These timepieces were the talk of Baselworld.
The Updated Classic
Omega Speedmaster ’57 Co-Axial Chronograph
It’s not a stretch to call the Omega Speedmaster, introduced in 1957, an icon. In 2013, Omega introduced the Speedmaster ’57, with no crown guards, a polished case, a steel bezel, and broad arrow hands just like those of the original. This latest reedition has a few modern upgrades, such as a date at six o’clock and Omega’s in-house automatic caliber 9300, which displays chronograph minutes and hours on the same sub-dial at three o’clock. At 41.5 millimeters in diameter, this is an update done properly, with enough technical advancement and individual panache to please any Omega fan.
The Killer Automatic
Vacheron Constantin Harmony Ultra-Thin Chronograph
Limited to 10 pieces in platinum, this is the world’s thinnest self-winding split-seconds chronograph. Caliber 3500, one of the brand’s new watch movements developed in-house, comprises 459 components, with some measuring only three one-hundredths of a millimeter. A pusher at two o’clock activates the chronograph hands, which move concurrently (and can be stopped individually to time multiple events).
The Chronograph of Kings
Patek Philippe Ref. 5370P
Other luxury brands can only dream of commanding the respect that Patek Philippe has earned in the industry. Its newest split-seconds chronograph boasts a manual winding movement (Caliber CHR 29-535 PS) that is among the finest in the world. The solid-gold dial is coated with black enamel, which is polished by hand for three hours to glossy perfection.
The Star Starter Watch
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39
No other luxury watchmaker is more renowned than Rolex, whose watches are as likely to be spotted in rap videos as they are on the Riviera. This 39-millimeter case is the fifth, newest, and largest size of the entry-level Oyster Perpetual. The clear, simple dial and smooth (not fluted) bezel offer understated style at a great price.
The New Dive Bar
This diver is made of ultralight titanium, but even more impressive is the in-house-created movement, brushed to a finish that communicates the concept of utility. Since its founding in 1946, this brand has been known for “tool watches” (timepieces that, back in the day, were actually used as tools—a tachymeter for drivers, and so on). And you’d be hard-pressed to find a more well- designed mechanical diving watch for less than $5,000 in today’s market.
The Innovative Upstart
NOMOS Glashtte Minimatik
This 35.5-millimeter watch from a relatively young German brand (founded in 1990) continues in the Saxon tradition of challenging the Swiss. Its Bauhaus-inspired design is as sleek and impressive as its in-house-made automatic movement (the DUW 3001). Just 3.2 millimeters thick, it has a mechanism that prevents overwinding by locking the rotor when the barrel is full. At this price, the Minimatik is a standout.
The Liquid Asset
Ressence Type 3
The dial of this watch is domed and the space between it and the crystal filled with oil, creating the illusion of indications floating atop your wrist. The time, date, and day sub-dials rotate independently. And what looks like a thermometer is just that—a mechanical temperature gauge that helps ensure the movement is operating within optimal conditions. The spine of the case and most other components are constructed of grade 5 titanium, which makes this watch extra-light and durable and, well, incredibly cool.
The Frequent Flyer
Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum
This standout made waves at this year’s SIHH, offering a highly sought-after world-time complication at an accessible price. The center of the sapphire-crystal dial features a world map, viewed from the North Pole, encircled by a selection of global cities. Surrounding this on an independent disc is a 24-hour scale with divisions for daytime and nighttime. This hour disc revolves in real time, and the continents on the map change color to indicate day or night in that geographic region. Montblanc’s tasteful execution of the world-time function will have great appeal to the watch-loving world traveler.
Breguet Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077
From the classical brand known for making the most complex watch of the 18th and 19th centuries (designed originally for Marie Antoinette) comes the Tradition 7077—which is like two watches in one. The first gear group is dedicated to keeping time, while the second maintains the chronograph, ensuring that power is separated for the watch’s functions. Its antimagnetic silicon components make this watch a spectacular leap in micro-engineering.