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Keeping time at Baselworld


An annual pilgrimage for watch and jewellery aficionados, the Baselworld Watch and Jewellery Show recently concluded in Basil. Anu Gulmohar reports on the phenomenal show.
ANU GULMOHAR | Issue Dated: April 27, 2014, New Delhi
Tags : Baselworld Watch | Schweizer Mustermesse Basel | Victorinox | Altanus Genève |


Each year Basel plays host to The Baselworld Watch and Jewellery Show and attracts horologists and jewellers from around the world in droves. Its exhibition halls are spread across an unprecedented 30 kms, and this year 20,000 workers took two months to build the venue designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The event attracts over 1,50,000 visitors annually, most of whom are buyers and resellers of watches, jewellery and precious stones. New products, trends and innovations are presented by leading global brands and a remarkable 80% of global sales of watches and jewellery are generated at Baselworld. This year’s edition was held from 27th March to 3rd April.

The show’s roots date back to 1917, when a section of the first Schweizer Mustermesse Basel (MUBA) was dedicated to watches and jewellery. In 1931, this grew to a devoted pavilion called the Schweizer Uhrenmesse, or Swiss Watch Show. From 1972 onwards other European nations joined the event. From 1986 countries from outside of Europe were also included and today it has developed into the epicentre of watch and jewellery trade in the world. This year witnessed 1,500 exhibitors from 40 countries. “Basel is extremely important to the pulse of the world, not just Europe or Asia. Therefore, Baselworld is, according to me, the most important jewellery venue worldwide as it attracts buyers from all markets,” said Michael Gad of Michael Gad Emeralds.

Each year watch and jewellery companies take great pride in unveiling their new products and innovations at Baselworld. CEO of Bulgari, Jean-Christophe Babin, said, “Baselworld is that moment in time that determines the future. In the course of one week, we unveil our novelties to business partners and to the press of the whole world; possibly one of the most intimate exercises of a brand, the creation. In return, we feel the emotions that our creations evoke. A capital experience for the future to continue to improve ourselves.”

Graff Diamonds unveiled a $55 million watch for the ladies named Hallucination at the exhibition. Diamond XL is a collection of patented solitaires which increase diamond visual perception by 50 percent, and consequently the perceived value of the diamond. Several watch companies introduced incredible watches, including four of the lightest watches in the world by BRM, GPS technology integrated pieces by Citizen and Seiko, and the world’s first wristwatch with time, altimeter, barometer by Breva.

This year several companies celebrated their milestone years at the exhibition. Victorinox celebrated its 25th year as a watchmaker, and launched a new rugged watch named Inox and a Titanium edition of its Dive Master 500 watch on the occasion. Altanus Genève marked its centenary with two new limited edition collections. The British watch and jewellery brand Storm introduced two special edition watches on its 25th anniversary. Hans D. Krieger Fine Jewellery celebrated its 50th year in gem design and diamond jewellery manufacture.

Itching to see the new watches and jewellery pieces revealed at Baselworld 2014? Your wait is over.


1.RG-46 by BRM

At just 44.1 gms, this is the lightest 46 mm sports watch in the world. The French manufacturer blends traditional watchmaking craftsmanship with the precision materials and techniques associated with motorsport competition. Precious metals meet composite materials like titanium carbon fibre and its colours make a bold statement.

2.Génie 01 by Breva

Génie 01 is the world’s first wristwatch with time, altimeter, barometer and power reserve indications. Jean-François Mojon/Chronode developed the proprietary movement of the Génie 01 exclusively for Breva. An osmotic Teflon membrane filters moisture from any air entering the movement, thus improving the longevity and reliability of the watch. The intricate details of the watch are visible through its sapphire crystal display back.

3.Breguet Classique ‘Grande Complication’ Tourbillon extra-thin Automatic 5377

This extra-thin watch is accentuated by the Tourbillon with a carriage in titanium. Its movement incorporates a balance spring in silicon, which has been praised widely for its anti-magnetic properties, and the escapement is crafted from silicon and anti-magnetic steel. This Classique ‘Grande Complication’ beats at 4Hz, yet thanks to the patented ‘high-energy’ barrel, the 5377 provides 90 hours of running time. Breguet’s watchmakers have placed the bi-directional platinum winding rotor on the periphery of the movement, making this automatic Tourbillon one of the world’s thinnest.

4.Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement L.M.

This new watch from Girard-Perregaux is based on the ground-breaking prototypes presented in 2008. It has taken the company five years of research and development to complete this signature movement. The Constant Escapement beats at the frequency of 3 Hz or 21,600 vibrations per hour. The movement is placed in a round 48 mm diameter case in white gold with a curved case band. Presenting a novel layout, the brand’s three iconic bridges lie under the anti-glare treated sapphire glass. Its manually wound calibre is less than 8 mm in thickness and the case measures 14.63 mm. The alligator strap and folding clasp of the watch are sewn by hand.

