With another Baselworld in the books, it’s time to reflect on the show as a whole, what worked and what didn’t, what we want and what we don’t, and of course, the biggest surprises of the show. Overall, we saw a lot of “playing it safe” from the brands. But some of the emerging themes are worth taking note of. Read on for our biggest takeaways and surprises.
Kicking things off with Rolex, new additions to the GMT line came as no surprise, however, the return of the Pepsi bezel to a steel case was slightly surprising. The general consensus going into the show was that we’d see a new Coke bezel, but bringing the Pepsi back on a jubilee bracelet should come as a shock to no one. The bigger surprise from Rolex that no one seems to be talking about, is the addition of 2 new dials to their Oyster Perpetual 39 family. The new dials are white and black, and they look fantastic. Look for these to go quick when word starts to get out.
Urwerk released a fascinating bit of kit with their AMC, or Atomic Master Clock. It’s not a watch, and it’s a lot more than just a winder… call it whatever you want, all we know is that this thing is seriously cool. Not only does it look straight out of a Bond villian’s layer, it synchs up with atomic time via GPS signal, and automatically sets your Urwerk accordingly. Did we mention this thing looks completely bad-ass?
Patek Philippe brought a 5970P (constructed of platinum) to Basel, which by itself isn’t entirely shocking, but the fact that it can now be had with a salmon dial is a surprise. Salmon dialed Patek’s are generally reserved for special orders, not available to your average deep pocketed watch shopper. Having one is a sign that you are a well connected, and studious collector of the highest pedigree. With this release, Patek is opening the special combination of platinum and salmon to anyone with a pocket book deep enough.
Lastly, one theme we’re seeing continue into 2018 is the general downsizing of cases. We’d call this a near full recovery from the “big watch” trend we saw peek in the early 2010s. The large number of sport watches available at 40mm or under is a sign that people are buying smaller watches, and brands are reacting by offering more sensibly sized watches across their catalogs. No complaints here.