And just like that, we’re back in the land of cheese, chocolates and watches. It’s only been six weeks since we were last in Switzerland, braving Geneva’s bitter cold to bring you the spectacular novelties introduced at SIHH.
For eight days every year, this small city hosts about 1,400 exhibiting brands and welcomes well over 100,000 visitors for Baselworld, attracting collectors and amateurs alike. We'll be covering Baselworld 2017 live with regular updates.
Click through to see the highlights of the opening day and the brands that caught our eye at the world's biggest watch fair.
We had the opportunity to talk to Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, director of Bulgari's Watches Design Centre, who tells us about the brand’s two stars at Baselworld. First is the Octo Finissimo Automatic, where Bulgari once again holds a world record—this time for the slimmest automatic watch at a scant 5.15mm.
He also shares another evolution to their beloved Serpenti. Targeting a much younger consumer, the new Serpenti introduces double wrap-around straps in exotic leathers of various colours. He tells us that they “wanted to offer clients yet another way to wear the Serpenti. This approach is very new to this iconic line and easy to wear.”
Over at Glashütte Original, we witness German watchmaking at its best. A brand which is incredibly underrated, its timepieces deserve much more praise for their incredible craftsmanship and supreme technical accomplishments.
Two of the four new watches it introduced at Baselworld are the Senator Excellence Panorama Date, where we see their new in-house movement, the 36 Excellence movement, enhanced with the addition of a date and moon phase; and for the women, a new Savonia model which now features mother-of-pearl—a first for the collection.
Breguet on this occasion introduces a grand complication called the Marine Équation Marchante 5887. The equation of time is one of the rarest and most fascinating horological complications. It serves to display the difference between mean solar time, corresponding to civil or standard hours and minutes, and true solar time, meaning the actual solar hours and minutes.
To put that in perspective, the mean solar time runs up to 16 minutes behind true solar time, as is the case on November 3; or up to 14 minutes ahead of it, as is the case on February 12.This incredibly complicated watch can indicate the civil time and true time by means of two separate minute hands, while the running solar hand provides a direct reading of solar time minutes.
Master of automatons Jaquet Droz mesmerises with the Loving Butterfly Automaton. This piece is inspired by an android automaton created by the brand’s founder Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz over two centuries ago, of a cherub seated on a chariot drawn by a butterfly.
With the press of a button, the butterfly starts to flutter its wings. Every part of the automaton has been engraved and assembled by hand. The automaton mechanism took three years to develop and is fitted with three barrels that allow the butterfly to flutter its wings 300 times over a period of two minutes.
Because watchmaking need not be serious all the time, I thought to end this post with a fun piece—Corum’s Big Bubble. I’ve always been drawn to this collection because it’s full of character, and it reminds us that there is humour in horology. The Bubble was first created in 2000 but was discontinued for many years, only reappearing in 2015.
This year, with a bigger bubble—all of 52mm—Corum saw the opportunity to just go completely nuts, and it was incredible. While some were borderline creepy, they were pretty amazing overall. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the pupil version in particular—pun intended.
See also: Live From SIHH 2017
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