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Baselworld 2017: The Final Brief

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 5 April 2017

Baselworld 2017 is over. After all the expectations, the rumors and the high hopes, it is now time to take a step back from this year’s edition that saw the confirmation of certain trends. There was a legion of re-editions of historical models and a trend of humbler watch sizes in the collections. Even prices appeared to have been a bit more controlled. Rather positive developments if you ask me…

Baselworld 2017: An important year for re-editions

Baselworld 2017: Omega celebrates 60 years of icons in the most beautiful way

The show usually falls upon a period of the year that announces the beginning of sunnier days, and this year was no different. But there was more than sun at this year’s Baselworld. There was an avalanche of historical re-editions, as mentioned, as well as obvious inspirations. Omega and Seiko are the leading stars of the show for us, but also Longines, Hamilton and Rado, not to mention Rolex who presented a new 43mm Red “Super Sea-dweller.” Much more than a trend then, this is an outright fact.

Where does this need come from? Have the designers lost their creativity? Is it simply a risk brands want to take? Or are we looking at a real market demand in the wake of the growing vintage offer, and a sign of increasing popularity for certain aesthetics for which releases from the last 10 years don’t really satisfy. Probably a savvy blend of all these elements...

Some will certainly cry scandal, preaching about creative watchmaking that’s trying to reinvent itself, sharing their woes and seeking consolation on the web. Us, on the other hand, we’re more moderate for many reasons.

First of all because we believe it to be unnecessary, and even dangerous, to make a clean break with the past in order to reinvent itself. Does Oedipus Rex ring any bells? It’s as if the son kills his father to exist on his own before the transmission of knowledge, family values, etc. has taken place. You follow me?

Then we think that it’s possible, and even advised, to preserve the true watchmaking tradition as long as possible in the 21th century through interesting and subtle changes much more relevant than connecting them to our smartphones and in augmenting certain features to finally lose harmony that formerly existed.

Omega Seamaster 300 - 60th Anniversary 1957 -Baselworld 2017

On the contrary, using what the best modern technology has brought us these past decades, combined with iconic designs left in heritage by these brands, this is what’s interesting.

Warmth and timelessness of design that crosses decades without taking on a wrinkle on the one side, and on the other, robustness, reliability, magnetic resistance and chronometric precision. The result is simple: the watch of a lifetime with which we want to write history together and pass it down. In other words, a really beautiful watch that makes sense, not simply another fashionable accessory riding on the latest fad wave.

Seiko - First Diver 1965 SLA017 - Baselworld 2017

How did we come to this interpretation? We have to admit that we were spoiled. Witnessing the rebirth of such iconic pieces with such freshness and never seen before energy…honestly, this gives me the simple and healthy desire to buy, in these conditions and again, a new watch.

A certain watchmaking humbleness

A certain back-to-the-roots mentality was not only seen in the collections by the numerous re-editions and new creations, less bling-bling oriented, but also felt by the prices proposed. When we see a brand like Tudor present a 3-hand diver with date and a manufactured caliber barely over 3000 EUR, and a chronograph, manufactured caliber as well and certified chronometer at 4500 EUR, we say to ourselves that this remains a lot of money for most of us, but there’s progress.

When we see Longines and Hamilton, on their side, propose more affordable prices along with an overall improved technical nature with anti-magnetic movements and chronometer certifications, as well as a power reserve of 80h, we confirm that there’s indeed a trend.

Humbleness for an industry that is above all, shall we not forget, here to seduce and make the European and international market trust it again. A market that, let’s face it, has been struggling these past few years. Humbleness that we welcome as consumers, even though we are far from being gullible. However the passionate nature inside us makes it easy for us to give in to the dance of seduction, lovers of fine things that we are. This is obviously comprehensible. 

Longines Flagship Heritage 60eme Anniversaire - Baselworld 2017

Our hopes for tomorrow

We hope simply that this trend continues its course, creating and recreating real and beautiful timespieces, these “time tools” we want to wear daily as well as on special occasions, with which we want to share life journeys and travel experiences before passing it on. In my humble opinion this is the surest and healthiest way to reconquer the hearts of those who don’t buy flying tourbillons on 5th Ave. or Place Vendôme on a whim.

Baselworld 2017 - Bell & Ross Vintage

We believe that it’s time that the world of watchmaking reconnect with reality of those who are true aficionados and ready to take that extra step to acquire a piece they really desire. It goes without saying that the piece has to exist, so that the extra step is relevant. This 2017 edition of Baselworld has shown us that a great number are on the right path. Let’s all hope they continue…