An accidental visitor to Baselworld might wonder if they’ve stumbled into an alternate dimension populated entirely by beautiful women, who surround themselves with objects made of precious materials so ubiquitous it can, at times, lose all impact as you allow yourself to glide by booth after booth of bedazzling beauty.
The week-long event is an engaging tangle of extravagance and wonder, but clinging to your focus amidst a cavalcade of conversation and an ocean of champagne is a challenge that renders remembering everything you’ve seen nigh on impossible.
That’s why the things that stand out in your memory probably mean something. So, without further ado, here are my top-five takeaways from Baselworld 2016.
Liquid is Refreshing
The Palace exhibition hall pitches HYT and Ressence side-by-side. Although worlds apart in their usage of liquids, the electric eccentricity of HYT and the visual trickery of Ressence do wonders for the credibility of non-solid materials in an industry of precision.
Investors may have been wary of these brands at one time, fearing an unsustainable gimmick. I think the growth and endurance of both brands, and their endless creativity suggests that this concept is here to stay. This is undoubtedly a niche market, but one that is fuelled by passionate consumers of frequently limited edition watches.
Bvlgari deserve respect
Even though I’ve seen plenty of haute horlogerie from Bvlgari in the past couple of years, I still have this image of them as a fashion brand in my mind. Having released a tourbillon movement that is less than 2mm thick they are clearly much more than that. The Octo is mind-blowingly slender and utilises a familiar case silhouette well. Its future collector value will benefit from the stylistic continuity of the exterior, and its excellent in-house engine inside. It goes along with their recently released ultra-thin minute repeater. A good year beckons for this polarising brand.
The Basel Bubble
Baselworld is a black hole: A huge, self-interested event that tightly grips its visitors to the extent at which they often go days and days without hearing the news. One of the most important things in the minds of the people I spoke to was the successful re-launch of the Corum Bubble. I reviewed it on aBlogtoWatch.com a few months ago. Seeing so many people excited about this watch suggests the brand were wise to look to the past for inspiration.
Classic Watches are Back
Slim-line, elegant, Bauhaus design is ruling the roost this year. 2015 was not an easy time for the watch industry and brands seem to be reflecting the austerity faced by releasing pared-back models, and more modest presentations.
…And That Means Yellow Gold is in!
Love it or loathe it, yellow gold is making a comeback. This isn’t all that surprising given the interest in classically style pieces, but it is worth noting. It kind of dropped off the radar because it looks too bombastic at the diameters we’ve been working with in previous years. But now a slither of yellow gold is an accent I imagine many brands will be rushing to apply. Good news for vintage owners – the market for old school watches is sure to spike with the new content aligning so well with the past.