Baselworld 2019: The Best Watches From Day One
The new Chanel J12
The J12 was clearly Chanel’s star at Baselworld. A watch that has become an important icon for the brand, the J12, aesthetic-wise, was all about the refinements. It underwent very subtle changes that aren't too noticeable, but the tweaks—the narrower crown, finer patterns that line the bezel, and the hour and minute hands now in the same width—gives the piece a very refined overall appearance. The new J12 also features the Chanel font (used in its logo), and the numbers are presented in ceramic.
The most notable aspect of the latest J12, however, is what's ticking inside. It is equipped with an automatic movement custom-made for Chanel by Kenissi, a movement manufacture the brand recently invested in, which features a rotor made in tungsten. There are the J12 Phantom editions, which come with black numerals on a black bezel, or white numerals on a white bezel.
These pieces will be launched in August, while the other editions will be presented earlier in May. It also comes in a jewelled version, set entirely with baguette-cut diamonds, and a rotor also set with diamonds. So convinced was Chanel with the new J12 that it has extended its warranty to five years.
H. Moser & Cie Venturer Small Seconds Arctic Blue Dial
We’ve been fans of H. Moser and Cie’s fume dial but the one on this Venturer Small Seconds XL Arctic Blue is just stunning. Joining its family of Concept watches, the piece is stripped of any markers—even the logo—making it another strong statement of the brand’s philosophy that watchmaking is what truly matters, not the name nor the marketing gimmicks.
The dreamy blue colour highlights H. Moser’s mastery in fume dials, and gives the model a rather playful side. It also offers a dramatic profile with its curved sapphire glass. The piece is equipped with the HMC 327 movement, boasting a power reserve of three days which is indicated in an aperture on the movement side. The piece is limited to only 50 pieces.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic
Bulgari breaks yet another record—its fifth to be exact—with its new Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic. With a case width of a mere 6.9mm—its BVL 318 movement only 3.3mm— it is currently the thinnest mechanical chronograph in the world.
It comes in at 42mm, and the dial's oversized indicators use minimal typography and markings to keep it clean. The watch, which promises 55 hours of autonomy, is also notable for its ease of use, with the local time adjusted by pushing the button set into the case at nine o'clock, making it a breeze to change time zones.
Aesthetic-wise, the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic is just down-right cool with its angular case made in sandblasted titanium, and a dial and bracelet also rendered in titanium.
Zenith Defy Inventor
When we set our eyes on the Defy Inventor, we were immediately drawn to it. Let’s just backtrack for a bit: the Zenith Defy Lab debuted some two years ago, the remarkable part of which was the Zenith Oscillator, a single silicon component that incorporates the functions of the balance wheel, balance spring, and lever in a conventional escapement.
It was highly limited, with only 10 pieces up for grabs. Now, the Defy Inventor hopes to make this incredible piece of horological wonder more accessible, with 400 to be produced this year.
While there are many similarities between Defy Lab and the Inventor—such as the case shape, oscillator configuration and the crown, indicators and hands—there are a few tweaks with the latter. While the case of the Defy Lab was made entirely with a material called aeronith, the Inventor combines a titanium case with a bezel rendered in titanium. This piece is proof that concept watches can indeed be realised.
See also: Perfect Palette: 9 Watches With Dials That Are Works Of Art
Chopard L.U.C. Flying Tourbillon
Chopard impressed as it unveiled its first-ever flying tourbillon, which it fitted into their oh-so elegant gentleman’s watch. The L.U.C. Flying T Twin watch is a sleek timepiece with an ultra-thin case—its width at just 7.2mm—fitted with a COSC-certified automatic tourbillon movement.
It features a stop-seconds device, something very rarely seen on a tourbillon. The dial is beautifully proportioned with a grey ruthenium surface achieved by galvanic treatment, and in the centre is a hand-guilloched honeycomb motif. The piece, which is crafted in Fairmined gold, also bears the prestigious Geneva seal.
See also: Chaumet’s New Boléro Is A Gem Of A Watch