5.The Hamilton RailRoad Auto Chrono

The new RailRoad timepiece alludes to the brand’s repute as ‘The Watch of Railroad Accuracy’, gained in 19th century America. Hamilton has integrated styling elements such as rounded edges, vertical brushing and tapered pusher protectors typical to pocket watches of that era. It comes with a stylish stainless steel bracelet or a black leather strap with fine stitching. Against a black or slate grey backdrop, a tachymeter in contrasting chestnut-brown or blue respectively, travels outwards from the dial’s centre. The watch has elegant, sword-shaped hands, which have a sophisticated, polished finish as they move, spot on time, from one nickel-plated applied index to the next. Its main mechanism and H-21 movement, that facilitates operation of the three counters, are visible from the back.

6.Carpe Diem by Konstantin Chaykin Manufacture

A work of art as much as a timepiece, this watch incorporates several allegoric representations of time in its mechanics and design. The creators have intended to embody the abstract idea of time using classic metaphors from the Western canon. The main character on the watch is the ancient God Chronos, who had birthed Time. The moving sand serves as the minute indicator. The patented mechanism by Konstantin Chaykin uses a few shutters to create the illusion of sand flowing through an hourglass. Hours are indicated by a hand enclosed in a miniature dial decorated with a monogram. Each day of the week is indicated by the appropriate astrological sign.

The bridges in the watch are decorated with ‘côtes de Genève’, the escapement wheel is of gold, and the barrel wheel and winding wheels are polished. The case is hand engraved; its back is made from sapphire glass.

7.Phoenix Classico Chrono by U-Boat

The case of this fine jewellery watch is crafted by hand using traditional artisanal techniques, given a martellée finishing, and then partially drilled to create small cracks in the sterling silver 925 material. These small cracks are then filled by Italian craftsmen with 180 black diamonds. The strap features exclusive symbols in silver and precious stones. This precious jewellery masterpiece has an impressive dial, a sapphire glass and a calf leather strap inset with silver and black diamonds.

8.Margot by Christophe Claret

This is the first Christophe Claret complication developed for women. Inspired by the ‘He loves me… He loves me not’ game, the watch features a mechanism where a press of the pusher at 2 o’clock brings the watch to life. With each press, a petal or a pair of petals, subtly disappear under the dial. The answer appears at random in calligraphic letters (in French) on the dial at 4 o’clock: Un peu (a little)/beaucoup (a lot)/passionnément (passionately)/à la folie (madly)/pas du tout (not at all). Pressing the reset button at 4 o’clock instantly makes all petals reappear and turns the ‘sentiment’ display to an ellipsis (…).

Its natural mother of pearl dial reveals delicately engraved verses penned by Victor Hugo and holds three pear-shaped diamonds. Its steel hands have gold tips while the 12 white titanium petals are satin-lacquered.


1.Amalfi by Al Coro

Al Coro’s new collection combines 18-carat white gold and crystal clear white diamonds in a tribute to the picturesque coastline of the Gulf of Salerno. The filigree meshwork of 18 ct. gold characterises this line and reflects the glow and shape of shining full moon. The Amalfi ring is 750 white gold and its diamonds are of 1.17 ct.

2.Sabbia Collection by Bavna

Bavna’s Sunny Jain designs modern and bold jewellery collections from his design atelier in Los Angeles, California. The Sabbia Collection features champagne diamonds in statement earrings, necklaces, cuffs, bracelets and rings. The pieces are dramatically set in 18 ct. yellow gold detailed with intricate metalwork.

3.Vitral collection by Magerit

This bold and surprising collection is inspired by Gothic architecture, particularly from the rose windows and the gargoyles. The necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets and cuff links are entirely made of 18 ct white and yellow gold, diamonds, colour sapphires, colour quartzes and other precious stones.

4.The Vigneto Collection by Yoko London

The Vigneto Collection from the luxury pearl jewellery brand Yoko London transpired after the company acquired a range of rare and highly valuable freshwater pearls in unique natural shades of deep violet. These have been set with glimmering diamonds in 18 ct. white gold.

Caelograph by Caran d’Ache

The craftsmen at Caran d’Ache have worked with astronomers to produce this novel instrument that is a pen and also explores the sky and the stars. Its ingenious mechanism allows one to observe the position of the stars and the constellations, while its body features a map of the sky enhanced by midnight blue Chinese lacquer. Reproducing a flat map on the curved surface of a pen is a serious technical challenge, applied for the first time to a writing instrument. Caran d’Ache has also captured the 51 constellations and 353 stars visible from the northern hemisphere onto the small surface of the pen. The sky chart can tell the position of the stars at any given time.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017