It is unbelievable to think 3 years I made the monumental journey from South Australia to Baselworld in Switzerland. Even though I was still recovering from a severe hip fracture the experience was phenomenal. Each day I was working 14 hours but enjoying myself like a kid in a sweet shop. Special moments included meeting a lot of my watchmaking heroes and viewing magnificent timepieces I had previously only dreamt of. However, even at this stage there was a dark cloud looming over the show, which doesn’t seem to have lifted. Essentially what I mean is that Apple and other smart device manufacturers were having a profound impact on the market.
The industry has encountered a lot of turbulence and many brands have become extinct. The world of horology is also like musical chairs with senior operatives leaving for other companies or the industry full stop. In fact, public relations watch specialist Caroline Buckler is a perfect example. She has now established a successful boutique ‘Bean to Bar’ chocolate producer called ORFÈVE. Personally speaking I think Caroline has made a clever move because her bars are delectable and have universal appeal. Other personnel haven’t been as fortunate. When I visited Baselworld 3 years ago numerous appointments were cancelled (without notice). The contacts I were expected to meet had been mysteriously nudged out of their executive positions. Even worse when I asked them the reasons they were tight lipped because of confidentiality clauses in their contracts.
Certainly my passion for fine watchmaking has not diminished at all. In fact, it is entirely the opposite because I now design and manufacture my own Swiss mechanical timepieces. This has given me a rare insight into the complexity of delivering a bespoke watch to market. I have also written a 3rd book about the fascinating subject of horology and am totally in awe at the overall level of creativity. However, the industry has had a seismic shift and to a certain degree only the fittest have survived. By that I mean the most innovative and https://www.linkedin.com/in/jorg-hysek-7b6299ab/detail/recent-activity/#experimental https://www.linkedin.com/in/jorg-hysek-7b6299ab/detail/recent-activity/#brands and there are several around. This sea change has also encouraged the corporates to be more adventurous, which in my opinion is a bonus.
Even though Baselworld might be significantly smaller than in previous years there is still plenty of meat left on the bone. Here are some of my favourites from this year’s show (in no order of preference and at different price points).
Favre-Leuba Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth
Ferdinand Berthoud “Chronomètre FB-1R.6-1
MBF Fifth Element Clock
Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Sapphire
Hysek Design ‘’La Colonne du Temps”
Konstantin Chaykin Joker Halloween watch
Schwarz-Etienne Roswelll Bees
Louis Moinet Skydance