We spent some more time with independents on our second day at the fair, and also paid a visit to a few of the larger brands. There’s a focus on heritage and tributes to watches past with the larger brands, and the independents continue to push the envelope of creativity. For the first installment, we’ll take a look at what the big brands have to show us.
Blancpain showed us a number of very nice updates and new additions to their collections, with some great pieces from the Villeret collection, including a women’s moonphase piece that comes with five quick-change straps for an instant watch wardrobe (and it’s automatic, of course). The stars of the Blancpain show, however, were the two additions to the Fifty Fathoms family.
First, we have the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, which has always been a crowd pleaser. This new release is 38mm, significantly smaller than their previous versions, and features a blue ceramic bezel insert and blue sunburst dial. It’s pretty great on the wrist and a lot more wearable for smaller wrists than the previous 43mm iterations.
My favorite of the Blancpain offerings, however, is the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec. Not that I don’t love a blue dial – oh, do I love a blue dial – but this piece just hits the sweet spot of paying tribute to a vintage piece while offering beautifully executed modern construction and finishing. The humidity indicator on the dial is actually functional, a fact that has made the dive watch enthusiasts in my life practically lose their minds with excitement. (Yes, I am talking about our founder, Adam Craniotes.)
Bulova also paid tribute to one of their historic and iconic watches with their Moon Watch reissue. This time, they did an all-black version, which is meant to be as close to the original design as possible. [need info about case size] While we would have loved to have seen this tribute with a mechanical movement like the original, it does contain a super-accurate Precisionist quartz movement, so at least you’ll know your space mission timing is going to be exact.
Bell & Ross had a number of updates, including to its vintage line, in keeping with the theme of looking to the past for inspiration. There was a lot to like, but we couldn’t stop staring at the ampersand from the Bell & Ross logo on the tourbillon cage in their new microrotor tourbilllon. Oh, and did we mention the entire thing has no case? It’s a lot of sapphire crystals all held together by screws, a few bits of strategically placed metal, and quite possibly a bit of magic.
Stay tuned for part 2 and the following days of our visit to Basel.