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OUR BASELWORLD 2015 HIGHLIGHTS

Baselworld, the global trendsetting event for the watch and jewellery industry, was as intense and memorable as ever, not a bit overshadowed by smart watch launches and the forthcoming retail début of the Apple Watch.

It was apparent that wearable tech is not seen as a threat by the big watch brands. To the contrary, it is an addition to a watch market that has room for every consumer, from gadget geeks to traditional timepiece aficionados.

  

 

Baselworld is a microcosm of the watch market. It’s vast, but there’s room for every brand to shine. Each knows what they do well and focuses on doing it better than ever.

This year, there were countless breathtaking launches, showcasing outstanding design, craftsmanship and innovation. Rolex, Tudor, Longines, Citizen and Tissot each impressed us in different ways.

There was also the spectacle of some seriously beautiful stands. In reality, the word ‘stand’ is a huge understatement. The brands go to town with creating the wow factor. In the context of a pop-up village of unimaginable opulence, each of them is vying to have the most mesmerising, captivating, unmissable boutique.

OUR BASELWORLD ADVENTURE

Mel, Dom and Tristan were at Baselworld for four long and busy days, on a mission to see the latest watch and jewellery launches and get a feel for the emerging trends that will shape their business in the coming year.

Each day began with an 8am train into Basel, followed by back-to-back appointments all day until 7pm. The evenings were a much-needed chance to process the noise and spectacle of the day, and reboot for more of the same.

  

Graeme and Dan from our watch team joined the others for one day, a whirlwind trip that began with a 4am wake-up call to get to Basel for 11am. The thrill of sitting next to one of their watch blogger heroes on the plane — and comparing Rolex’s — kept exhaustion at bay!

Unlike Basel veterans Mel, Dom and Tris, it was Graeme and Dan’s first taste of this exhibition, and the pair found the experience impressive and slightly overwhelming. “It’s the watch world’s equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory,” says Graeme, “Everywhere in sight, there are diamonds, premium watches, sophisticated boutiques and elegant people.”

OUR BASELWORLD HIGHLIGHTS

Rolex was the standout experience of the show for our whole team. It remains a privilege and a joy to visit Rolex’s Basel boutique, which combines out-of-this-world displays with an aura of complete professionalism.

We were excited by its new launches, especially the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master Everose, which we will be bringing to Wakefields in the coming months. It is an incredibly fresh, sporty watch, which features this model’s first-ever black and 18ct Everose gold face with a co-ordinating black ceramic bezel. Chromalight hands and hour markers glow blue after dark.

Its supple black rubber strap, the Oysterflex bracelet, is a first for Rolex, featuring a comfortable cushion system on the inside.

   The new Yacht-Master

 

We were also impressed by the new size of ladies Rolex Date Just — 28mm. Melanie says, “It is a great size, bridging the gap between the dainty 26mm and the 31mm. We have steel, steel yellow and steel rose models coming soon.”

Tudor gave us another magic moment — introducing the new Pelagos in a striking blue colour. Tudor is now making its own movements in-house and the Pelagos is a beneficiary. A divers’ watch, and the only titanium watch in the family, it has a brushed-titanium case and Tudor’s patented expansion-style bracelet clasp. Melanie says, “The blue dial and matching bezel is what made it a show-stopper! We couldn’t come away without placing an order.”

We enjoyed visiting the heaving Bremont stand! The international appetite for this groundbreaking British watch brand has been whetted by the starring role of a special edition Bremont Watch in the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The watches that attracted a stampede were the new Bremont Jaguar MKI and MKII watches, the design for which is inspired by the classic 1960s Jaguar E-Type. Bremont also expanded its Boeing range with two new aviation grade titanium timepieces with GMT functionality.

Headline-grabbing exhibits included The Fascination, the world’s most expensive timepiece, unveiled by British Jeweller Graff. Dripping with 153 carats of the finest white diamonds, it is worth a cool $40 million.

There was also an Imperial egg by Fabergé, the first created in nearly a century. With around 3,300 diamonds and 139 natural pearls on its ‘shell’, it opens to reveal a rare 12.17-carat grey pearl. It took 20 craftspeople 18 months to design, source materials and hand-craft this egg.

Eye-popping displays as we walked around the giant exhibition space included a shower of Citizen movements hanging from a double height ceiling. There was an incredible model of a Bremont watch movement, a stunning pearl sculpture, and astounding diamonds at Jacob & Co.

Model at Graff Citizen Watch Installation Dangling Watch Movements

Arnold Schwarzenegger was there, surrounded by photographers, launching his own brand of watches. Alex Ferguson was there. Leggy models, wearing millions of pounds worth of diamonds, were strutting around. You can’t turn a corner at Baselworld without your eyes falling on something truly amazing!

But, cutting through all the excitement, is a highly professional atmosphere: the cream of the watch and jewellery industry is there to do business. And that is the reason we are there too, every year without fail.

THE FASCINATION

4 AMAZING BASELWORLD 2015 STATS

1. 1,500 brands unveiled their creations
2. 150,000 people visited the show
3. Attendees came from over 100 countries
4. More than 4,300 members of the press attended

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