Baselworld 2019 Favorites - Atom Moore
Baselworld 2019 was an interesting show. Without getting into the politics of it all - come see me in person at an NYC RedBar gathering if you want to really talk it through - it was a decent showing from the brands. I was there with RedBar CEO Kathleen McGivney to get hands on with all the latest novelties.
My #1 here is the Oris Divers 65 Two Tone. Instead of steel and gold they’ve opted for a diver with that look but are using steel and bronze. This makes a whole lot of sense to me. It’s the first time a steel/bronze two-tone has been done, to my knowledge, and it is well done. It is the slightly smaller Divers 65 at 40mm, which fits perfectly on my smaller than average wrist. For just less than half of half of a decent matte dial sub, this is definitely on my want list.
This one goes to the Breitling Navitimer reissue. Breitling collaborated with one of the most knowledgeable collectors of their own brand, Fred Mandelbaum, to make sure every detail was spot on. (If you don’t already, and you want to learn a lot about vintage Breitling, follow him on Instagram at @watchfred.)
This year I was most enamored with the new Grand Seiko 9R02 watches in their Elegance collection, the favorite being the Platinum SBGZ001 with their first manual wind Spring Drive movement, etched case, and hand finished dial. I could have spent a very long time shooting just this watch.
The world’s most accurate wristwatch is in a simple time-only guise via Citizen’s new pièce de résistance 0100 series. We were one of only a few given the opportunity to handle the watch in our appointment and wow! The extremely simple design, open case back showing the quartz movement, and the sheer technical achievement make this new series just incredible. +1/-1 second accuracy per YEAR.
It’s not everyone’s favorite in this category, but I really have to give it to Patek for the innovative dial design on their Alarm Travel Time 5520P. The hour and minute display of the alarm and the functionality of it is just superb, and the chime sound is one I’d be happy to have awaken me. This piece is one of my all-time favorite alarm complications. Would I like to wear it daily? Maybe not. It’s large and with 4 crowns it has a unique look that isn’t for the faint of heart. Nonetheless it is truly a rad complication. How many watches would you describe as rad?
Zenith has been working on its Defy Lab concept for a while now. While a time-only watch may not really fit into this category, I don’t really care. The new Defy Inventor is the production version of last year’s concept and it is awesome. While “only” currently at COSC standards as far as accuracy goes, I think this movement architecture is really going to be something to watch for the near future. Well done, Zenith.
#1 is the Kari Voutilainen 28ti. The latest offering from an independent brand that has become well known for its incredibly intricate and fun guilloche dials, this one has no dial at all. Instead the entire movement has been reworked to allow it to be flipped around entirely. The back of the movement is now seen through the front of the watch, and front of the movement through the case back. While several other brands have done this before - Moritz Grossmann and Glashutte Original to name a few - Kari has done it in his own unique style that is just beautiful.
While not a new watch, and with a dial made in the factory that Kari Voutilainen now owns, the Gronefeld 8 Second Remontoire with checkerboard dial gets my honorable nod here. If there was ever a watch with a killer movement that I already loved that decided to pander to my stylistic eccentricities, this is it. Damn, is it just a whole lot of fun to look at and wear. In the words of some long-forgotten disgraced shaman of the watch elite, “Gimme.”
Let’s be fair here, there are a lot of watches with diamonds and bling that brands call “womens” watches. Why do we have to gender watches? Why do we care what gender the watch is made for? Couldn’t it just be a JEWELRY watch? Couldn’t anyone just like some fancy jewelry on their wrist? The answer to that is yes, and we no longer should have to gender our watches. The watches don’t care, they are only semi-inanimate objects anyhow.
That brings me to the first watch made by MB&F with women in mind. While they say this design was made for women I’d like to throw that entirely out the window and say this thing is just cool. I would certainly wear it. There’s a version that is fully diamond set by a master gemologist that is exquisitely detailed and eye-wateringly expensive. I don’t necessarily appreciate gem setting as much as some people, but it is blindingly sparkly. I give it 10 out of 10 blinding sparkles.
The first non-complicated Christiaan van Der Klaauw watch, which was originally a commission for a client. Slightly smaller than the normal size of the complicated CVDKs, it is certainly a handsome jewelry watch. I give it an 8.5/10 blinding sparkles.
The winner is…
For me, innovation in movement design and materials is what had my attention. This places a concept watch at the top of my list for Baselworld 2019. With a combination of heritage and modern design, the Bulova Accutron Electromagnetic concept does it for me. The original Accutron used a tuning fork design and battery to run as an electric watch. This new electromagnetic concept has a turbine that moves with the motion of the wearer, not unlike an automatic watch. This in turn produces energy that is stored by the watch. While the exact technical specifications have yet to be revealed, since this is just a concept, it is truly one of the better innovations I saw at the show. It’s essentially a hybrid of an automatic watch and a quartz oscillator. Bulova has achieved a unique design that I very much look forward to seeing in some final products. Will it rival the Spring Drive as the next big thing in hybrid watch making? Only time will tell.
Material innovation is achieved in the Bulgari Octo Finissimo full ceramic ultra thin automatic watch. Like the original titanium version, this thing is flatter than your average main plate and thinner than most leather straps. All with a fully ceramic bracelet and case. Limited edition, you might think. Completely out of range price point, you might say. But it’s not a limited edition, and is priced reasonably for what it is at around $15k USD. This was an instant favorite for me when I had the chance to see it in the flesh, despite the other incredible watches put out by Bulgari this year.
That about does it for my favorites. There are always more that I didn’t get a chance to photograph that surely will capture my interest as I see them. I enjoy spending time with anything remotely watch shaped under my lens. Look for more images through the next few months on my Instagram page @atommoore and feel free to send me any questions about your favorites.