My view on Basel fair

Basel fair is the biggest watch fair gathering over 150 exhibitors coming from all over the world. The fair ended last week and I thought I would share some of my favorite offerings, either because I liked the design, complication, execution or philosophy.

There were two major trands this year:

- high beat calibers with Zenith a 360,000VPH caliber and Tag heurer with a 3,600,000 VPH (and no its not a typo!) albeit it was a prototype

- new proprietary escapments


Laurent FerrierEven though Laurent Ferrier is a relative new comer (he presented his first watch just a year ago) he has been in the watch industry for close to 40 years. This year he is presenting an elegant and sophisticated automatic time only model with a direct double impulse escapement in silicium, ispired by an invetion by Breguet but never seen before in a wrist watch.

My view on Basel fair



Urban JurgensenThe team at Urban Jurgensen with the help of François Mojon and Kari Voutilainen have managed what many watchmakers only dreamed about: a detent escapement in a wrist watch.

My view on Basel fair


Aaron Becsei DignitasYoung Hungarian watchmaker Aaron Becsei is back with a lovely form watch with a fully inhouse and beautifully finished form movement. The Dignitas is available with guilloche dial or with a dial with a superb floral engraving which I find superb!

My view on Basel fair


Gronefeld One Herz
Dutcg brothers and watchmakers extraordinaire have managed to creat a watch beating at the leisurly rate of one herz. A dead beat with the seconds hand (taking center stage advances every one second)

My view on Basel fair


Hamiltion Pan Europ 1971
Maybe not haute horlogerie but a very cool looking re-edition of a 1970s model 

My view on Basel fair


Harry Winston Opus 11
A watch of all superlatives, just the idea of deconstructing time and reconstructing it is a crazy idea and the cretive way it is done shows huge imagination...and talent. The Opus 11 is the brain child of Denis Giguet (the creator of MCT) and Eric Giroud for its design. Its very complicated to explain how this works so the best is his video explanation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWvhp4YL3Bc

My view on Basel fair


Leroy Osmior ChronographA venerable yet dormant French brand is revived with new assembly facilities located in Besançon, a French reagion with a long watchmaking history. This new monopusher chronograph is extremely elegant and a perfect dress chrono, my only issue would be that it has a modular construction

scan courtesy of Foversta on Equation du temps
My view on Basel fair



Romain Jerome Moon Invader (blue)
A brand which until recently represented all I hated in the watch making industry especially that of taking its clients for fools but under the capable hands of Manel Emch (ex CEO of Jaquet Droz) has managed to come out with fun, funky and original pieces at rather affordable prices. RJ has made watchmaking fun! this model has a blue case!

scan courtesy of Z3 on ThePurists
My view on Basel fair
Thank you Alex, great interview...
04/06/2011 - 18:31

Alex, The Laurent Ferrier pieces are just amazing, definitely my favorite out of the bunch, and one of my favorites out of all. Such timeless and elegant asthetics with such refined and technologically advanced movements inside. Laurent Ferrier is truely a horological genius. By the way, don't you have one of his gorgeous tourbillons Alex? Would you share more photos of it when you get a chance? I know this is the VC forum, but to see more photos of this wonderful piece would be great! The Opus 11 is interesting and wild. I am not sure if it is to my taste. But, still a masterpiece.  Also, how would it be possible to have mechanical movements beating at rates of 360,000 and 3,600,000 vph? I am assuming these are mechanical movements, and these rates seem off of the charts. Thanks again for a great report! Best, Mike

Hi Mike here you go....
04/06/2011 - 18:47
41 mm case black onyx dial the esapement uses a double Strauman hairspring each moving in the opposite direction from eachother enhancing accuracy. The watch has a standard deviation of less than a second / day!!!!!!
Wow, fantastic Alex...
04/07/2011 - 00:59
Your watch is my favorite variation as well (rose gold case and black onyx dial). The accuracy is also incredible, must be nice to own such an amazing piece! Enjoy in the best of health. Best, Mike
OMG!
04/07/2011 - 03:41
I can see why Laurent Ferrier would appeal to a Vachonista .  Alex, your tourbillon makes my week...what beautiful classic form and finish AND superb chronometry.   Nice to see those values continue in today's very competitive market.Image courtesy Purists
Agreed !
04/06/2011 - 22:28
Being amazing on a classical 3 hands watch is nearly impossible when you see all that was realized the years before. But Laurent Ferrier succeeded brilliantly ! Beautiful and I will add "sensual" watch. Francois
Thanks for the information and great shots.
04/06/2011 - 20:56
Did you happen to see the new McGonigle brothers' piece(s)? I would be very interested in your opinion. Many thanks, Tim
it diddn't rock my boat. I awaited it impatiently but found
04/06/2011 - 22:53
the result not to my expectations. I'm only talking about the design but with a 3D movement construction the whole surprisigly lacked depth and contrast.
Great report showing a nice selection. I also liked the...
04/07/2011 - 01:01
...Strom One Week, Gauthier prototype in titanium, Zenith chrono 1/10 second, based on photos that is. Your Ferrier watch is a beauty
amazing opus 11, the hour displays nostalgia of old movie trailer ....
04/07/2011 - 11:31
countdown before the movie starts running. i bet i have to sell my whole collection just to own one !
Re: My view on Basel fair
04/08/2011 - 11:06
So many "New Comers" or revived brands at Basel. Is it viable for most of them. Those who come with very interesting new concepts may last but what about real value after say 5 or 10 years? I like new ideas and conception but I also need to know if they will last and be repared in years to come.
I think the question also applies for many brands who come out with
04/08/2011 - 11:34
complications developped by others, who will service them down the line? On the other hand with many of the new comers, they are watchmakers and their watches are more often than not designed with servicing in mind and in 5-10 years time any competent watchmaker could service the watch like today with pieces made my Lepine, Golay Meylan, Berthoud etc....
Great round-up Alex.
04/08/2011 - 12:09
The Hamilton Pan Europ is not perfect but for the price I think it's a great product. Hopefully I will have one on my wrist soon. :-) - SJX
looking forward in reading your comments
04/08/2011 - 12:34
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