Just back from Basel and my major likes

Just got back from the Basel fair which has something close to 1500 exhibitors with a hustle and bustle quite conttary to the plush carpets and hush voices of SIHH.

My main goal when visiting Basel is to obvioulsy see old friends and catch up on the latest horological gossip but also to see the smaller brands who get little press coverage yet who show creat creativity either in terms of design or inovation and you will see in my favorites below that most of these brands are mostly under the radar.

In no particular order (and sorry for the poor photos taken with iPhone)

DeBethune Digital

I loved absolutely everything presented by DeBethune but just decided on two.  

First is the Digital with a jump hour and wandering minutes including the now characteristic 3D moon display on the center of the dial

Just back from Basel and my major likes

DeBethune Enamel dial

An elegant and sophisticated watch, the periphery of the dial is enamel and the center is blued titanium

Just back from Basel and my major likes

Kari Voutilainen Tourbillon

Just back from Basel and my major likes

Romain Jerome 1969

Like with DeBethune I liked absolutely everything I saw from RJ. What I particularly like is that the watches are very well made (albeit pedestrian movements) but are watches with a strong and fun design...and don't cost a leg!

The dial of this model is in blue silicium

Just back from Basel and my major likes

Romain Jerome Skylab

photo courtesy of The Horolophile (www.thehorolophile.com)

Just back from Basel and my major likes

Manufacture Royale Tourbillon

Classical with a twist and designed by designer extraordinaire Eric Giroud and at a price under CHF 50k!!

Just back from Basel and my major likes

Arnold and Son True Beat

The large seconds hand beats at 1Hz

Just back from Basel and my major likes

Thanks for this report Alex. I love all the pieces you
04/02/2014 - 19:13
have posted. Surprised you do not like anything from the established brands - but then I was not impressed at all by what the established brands offered this year.  Bvlgari with their Octo Finissimo with hand wound in SS a nice piece and new Rolex Cellini interesting, but other than that I found nothing to write home about.
Re: Just back from Basel and my major likes
04/02/2014 - 19:42
The Digitale is special and your photos does a fantastic job of capturing that.
Re: Just back from Basel and my major likes
04/02/2014 - 20:16
Thanks Alex for sharing. Sounds like you had a great trip to Basel smiley I appreciate to see these interesting timepieces from micro brands like the presented. My respect to these brands making this kind of remarkable timepieces.
Is the Manufacture Royale piece a new model under Marc
04/02/2014 - 21:23
Guten's ownership or from the previous owners?
its a piece from new owners (nt)
04/03/2014 - 18:06
Thanks Alex...I look forward to seeing what else they
04/03/2014 - 19:37
come up with. It interests me to see that an ex-VC marketing person would go ahead and revive an old brand.
Re: Just back from Basel and my major likes
04/03/2014 - 07:36
Love them all
Thanks Alex, I like the blue silicium dial on the Romain Jerome 1969
04/03/2014 - 10:55
But what really caught my eye was...you finally got rid of the Blackberry and have an iPhone?  surprisecheeky
LOL and soon we shall be able to upload photos directly via smartphone
04/03/2014 - 11:14
on the Lounge yes
it's been a long coming... ;-) nt
04/03/2014 - 15:14
Good to hear! (nt)
04/03/2014 - 22:29
Re: Just back from Basel and my major likes
04/03/2014 - 12:04
Great post! I love the blue in the DeBethune. Gorgeous!
Re: Just back from Basel and my major likes
04/03/2014 - 12:35
the DeBethude Digital is stunning ... thank you for the great picture. The "Palace" (the tent behind the Ramada Hotel) with the small independent watchmakers is a most interesting place, also thanks to the watchprint.com booth wirh lots of beautiful books. I went home with some 20kg reading stuff ...
the DB and RJs are beautiful in different ways
04/03/2014 - 16:40
Re: Just back from Basel and my major likes
04/05/2014 - 07:10
Hi Alex It was brilliant bumping into you at Baselworld and seeing a familiar face. Moreover, it was not surprising to see you in the Palace containing the Independent brands. I have never hidden my love for Vacheron. Whilst I only own one model, the American 1921, this has more to do with my limited budget rather than a sparsity of suitable references to choose from. Nevertheless, as well as my love for Vacheron, Patek, Lange etc., - I do have a soft spot for Independent brands. I think anyone who loves watches cannot fail to admire the work of artisans who make incredible timepieces against all of the odds. Independent's can, in some instances, lack the resources of large mainstream brands and some have no budget to make themselves heard in magazines etc., Some watches deliver craftsmanship to an exalted level which defies belief. Other models exhibit ingenuity which leaves me wondering how the individuals involved conceived some of the ideas in the first place, e.g. HYT and, sadly absent this year, Urwerk. I concur with your selection of De Bethune. The styling is absolutely breathtaking and without sounding too "geeky", nobody blues metal like De Bethune. I had to include a picture of one of my favourite models, along with a few other personal favourites.De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon The value in the Hour Lounge for me, is the fact that like-minded individuals can share thoughts and the forum is not restricted to only ever talking about Vacheron Constantin. However, it is easy to talk about VC, I am still getting over the sight of the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d' Art Mécaniques Ajourées. Here are a few of my favourites from Baselworld.Andreas Strehler Sauterelle à Lune Perpetuelle This gorgeous model features a moon phase that requires an adjustment by one day every 14,189 years! In addition, it features Stehler's unique Remontoir d'égalité.Konstantin Chaykin Carpe Diem WatchHYT H1 Red   Credor Spring Drive Minute Repeater I managed to have a private audience with this watch. Produced by the Micro Artist Studio of Seiko, only 3 pieces are made per annum. The sound is enchanting and has a different timbre to the Swiss minute repeaters, which I equally admire. The finishing is truly exceptional.MCT Sequential One - S100Hautlence Origine Destination 01Armin Strom One Week Skeleton I confess I love what Armin Strom is doing, so much so that I have a Gravity Water on order for my own collection.Julien Coudray 1518 Competentia 1515 I spent a lot of time at Julien Coudray, falling in love, over and over again. Sadly, my pictures did not look good enough, hence I have shown here some shots I took a few weeks ago for a review I did on ESCAPEMENT. This particular model is presented in a platinum case, with a platinum movement and grand feu enamelled dial. It is absolutely gorgeous and one of my favourite timepieces currently available for sale.Julien Coudray 1518 Competentia 1515 with platinum movementClosing remarks I thoroughly enjoyed Baselworld 2014, both as a journalist and a watch collector. After suffering weary feet, an allergic reaction to a meal containing wild mushrooms and sleep deprivation, I am exhausted. However, I had a wonderful time in Basel and now look forward to SIHH 2015, assuming of course, I don't get to Watches & Wonders 2014. I just need to persuade my wife it is essential for journalistic purposes! Thanks again for providing a brilliant platform for sharing opinions with fellow admirers of haute horologerie. Best regards Angus
Any single one of your picks would make me a happy man if I were
04/05/2014 - 14:25
To strap them on :-)
Re: Any single one of your picks would make me a happy man if I were
04/06/2014 - 07:20
Hi Alex I know they are gorgeous. However, the perils of my job and yours, is that we cannot buy every timepiece we fall in love with, albeit my wife would argue I do!  Wonderful to see you. Best wishes  Angus
Thanks Alex, that De Béthune enameled is simply stunning !
04/08/2014 - 20:47