The Best of Baselworld 2018

Basel World 2018 is the biggest exhibition in the world for watch and jewellery enthusiasts. Every year, just before Easter, the most prominent and influential journalists, buyers and horologists are invited to the Messe Basel Exhibition Centre in Switzerland for the first peak into the desirable new creations from the world’s biggest watch and jewellery brands. Here, we look at some of our favourite designs across the highly anticipated week.

GMT Master II
Rolex and Tudor, the two factions of the House of Hans Wilsdorf, are owning the GMT this year. After inventing the dual-time zone function back in the 1950s, Rolex’s most famous iteration of the model was the classic blue/red ‘Pepsi’ version that almost divided the face of the watch into two hemispheres. This colour combo was later reserved for a white gold adaption of the GMT, much to the disappointment of its loyal audience. Finally, this year, the new ‘GMT Master II’ in Oystersteel returns with the beloved Cerachrom ‘Pepsi’ two-colour bezel on a Jubilee bracelet. The 3285 movement is new to the Master II and obtains a power reserve of 70 hours (up from 48 on the previous model). £6,800

Quattro L.U.C
We were incredibly impressed with the new ‘Chopard Quattro L.U.C’. Accompanied by a blue saffiano strap, this extraordinary watch is crafted from rose gold and is limited to a tantalising 50 pieces. A major player in the L.U.C collection, the Quattro gathers its name from its four barrels and 216-hour power reserve; not only is this a great looking watch but also one with a superb movement. The dial is silver-toned and has vertical satin-brushes across its entire surface. The timepiece bears contrasting blue indexes and hands, obtained by a heating process as opposed to lacquer. £20,800

Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Produced exclusively for the event, the Hublot ‘Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia’ will be given to all match officials at the renowned tournament. In the brand’s hallmark ‘Big Bang’ style, the watch contains an in-house Unico chronograph movement and will announce the start of every match 15 minutes before kick-off as well as notify yellow cards, red cards and vibrate with the word ‘GOAL’ when a goal is scored. Complete with customised dials for each competing nation, the watch is also equipped with goal line technology and a limited edition of 500 pieces will go on sale when the tournament starts. £4,500

Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral
In celebration of their 130th anniversary, Carl F Bucherer has made a special addition to their Manero collection with this stunning ‘Double Peripheral’. Five years in the making and for the first time ever, the brand has united its trademark peripherally mounted winding rotor with a "floating" Tourbillon mounted on three invisible ceramic bearings. Available in November, the watch comes fully COSC certified and equipped with a ‘stopping second’ function. £52,800

The Fifth Element
Combining inspiration from UFO films and comics with the design of an old fashioned weather station, founder of MB&F, Maximillian Busser, has invented the ‘Fifth Element’; a desktop clock with four core interchangeable pieces: a clock, barometer, hygrometer and thermometer. Rotating beneath these is a tiny silver alien – a recurring MB&F figure – known as Ross, whose name may or may not be a reference to Rosswell. Made in collaboration with top-end traditional clockmaker L’Epee, there are 500 individual, hand-finished components. Limited to 18 pieces, each will be made with black, silver or blue highlights. £46,800

Boy.Friend Skeleton Calibre 3
The new ‘Boy.Friend Skeleton Calibre 3’ is the third in-house movement made by Chanel and took three years to design. Signifying yet another indication of the house’s dedication to haute horology, the skeletonised movement of the watch is interlinked with vertically aligned circles offering a minimalist aesthetic; reminiscent of the brand signature perfume bottle, No.5. The manual-winding mechanical movement comes with a power reserve of 55 hours and the watch is made up of 114 components. The timepiece comes with an 18ct gold case paired with a black alligator strap. £32,100

Lucea Skeleton
Bulgari are setting the horological industry on fire; from elegant novelty designs to breaking world records with the movement of their ‘Octo Finissimo’, it’s hard to pick a stand out timepiece. The ‘Lucea Skeleton’, described as “the only skeletonised watch on the market made expressly for women”, is a true masterpiece which we’ll have to settle for. Brilliantly incorporating the BVLGARI title across the dial, it’s hard to admire the in-house automatic movement beneath; hard, but definitely not impossible. The stunning design is complete with a red leather serpent-like strap. £6,150

The Signing Machine
The Signing Machine, an automation hardware created by watch specialist Jaquet Droz, took four years to make and is as delightful as it is complicated. The 100 percent mechanical device, comprised of 585 individual parts, can be unlocked by a four-digit code chosen by the user. Each part then works in symphony to produce a customised signature. Finished with hand-engraved red gold or blackened hardwood, the portable machine exemplifies the very best of Jaquet Droz, a brand that turns 280 years old this year. Price on request

For jewellery, we loved Gucci’s five earring display from the GG Running collection. The interlocking GG logo was the focal point on each of these versatile creations and paired with a mix of features. Two of the new models were clip on earrings; one a simple yet modern 18ct yellow gold piece whilst the other offered a touch of sparkle when combined with diamonds. Our favourite of the lot was a diamond encrusted GG logo accompanied by a golden trident with five delicate white pearls at the end. The earrings were designed to be worn alone, or paired with another Gucci style for eclectic asymmetric elegance.

As the exhibition draws to a close, we will have to await the official drop dates for many of these elegant designs. On a more positive note, Chopard has made ethical sourcing their biggest priority as they revealed their plans to transition to 100% ethically-sourced jewellery and watches by July this year. Having recently been ranked ‘Weak’ by the Human Rights Watch, it’s fantastic to see leading companies in this industry taking responsibility for their actions and forcing change.

Should you be looking for new opportunities in the Watches and Jewellery industry, we work with a number of clients who presented their works at Baselworld. Simply upload your CV here; quoting the reference ‘WJ2018’ and one of our prestige consultants will be in contact.