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Fresh Set: My First Baselworld

Fresh Set is an ongoing series where readers follow the newest StockX Watch team member, Hadjj, as he learns more about the in’s and out’s of watches.

Everyone knows the Super Bowl, right? With it’s millions of die-hard viewers, thousands of advertisements, and a bunch of anticipated hype, it’s the unofficial holiday that Americans make hard to ignore. You have people geeking out over who they think is going to win and having football enthusiasts  either loving or hating the outcome. And just when you think you know what to expect, you’re hit with an audible and the game is instantly changed. Baselworld is every watch nerd’s Super Bowl.

Oh, you don’t know what Baselworld is? Of course not, and neither did I. For all those newbs out there, Baselworld is the world’s largest fair for all things watches and jewelry. This event occurs annually, where brands “peacock” and show off some new models, informing the watch world about what to expect this upcoming year. And to top it all off, it takes place in Basel, Switzerland, a place that I did not know existed or else I would’ve picked that up from the fair’s title (I’m bad at geography).

In anticipation for the event, manufacturers will send out teasers through their social media accounts to get fans really riled up. Just like a sleepless kid excited to show off their back-to-school fit, watch people become extremely giddy and speculative at the same time. On the day that Rolex dropped their teaser video on their webpage, my morning entrance into the office was met by an eager Blake showing me the teaser and then telling me everything it could possibly be and everything that it can’t be. If you see the video below, and you’re new to all of this, you probably see what I saw, which is little to nothing. His eagerness was infectious though, getting me to start wondering what the popular watch company was hinting at as well. Soon, I was joining in the speculation, comparing hour marks and cases to other models.

Impatient curiosity would soon lead into full-on reveals from each brand presenting at the show. This was when things got real. Emotions varied amongst the watch team, as members were either content with the new developments or upset with the updates. Their reactions got me more involved, only because I needed to understand the mixed responses. At first, as always, I didn’t understand all of the hubbub. But then I saw Rolex’s Batman GMT update and I fell in love. Even if you don’t know watches, you know Rolex and you recognize when something looks good. This new watch they revealed really made me fall head over heels, demanding that they take the imaginary $9,000+ from my bank account. The other guys on the team shared the same sentiments.

But the dramatic “DaVinci Code” cracking and enthusiasm seemed to simmer down shortly after that, with many of them not being as excited about some of the breaking news and reveals like I anticipated. For this year’s Baselworld, StockX collaborated with well-known watch photographer Atom Moore and watch/collector blog community RedBar, to receive on-ground photos of the fair, which were great to see. We got to see live photos of watches from the fair from brands such as Bulgari, Tudor, and Patek Philippe, manufacturers that the team goes crazy for, usually. For some reason, just like the kids say, the news wasn’t hittin’. I overheard team members saying “This wasn’t the most eventful Baselworld”, alluding to the fact that the watch team was expecting more from the annual event. Though there were some notable updates and surprising unveilings, there still felt like there was more missing. It was my first time and even I felt like I wasn’t catching the “WOW” moment, so I can imagine how the more tenured watch enthusiasts felt.

Being new to this community, I did not know what was going to happen with Baselworld. I expected the watch team to be going crazy every day that the event took place, restless with excitement over the new watches on display. Almost mocking the idea of people showing a great deal of interest in watch teasers, I soon shared in the hysteria and was surprised at how quickly I was sucked into it all, and became more engaged than I even imagined. Even though some of the hype of the event seemed to simmer down, I can’t help but look forward to what next year’s event has in-store.

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