Best of Baselworld 2019: Luxury Watches

Rolex Sea-Dweller two-tone in yellow Rolesor

 If you’re one of the eccentric few who think purpose-built tool watches that can withstand extreme conditions should also look pretty, Rolex here for you. Rolex‘s latest Sea-Dweller just got the Rolesor treatment, which is Rolex’s fancy way of saying “two-tone”. The beefy 43mm steel diver’s watch now features yellow gold on the bezel, hands, indices and centre links of the tapered bracelet

Zenith El Primero Revival A386

 This year is the 50th anniversary of the Zenith El Primero — the first ever fully-integrated high-frequency automatic chronograph in the world at the time of its release and still one of the most precise chronographs today. The El Primero formula hasn’t changed much over the years so to celebrate this momentous milestone, Zenith has re-released the original A386, this time in precious metals: white, rose and yellow gold. Each version is in extremely limited quantities, with just 50 pieces made.

Tag Heuer Autavia

 While the Tag Heuer Autavia was designed with both automotive and aviation inspirations in mind (therefore the portmanteau-derived name), it was often closely linked to the former. It has released seven new references that pilots would appreciate. In them you’ll find Tag Heuer’s revolutionary carbon-composite hairspring as well as aviator-friendly features like a bi-directional 60-minute bezel, oversized crown and chunky Arabic numerals. There are 5 models in steel with blue, black or grey dials, and two in trendy bronze with a brown dial or smoked green dial.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic

 It’s hard to imagine a complication as robust as a chronograph could benefit from some slimming, but not only has Bulgari gone and done it, Bulgari also set a world record along the way. At 6.9mm thick, the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic is the thinnest mechanical chronograph in the world and is powered by the BVL 318 movement, itself a mere 3.3mm high. The sandblasted case, dial and bracelet are all crafted in titanium — giving it an extremely sleek and modern look — so in addition to being svelte, it’s alsot incredibly light.

Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 Re-edition

 As nostalgia grows ever stronger thanks to the steady march of progress and modernisation, Breitling has launched a watch that isn’t just inspired by a vintage model. Based on a 1959 Navitimer, the Ref. 806 Re-Edition gets all the original details right, from the number of beads on the bezel and the plexiglas crystal to the dial design and closed case back. The only modern concessions are an improved water resistance of 30m, Super-LumiNova for lume instead of radium and a new manual winding movement created specially for this watch.

Hublot Big Bang Scuderia Ferrari 90th Anniversary

 Hublot has effortlessly captured the spirit of the Formula One races in a trio of Big Bang watches made to commemorate the Scuderia Ferrari team’s 90th anniversary. The three models have cases crafted from platinum, 3D carbon and sapphire crystal respectively to represent the team’s past, present and future, but all bear the same ceramic carbon bezel — the same material used in racing car brake discs. The Unico movement gives the watches a flyback chronograph with 72 hours of power reserve. Limited to 90 pieces each.

Chopard L.U.C Flying T Twin

 It may surprise some of you to learn that this is in fact Chopard’s first flying tourbillon, but the inaugural model proves that good things are worth waiting for. It’s wonderfully slim at 7.2mm in height, made from ethically mined 18k rose gold and features a solid gold dial that’s been blackened through galvanisation and hand-engraved with a honeycomb motif. The 4Hz L.U.C 96.24-L calibre is just 3.3mm thick and uses a 22k gold micro-rotor.

Tudor Black Bay P01

 Prototype designs don’t often see the light of day but Tudor has gone ahead and revived one that had been set aside for half a century. Originally conceived as a tactical diver’s watch for the U.S. Navy and codenamed “Commando”, the prototype had features atypical of the Black Bay watches we’re familiar with, most noticeably the screw-down crown at 4 o’clock and a bi-directional bezel that can be locked in place via a mechanical locking system in the lugs — and these have been carried over to the Black Bay P01. The Calibre MT5612 is COSC-certified.

Urwerk UR-T8 Colibri

 This year the independent watchmaker has teamed up with knife maker Emmanuel Esposito, whose mosaic inlay technique is a signature in his bewitching folding knives. Black mother-of-pearl was chosen for the UR-T8, and its contrast with the sculpted titanium case works surprisingly well. Each watch comes with a matching knife.

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