This past March 19 to 26, a watch convention named Baselworld was held in Basel, Switzerland. It is one of two major watch conventions held at the start of every year, the other being the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie or SIHH for short held in Geneva, also in Switzerland. What is really exciting about these events is that all the major players in the watch industry introduce new models. There are a number of new watches introduced but I’d like to inform our readers about ten interesting watches released during this recently concluded Baselworld.
1. Tag Heuer Android
Sorry, no actual watch here, just the promise of a watch in the near future. In a move that was obviously meant to get the attention of Android users everywhere in light of recent Apple Watch news, Tag Heuer announced that it was going to be making luxury Android Wear devices in partnership with Google and Intel. The idea is to make Tag Heuer watches that will be compatible with Android devices that are made by the likes of LG, Samsung and a host of other phone manufacturers. The first watch will arrive in the last quarter of 2105.
2. Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524
While Patek Philippe has made Pilot watches in the past, it has not produced a Pilot watch in quite a while and it certainly has not produced a watch with this kind of a design. This is news since for the past several years, Patek Philippe has only come out with watches that varied several design elements from their existing rosters. An example would be the rose gold Ref. 5711/1R, which is just a rose gold version of the popular 5711/1A. Hence, the surprise when this watch was announced this year. The watch has two hands, one for the home time and one for the foreign time. It is made of white gold and is relatively big at 42mm. While there is no doubt that it is a handsome looking watch, it is the subject of much debate since it looks very much like a Zenith Pilot or to a lesser degree, an IWC Pilot watch. Whatever the case, it’s the first of its kind and it will no doubt become a sensation among Pilot watch collectors.
3. Glashütte Original Senator Observer
More often, the best thing watch companies do is not to veer away from their popular models but merely refine their existing watches. That seems to be the case with the Senator Observer. It is definitely a simple watch. It features a clear set of Arabic numerals in shiny polished stainless steel with two sub- dials, one for the seconds and one for the 55-hour power reserve. The Panorama date display is one of the largest and most legible that you’ll find in a watch today. It is quite attractive in its simplicity and proof of the excellence of German watchmaking.
4. Rolex Oyster Perpetual 2015
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is the quintessential Rolex. You would not be wrong if you said that it is the most basic Rolex, but that would simply not do it justice. Perhaps the word “classic” describes the Oyster Perpetual best. Despite the obvious appeal of the Daytona, Submariner and GMT Rolexes out there, Rolex owes its existence to the Oyster Perpetual. The previously named Air King, which is now the current no-date Oyster Perpetual, is the basis of all the popular models of the brand. Look under the Rolex logo of your watch (if you’re privileged enough to have one), the words inscribed are “Oyster Perpetual” under it no matter what you have, unless you have a Cellini. It was a great move from Rolex to refresh its most uncomplicated model. It opens the door for the first-time Rolex buyer and the buyer who wants a Rolex in its purest and unadulterated form. It is also the least expensive Rolex that you can get brand new. If you forget everything I’ve just mentioned, or if you know nothing about Rolex, take a look at this beautiful watch and I’m sure that its own merits will be enough.
5. Tudor Pelagos Blue
When it comes to watches I would want for myself, I tend to stay away from models that everybody has. If I want something that is popular, I tend to pick it in a different color. For example, although the Rolex Submariner is a beautiful watch, if I would have one, I’d have it in blue. That might not happen anytime soon since that version only comes in white gold and is quite more expensive than the regular black stainless steel. The Tudor Pelagos Blue is probably the closest visually to the Submariner that I’d like. The best part is the price tag- it’s half of what a regular stainless steel Submariner would cost. I’ve already recommended the black version (I want the blue for myself!) to two of my friends since it is quite a great watch. It is made of titanium, which is lighter and more corrosion-resistant than stainless steel. It is water resistant to a depth of 500 meters, which is 200 meters better than a Submariner. It has a revolutionary new clasp that provides easy adjustment when diving. Most important of all, it looks absolutely stunning. The blue color gives it vibrancy that is unmatched among watches that are triple its value. Another important fact to consider: it has its own in-house movement made by Tudor- Rolex’ little brother. This is a watch that could possibly dominate the dive watch category in the years to come like the Submariner has for the past few decades.
