Recently I have been commissioned to write another book for my U.S publisher so wasn’t able to attend Baselworld this year. Certainly when I visited two years ago I had a phenomenally good time and I will always cherish the experience. Unless you visit this event you can’t envisage the scale and enormity of the event. Apart from the Richemont Group (who participate in SIHH) virtually every other established watch brand attends the fair. Due to popularity it has also now spilled over from the halls into the neighbouring Ramada Hotel.
Literally there are timepieces to cater to everyone’s tastes and every year the designs are getting bolder and larger. Even though the watch industry is experiencing a turbulent time it definitely hasn’t stifled creativity. There are many brands like MB & F, Urwerk, Rebellion, Cabestan, Louis Moinet that really push the envelope when it comes to progressive thinking. Ultimately these companies and many more have turned horology into an absolute art form. In fact, many of the unique Avant-Garde creations exhibited at Baselworld could potentially be future museum pieces.
Of course Baselworld is probably the most important week (commercially speaking) for many of the brands exhibiting. Everyone is there to make a living but most also have a passion for fine horology. When I visited, I experienced this enthusiasm first hand by speaking with the smaller independents. Organisations like The Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI for short) are pioneers in this field. Not only do they produce exquisite looking timepieces but they also create their own bespoke movements. Essentially this means (within certain limits) their designs are not compromised by the size or availability of the mechanisms.
Whether you visit the event like me in a press capacity or simply as a passionate watch enthusiast/collector it is definitely worthwhile. Truly I hope to revisit the fair again in the not too distant future. Fortunately, I made many friends at the event who generously keep me informed about new releases. For that reason, I have been able to select a few of my personal highlights (alphabetically and in no particular order of preference).
Angelus – U20
ArtyA The Sculpted Gold Tourbillon 1/1
Bell & Ross The Bell & Ross BR-RS17 Trilogy (with Renault Sport F1)
Hajime Asaoka’s new chronograph
Hublot: MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis
Konstantin Chaykin the Joker
Louis Moinet Mobilis
MCT Dōdekal One
Urwerk UR-210 Amadeus