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The luxury watch industry is going through a lot right now. Apart from the sluggish global economy, there’s also the smart watch invasion to deal with, so it comes as no surprise that this year’s Baselworld was as quiet as, if not quieter, than the last.
Fewer brand participation, reduced visitorship, and fewer tales of derring-do among the novelties weren’t exactly the most optimal conditions for the world’s biggest watch and jewellery fair to celebrate its centenary. So it didn’t, and that’s fine, because if there was one message to take home from Baselworld this year, it was that the watches are the stars. No more bells and whistles, no more smoke and mirrors.
The year’s new products radiate brand DNA as well as honest-to-goodness watchmaking, and to top it all off, prices had been adjusted with greater parity to core value.
In short, there are treasures. You just have to know where to find them and how to identify them; the industry still has a few cool tricks up its sleeve so keep those socks on because they’re about to be knocked off, especially with these limited-edition watches.
1. Hublot MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis
Limited edition: 20
Dali’s famous melting clocks come to mind when you look at the MP-09. It looks just like a regular Big Bang in the process of being melted down, except it isn’t, and the irregular case and sapphire glass are the two things that make it such an impressive timepiece.
Exceedingly difficult to produce, they allow for killer views of the bi-axial tourbillon, which rotates once every 60 seconds, with an inner cage that rotates once every 30 seconds.
2. Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono
Limited edition: 20
The movement in this platinum number is certified by COSC and Poincon de Geneve, attesting to the watch’s immaculate aesthetics and impeccable chronometry. On an integrated chronograph base, which is column wheel-controlled and has a vertical clutch configuration, the perpetual calendar module was designed from ground up in order to preserve the legibility of the dial. Perfectly symmetrical, it elegantly fuses the chronograph and calendar displays while leaving ample space for the orbital moon phase sub-dial.
3. Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante
Limited edition: 250
The Breitling Navitimer now comes with a split-seconds function, so instead of just one chronograph seconds hand, it has two. Getting them to split involves pushing the button set into the crown while the chronograph is active. Push the button again, and the lower hand tipped in white catches up with the red arrow tipped hand. This allows the wearer to time two simultaneous events. The movement was built with a revolutionised isolating system, which ensures that the chronograph doesn’t distort the constant flow of power in the going train, and a new mechanism that stops the split-seconds hand with accuracy and reliability. Both of these are patented by Breitling.
4. Hautlence Moebius
Limited edition: 8
Hautlence fully exposes the inner-workings of its signature HL2.0 movement by enveloping it in clear sapphire crystal. Devoid of angles and corners, the Moebius has a capsule-like aesthetic and every time the hour turns, the bi-axial tourbillon does too, making four rotations every 12 hours.