6. Zenith El Primero Sport Watch
Zenith is best known for their chronograph watches that have a higher frequency at 36,000 beats per hour as compared to the normal 28,800 beats per hour of other popular chronographs. To us normal folks, that means that the Zenith El Primero is the most precise chronograph around. To add to this feat, Zenith claims that it was the first automatic chronograph to add a date to it. It took them 7 long years to add this complication, which is still difficult by many standards. Not even the precious Daytona or the historically significant original Speedmaster (later Speedmasters do though) has a date. Lastly, the power reserve of 50 hours is simply unheard of when it comes to chronographs. Others simply cannot last that long. While the El Primero line does have a stainless steel bracelet option, those watches have not become as popular as their leather strap counterparts. With this release, Zenith hopes to change that and provide a worthy sports chronograph to their roster.
7. Omega Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award
In 1970, NASA gave Omega an award for their work on the Apollo program. As most of us know, Apollo 13 is the Apollo mission that went wrong. It is now the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission and Omega decided to commemorate this with a new special edition watch. The question lingering in your head right about now is probably why the character Snoopy is involved in this at all. Snoopy was the mascot of NASA for their Apollo program. The award I mentioned earlier is called the Silver Snoopy award and it was a safety and success award given to all that contributed to the mission. As you might recall because of the famous movie, while the Apollo 13 mission went wrong, the Apollo crew got home safe and sound. This is indeed a cause for celebration and remembrance. The famous words “Failure is not an option” uttered in the movie is printed on the watch’s dial on a thought bubble coming from Snoopy. This beautiful black and white contrasting watch is limited to 1970 pieces.
8. Breitling B55 Connected Watch 2015
The B55 is meant to be worn by pilots who wish to upload their flight data to their phones. It currently works only with iOS but connectivity with Android is also in the works. Even without the app, it’s a pretty good watch. It’s on the large side but since it’s made entirely from titanium, it’s very light on the wrist. So, what can it do? One thing is it will automatically change time zones without need for manual adjustment. It has a 1/100th of a second chronograph and a Mission Elapsed Time (MET). It has an alarm buzzer and a perpetual calendar. There are many other features that I feel I am ill-equipped to discuss since I am not a pilot. The B55 connects to your phone via Bluetooth and will have a reported price tag of around 10,000 dollars.
9. Zenith Elite 6150
The Zenith Elite 6150 looks like a piece of art. I’ve been looking at photos of the watch and they all look like oil paintings. It has a simple and clean design and has an ultra-thin case, which is only 3.92mm thick. When I think of ultra- thin watches, what come to mind are the Jaeger LeCoulture Master Ultra-thin models. This Zenith beats the JLC in terms of thickness since the JLC is roughly 5mm thin. The Elite 6150 also has a power reserve of 100 hours, which is almost an entire workweek already. There really is not much more to say regarding this watch. I will let the picture of the watch speak for itself since it is a truly gorgeous timepiece that will sell itself on its good looks.
10. Rolex Day-Date 40
Last but most definitely not the least on my list is the Rolex Day Date 40. The Day Date is considered the pre-eminent Rolex. It is the model worn by Presidents, the reason why its bracelet has the same “President” name. If it were a BMW or a Mercedes Benz, it would be a 7-series or an S-class. Rolex also announced that its top of the line Day Date would now be fitted with its new Caliber 3255 movement, which has 15% more efficiency, has a 70-hour power reserve and will be more than twice as precise than an official chronometer. The movement also has 14 patents and has more than 90% more new components than its last movement. Rolex itself has labeled this watch as its most prestigious model. The Day Date comes only in precious metals, such as Yellow Gold, White Gold, Rose Gold and Platinum.