Baselworld 2019: The Best Watches From Day Three
Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar
It might be rather amusing to an outsider that among the reasons a watch is notable is that it is rendered in steel. But hey, we are talking about a Patek here and in this realm, this humble metal is a precious commodity. And in the case of the Calatrava, it is even more of a rarity as traditionally, only precious metal is used on this line.
Enter the new 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar, which apart from its metal choice is the line’s first weekly calendar.
In case you’re unfamiliar, a weekly calendar accounts for the day, month, and this one in particular follows the ISA 8610 standard, which means Monday is the first official day of the year (not Sunday), and the first week of the year is the one that includes January 4th. You’ll notice there are 53-week indicators on the inner ring, which takes into account those years that are 53 weeks long, rather than 52.
What I find remarkable though is the handwritten typography used. It was indeed written by hand and then transferred unto the dial, which for a highly traditional brand is quite a bold move. It was designed to invoke the feel of an old school calendar, which whilst making it an authentic vintage-looking piece, also appeals to a much younger and, might I say, less smug clientele?
Last year, it was Rolex’s “Pepsi” everyone was talking about, and this year it’s the “Batman.” Yes, there appeared to be a very conscious effort to make this unofficial moniker fly, and in some ways it did. Perhaps not as resonant as the Pepsi, but enough to be heard.
I’m talking about the new GMT-Master II with a 40mm case in Oystersteel with a black dial, black and blue Cerachrome bezel, Chromalight on hands and hour markers, and a Jubilee bracelet, making it more comfortable to wear.
It is equipped with the new Calibre 3285, fitted with the Chronergy escapement, regulated to an impressive +2/-2 seconds per day, and promises 70 hours of autonomy. I personally like this over the Pepsi because it’s comparatively more subtle and can also be worn for dressier occasions.
Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition
I can almost see vintage watch collector Fred Mandelbaum, a.k.a @watchfred in the insta-universe and consultant to Breitling, breathing down the necks of Georges Kern and his team as they were creating the new (but not exactly) Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition.
Much to the delight of Breitling purists out there, it is a painfully faithful re-edition of a Breitling Navitimer from 1959—from the use of plexiglass crystal, down to the number beads found on the watch's bezel. The number of beads (which is functional as it is aesthetic—it provides a strong grip when rotating the slide rule bezel) has varied through the years, but on this piece it’s exactly the number found in the 1959 original: 94.
It does carry a new movement though, a manual COSC-certified chronograph, which again stays true to the cause as automatic chronographs did not yet exist during that time. Breitlng did make minor departures though, but for improvements: water resistance was increased to 30m, and it uses Superluminova instead of radium.
The Navitimer is a personal favourite of mine. While I’m by and large drawn to clean faces, the Navitimer is an exception. It looks like a true-blue vintage watch but not dated, if that makes any sense. Highly limited, only 1,959 pieces will be produced. Now, let the bribing begin.
See also: Baselworld 2019: The Hottest New Watch Releases
MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT
MB&F’s creations are just mind-blowing, and the Legacy Machine FlyingT is no different. It’s the brand’s first piece designed for ladies and it’s just incredible how Maximilian Büsser managed to create a piece with his signature avant-garde, out-of-this-world style, while keeping in mind that it’s meant for a woman’s wrist.
Its stunning mechanism is housed in a white gold round case, served on a dial in black lacquer or diamonds, and enshrined in a dramatic, domed sapphire crystal that gives the piece quite the profile. At the centre of the dial is a flying tourbillon movement that consists of 280 parts and 30 gems.
Do note that in place of MB&F’s usual battle-axe bridge on the central flying tourbillon is a unique upper tourbillon cage with a cantilevered double arch upper bridge. The watch is equipped with an impressive 100 hours of power reserve. I always look forward to seeing Büsser try to outdo himself each year, and with this extraordinarily beautiful piece, he certainly did not disappoint.
See also: Parlez-Vous Watches? Your Guide To Métiers d’Art Jargon In Watchmaking