Baselworld 2019: The Best Watches From Day Two
Tag Heuer's Heritage Autavia
Unlike previous years, Tag Heuer didn’t present a multitude of novelties from its many collections. 2019 is a year of transition, they say, and in a carefully choreographed strategy, the brand is focused on streamlining its product offerings, as well as revisiting their roots and heritage.
As such, this year everyone's attention is on the Autavia. First introduced in the 1960s, the Autavia remained solely a chronograph model but Tag Heuer is now developing an entire collection of it—including non-chronograph versions. At Baselworld, the first wave of simpler, “three-hand” versions were introduced, and much to our delight, with a varied selection.
You can choose among blue, black or grey smoked dials with steel or ceramic bezels, and 42mm cases in steel or bronze—a first for the brand. Some tweaks were also introduced, such as replacing the Heuer logo with the new one. Straps are interchangeable, with a choice of calf skin, or a steel or bronze bracelet. See anything you like?
The Tudor Black Bay Chronograph Steel & Gold
Among the most talked-about pieces at Baselworld was Tudor’s new Black Bay Chrono, which comes two-toned.
First launched in 2017, when it also won the GPHG Petite Aiguille Prize, the new edition is crafted in steel and gold. It comes with a 41mm steel case—water-resistant to 200m—and a fixed bezel in yellow gold with black anodised aluminum inserts featuring a tachymetric scale. Its gold pushers are crafted in yellow gold—a nod to the first chronographs produced by Tudor in the 1970s.
The play of contrasts continue on the dial, which is presented in matte black, making its snowflake hands pop, while its chronograph indicators are in gold. Ticking inside this piece is a movement that was developed with Breitling and based on the Breitling B-01 calibre. It was further developed by Tudor though, packing in a column wheel mechanism and a vertical clutch.
Given the amount of gold in this piece, and that it is fitted with a movement of this calibre, this watch is definitely great value for your money.
Classic Fusion Ferrari GT by Hublot
Hublot has enjoyed a long, prolific relationship with Ferrari and this year, it is celebrating this partnership with a beautiful new watch. The Classic Fusion GT draws inspiration from the aesthetics of the Gran Turismo, which conveniently enough was parked right in front of its booth.
The watch features a completely new and innovative design, and is equipped with a new Unico manufacture automatic flyback chronograph movement.
By Hublot's standards, the piece is rather subtle compared to the brand’s usually bold and experimental watches. Each aspect of its design is meticulously thought of, such as the red thread around the sapphire crystal, the steely appearance of its pushers, and how its black rubber strap is lined with Schedoni leather, just like the seats of vintage Maranello race cars.
The Classic Fusion Ferrari GT is available in three case variations in limited numbers—titanium (1,000 pieces), King Gold (500 pieces) and 3D Carbon (500 pieces).
See also: Baselworld 2019: The Hottest New Watch Releases
Graff's GyroGraff Temple of Heaven
The GyroGraff is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Every year I make this visit to Graff, and more often than not it is the first piece I’m shown. No matter how many times I’ve seen and held the Gyrograff, the sight of it and its weight on my hand still amazes me.
Unapologetically extravagant, the piece is massive at 48mm and is, quite literally, a mini canvas. One of the five of 2019’s iterations is the Temple of Heaven dial, created using various crafts including grand feu enamelling and micro-painting.
The watch comes in a rose gold case, and features a three-dimensional moon phase indicator, a double-axis tourbillon, and a power reserve indicator. And because Graff just cannot shake off that diamond DNA, it has a spectacular bejewelled bezel featuring flawless diamonds cut specially by its master craftsmen.
See also: Parlez-Vous Watches? Your Guide To Métiers d’Art Jargon In Watchmaking