Recapping Baselworld 2018

Recapping Baselworld 2018, basically, it came and went in a flash. I approached the fair with trepidation and strode out much renewed. One of the pleasing upshots of this uncertain era in luxury watchmaking is the level of creativity and attention to detail that prospers during economically troubling downswings.

Recapping Baselworld 2018
Image Courtesy of Zenith

Customers First

Simply put, brands know they’ve got to work a lot harder for their customers, and their efforts seem to be paying off. Being on the inside of this juggernaut industry as it lurches from catastrophe to misstep can be wholly terrifying, but stepping outside of the madness for a moment and actually appreciating where this rocky road is leading can be quite reassuring.

Trembling with Intent

I’d seen pictures and read reams about the new Zenith Defy Lab before I got to the fair, but seeing it in person, having the chance to appreciate its bizarre operation was a real treat. There may only be 10 of these pieces in existence (all of which are spoken for), but it figures Zenith will roll this technology out over a more commercially styled (and, most importantly, affordable) range in the near future.

Recapping Baselworld 2018
10 Image Author’s Own

I haven’t been this excited about the advancements in silicon technology since I encountered the Parmigiani Senfine last year – a project about which I’ve heard little since. Keep your eyes peeled for Zenith’s follow-up to this piece: At $20,000 a pop, the initial run was enticingly affordable; if they’re able to knock five grand off that price when Mark II rolls around, get in line.

The Best of the Rest

In recapping Baselworld 2018, there are all sorts of cool things on show, if only you have the patience to look for them.

It’s a topsy-turvy mishmash of reasonably priced brands full of invention (check out Fugue for a nice USP), and out-of-this-world horological art (MB&F HM7 Aquapod, I’m looking at you).

But my favorite watches come from two of my all-time favorite watchmakers: Stepan Sarpaneva and Konstantin Chaykin.

Recapping Baselworld 2018
Image Courtesy of MB&F

Sarpaneva’s wares normally sell for around $10-20,000 and are well known for their moon motif that is reputedly based on his own face (not the most flattering depiction, but unarguably cool as hell). But, recapping Baselworld 2018 in the context of Stepan Sarpaneva, his collaboration with MB&F at this year’s fair nearly stole the show, and most definitely my heart.

The pictured piece retails for CHF 88,000 for both titanium editions, and CHF 95,000 for the rose gold variant. There will be 12 pieces of each available.

Recapping Baselworld 2018
09 Image Author’s Own

But what about those of us who want something that will turn heads without costing the same as a house? Enter the Russian maestro: Konstantin Chaykin has, in recent times, started to show a serious sense of humor. His Joker piece from last year was my favourite of the fair, and the ‘It’ inspired follow-up snags the crown for this inspiring independent once more. The Konstantin Chaykin It watch retails a shade under $10,000 and is the perfect way to brighten your day.

About the Author:

Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

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About the Author:

Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.