backstory after.

The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond Limited Edition:

The TAG Heuer Cara Delevingne ad campaign:

Related posts from Verve:


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