Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business
Watches

The 10 Best Watches From Baselworld 2015

Brands, from Patek Philippe to Longines to Hermès, showed captivating new watches in Basel

There's one day left in Baselworld 2015, but I'm back in New York, I've finally gotten the smell of schnitzel out of my favorite scarf, and I've had some time to look back over my notes and photos from a full week of nonstop watch-gazing. Here are the 10 watches I'm still thinking about after the show.

Longines Pulsometer Chronograph

Vintage-style chronograph at an affordable price.

Vintage-style chronograph at an affordable price.

Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

This watch really brings it. Longines packed an automatic monopusher chronograph into a streamlined 40 millimeter steel case and then added a 1920s-style dial with a bright red pulsometer scale (used by doctors to take a patient's pulse). That doesn't even take into account all the little technical flourishes in the movement, such as the column wheel that ensures crisp and accurate measurements. This is one of the first watches I saw last week, and I'm still wishing it were on my wrist. $4,200

Chopard L.U.C Regulator

A regulator is the perfect platform for a dual-time watch.
A regulator is the perfect platform for a dual-time watch.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

Because of its longtime status as a top-tier jewelry house, Chopard is one of the more underrated watch brands. The L.U.C line can compete with the likes of Patek and Vacheron, though it has its own, slightly less-traditional vibe. This rose gold "regulator" watch (one on which hours and minutes are tracked on separate axes) also has a second time zone and an nine-day power reserve. Did I mention it's chronometer-certified? Yeah, it's that, too. The time for classifying Chopard as a "jewelry watch" brand is long over, and this watch is further proof. $33,530

Laurent Ferrier Traveller Black

Forget bright colors. The black enamel version of this watch is incredible.

Forget bright colors. The black enamel version of this watch is incredible.

Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

Maps on dials can be a controversial subject. Fans of mid-century enamel worldtimers will talk to you about craftsmanship and tradition and whatever, but most of the time I think they just look tacky. This new version of Laurent Ferrier's dual-time Traveller watch (that window at 9 o'clock shows the hours of your second time zone), has a two-tone map that's a silver dome covered in black enamel that's worn away to reveal the continents. The hour markers hang out over the curvature of the dome. While it's so pretty on the front that you might forget to turn the watch over, that would be a mistake: Ferrier's micro-rotor movement could be the most beautiful automatic caliber ever made. 75,000 Swiss Francs ($76,720)

Omega Dark Side of the Moon, Vintage Edition

Of four new editions of this watch, this is the very best.
Of four new editions of this watch, this is the very best.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

Following up on its popular Dark and Grey Side of the Moon watches, this week Omega released a series of four new variations. There's one with a gold bezel, one that's totally blacked out, a third that's matte-finished, and one with some faux-vintage patina. The last stole the show for me. It's the big black watch for the guy who hates big black watches. The aged leather strap looks as if it came off an old motorcycle seat, and the creamy markers break up the black just enough. Now I just have to get cool enough to wear it. $12,000

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711R

Sure, it's all gold, but this is as easy to wear as a watch gets.
Sure, it's all gold, but this is as easy to wear as a watch gets.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

This is the one Patek-lovers have been waiting for. It's your basic, no-frills, time-only Nautilus in the classic "Jumbo" size (confusingly, Jumbo indicates that it's smaller than most of the other models), but this one comes in solid rose gold. That includes the bracelet, but the thin links make it feel much lighter than most other all-gold watches. The brown dial shifts in the light, begging you to show it off—which may not the best idea, depending on where you are. No one will mistake this for anything but what it is. $51,000

Glashütte Original Senator Observer

Classic German watchmaking with an aesthetic update.

Classic German watchmaking with an aesthetic update.

Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

Germany earned its watchmaking stripes by making crazily accurate chronometers in the 19th century for merchant ships and scientific use. This watch takes that tradition and reinterprets it in a way that's thoroughly modern. The angular hands and scrolling numerals are all rendered in bright SuperLuminova for reading in the dark, and the panoramic date at 6 o'clock is carefully matched to the dark dial for a more discreet look. The movement has traditional German finishing, but if you're not careful, you'll be too busy looking at the awesome dial to notice. From $11,800

Sarpaneva Korona Northern Lights

No watch glows like this one.
No watch glows like this one.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

Rarely do you see something entirely new at Baselworld. (Like never-seen-anything-even-close-to-similar-ever new.) This is just that. Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva joined with a Swedish specialist in luminous materials to create the Northern Lights. It lives up to its name and glows so brightly when the lights go out that its almost startling. Sarpaneva says you can leave it on your bedside table when you go to sleep, and it will still be visible in the morning. I'd love to try for myself, but he's making only eight of these in each of three colors: blue, purple, and green. €14,500 ($15,690)

H. Moser Funky Blue Perpetual Calendar

Moser's perpetual calendar has a pared-down display, and this dial is astonishing.

Moser's perpetual calendar has a pared-down display, and this dial is astonishing.

Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

Perpetual calendars customarily involve a pile of windows and subdials pointing out four or five different measurements of time. The dials end up busy and crowded. Moser's perpetual skips the day-of-the-week indicator and uses a tiny arrow to count out the months, using the hour markers. He also puts the leap-year indicator on the movement (on the reverse), instead of the dial. This lets you fully appreciate the blue fumé dial (a specialty of Moser's), complemented by the distressed brown strap. This is high-end watchmaking without the pretension. 60,000 Swiss Francs ($62,115)

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 18

You could almost fool someone into thinking this is the original Carrera.

You could almost fool someone into thinking this is the original Carrera.

Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

The big TAG Heuer news from Basel was the forthcoming smartwatch partnership with Google and Intel, but the company haven't stopped working on the mechanical front. The new Caliber 18 Carrera looks almost exactly like the original model from 1963. If you're not an expert, it would actually be easy to mistake one for the other in photos—the Caliber 18 is 39mm, while the first Carrera was 36mm—a dead giveaway in person. The domed sapphire crystal, faded grey markers, and sharply angled lugs (not to mention that old-school Heuer logo, sans TAG) are all spot-on. I had a hard time handing the sample back. $6,300

Hermès Slim d'Hermès

There are both dual-time perpetual calendar and time-only versions of this watch.

There are both dual-time perpetual calendar and time-only versions of this watch.

Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

These might be the best watches to come out of Baselworld 2015. There, I said it. The new Slim d'Hermès collection contains a few models, but the two starts are a time-only automatic and a dual-time perpetual calendar. Both are powered by thin automatic movements (wound by a micro-rotor) that are made in-house by Hermès. Everything, from the case shape to the numerals to the dial layouts, feels well-thought-out and complementary. Rarely do brands get it this right. From $7,650 (time-only), $38,900 (perpetual)

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