Putting Baselworld 2016 in the Rear View Mirror

Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire
Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire
[Editor’s note: I apologize for being absent for the last week or so. I was on vacation in the Bahamas and truly miscalculated the effects turquoise-colored water, sand, and hot sun would have on my ability to focus on the watch world. The Bahama Mamas didn’t help either…]

Baselworld 2016 ended nearly a week ago. The social media hashtags are dying down, and we’ve all had time to gain a little perspective. We’ve been to watch get-togethers and argued with friends. We’ve read the blog articles (which are still flowing, by the way) and duly registered our comments.

And we no doubt have our favorite new releases and our disappointments over what might have been, if only our favorite brand’s marketing department had listened to us!

So, as Horologydom’s Big Event of the Year fades from view, what can we conclude about the 2016 edition and its watches?

There were surprises like the Tudor Black Bay fraternal twins (the Black Bay Bronze and Black Bay 36). Not to mention the wonderful whackiness of watches like the MB&F – Black Badger glow-in-the-dark collaboration, the HMX Black Badger. Jason Heaton put that one in his Best Avant Garde watches of this year’s show, while Barbara Palumbo waxed poetic over meeting Maximilian Büsser and James Thompson (the Black Badger himself).

MBFHMXBlackBadger1

MB&F HMX Black Badger

But what about the Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope? This one’s a sweet, sexy art deco two register chronograph that’s quite svelte at 41 x 12.6mm, domed crystal and all. Didn’t see that coming!

Junghans Meister Driver-Chronoscope

Junghans Meister Driver-Chronoscope

And there was the predictable. From predictable brands like Omega and Rolex. Rolex duly trotted out their twenty-first century version of a panda Daytona. Every watch pundit on the planet called that one. Some even had images that were close enough to the eventual actual piece, they could have been pilfered. (Of course you’ve heard about the steel and ceramic Daytona by now… from Everest Journal, even. We said ‘predictable’ and we meant it.)

Omega released yet another version of the Speedmaster, the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Limited Edition. For this one though, they skipped the co-axial upgrade and went with the venerable calibre 1861. Surprising us by blending surprise with predictability.

I guess sapphire-cased watches are getting predictable too. Bell & Ross had their BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire, as did Hublot, with their Big Bang Unico Sapphire flyback chronograph.

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire

So Baselworld 2016 was a mix of predictable and surprise. But isn’t every year like that?

 

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