CLUBHOUSE Away from the Fairways Best in show: The all-new Sky-Dweller from Rolex
Basel in Focus Evan Rast presents trends and highlights from the biggest watch show of the year, Baselworld
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With 14 patents, five of which are new, the SkyDweller is certainly an impressive innovation ... it has all the makings of a winning Rolex watch
The Savvy Traveller
New arrival: The Rolex Sky-Dweller is equipped with a new in-house automatic calibre 9001 and features a dual time zone and annual calendar 20
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t came much earlier this year, yet everyone who attended was wellprepared for the juggling act that is Baselworld. Gruelling schedules and back-to-back appointments all worth it, of course, given the privilege of being among the first to see the latest and most technically sound creations that will make their mark in the world of high watchmaking this year. So what’s in store for us come the first deliveries in the summer? Each brand had a story to tell, but there were certainly a few trends we’ve picked up on.
If you do quite a fair bit of flying, then you will appreciate the efforts many brands have made to produce highly original and easy ways for the stylish traveller to keep track of time. Watchmaking tour de force Rolex has released a new model called the Sky-Dweller, which features a dual time zone and annual calendar. It has all the makings of a winning Rolex watch, made more interesting by an offcentre disc on the dial. Equipped with a new in-house automatic calibre 9001 – a certified Swiss chronometer – the watch is a breeze to operate. Local time is read using the central hands, while your home or reference time is displayed via a 24-hour rotating disc on the dial. The annual calendar, called Saros (after the astronomical period which inspired it), is particularly fuss-free in that it requires only one date adjustment a year, between February and March. Twelve windows on the circumference of the dial will show you which month it is. Local time, reference time and date can be adjusted using the rotatable Ring Command bezel, then winding the crown. With 14 patents, five of which are new, the Sky-Dweller is certainly an impressive innovation from Rolex. The watch is available in a 42mm Oyster case in 18k white gold or Everose gold. Then we move on to a unique world timer. Two years ago Bremont was commissioned to produce a world time chronometer for the crew of the C-17 Globemaster, a transport aircraft used by the US Air Force, the UK Royal Air Force and the Qatar Emiri Air Force, to name a few. The watch is easily one of the most complicated military watches the brand has ever produced, with an etched globe on the dial and a Roto-Click bezel that enables the user to work out the global time zones using the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) airfield identifiers, which represents a C-17 landing location in all 24 time zones. The watch itself can show UTC or ‘Zulu’ time through its adjustable 24-hour hand. Very cool. HKGOLFER.COM
Fitted with the automatic movement BE-54AE, the World Timer from Bremont is presented in leather wallet, handmade in England, and comes with a strap changing tool and an extra NATO military nylon strap
World at your feet: Launched in the brand's signature TripTick case with three-piece construction and helium release valve, the World Timer, ALT1WT features a strengthened, scratch-resistant steel case that measures 2000 Vickers on the Mohs hardness scale 22
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This year, the Globemaster is now available for civilians like ourselves, in the form of the Bremont World Timer, ALT1-WT. Launched in the brand’s signature Trip-Tick case with three-piece construction and helium release valve, the watch comes in a strengthened, scratch-resistant steel case that measures 2000 Vickers on the Mohs hardness scale (compared to the regular 316L stainless steel at 300). The date window takes inspiration from the Globemaster’s Head Up Display. The watch comes in a blue, black and white dial. Fitted with the automatic movement BE-54AE, the watch is presented in a leather travel wallet, handmade in England, and comes with a strap changing tool and an extra NATO military nylon strap. Another brand that has presented a striking universal timer is Breitling. The Transocean C h rono g raph Un it i me come s w it h a movement produced in-house, the automatic, COSC-certified 05 calibre. A double disc on the dial constantly indicates the time in all 24 time zones, with a vintage-looking chronograph counter and globe on the centre. Despite its many indications, the watch is quite easy to operate. To change time zones, one would simply have to pull out the crown and turn it in one-hour increments to adjust the hour hand, city disc, 24-hour disc, and the calendar in one smooth move, without disturbing the time or any timekeeping operations in progress. The watch here is in 46mm steel case with a black dial and a steel mesh Ocean Classic bracelet. The Transocean Chronograph Unitime is also offered in a polar white dial and red gold case, with an option of a leather strap. First-class travel on the wrist! If you’d like a more masculine take on the traveller’s watch, Hublot presents one. The King Power Unico GMT takes the brand’s in-house Unico chronograph movement to the next level by integrating a GMT function for travellers looking for the perfect blend of function and design. It sports a matte black dial featuring four satellites with hour indications, linked to move and rotate centrally with the main time. This allows you to tell time in each of the 14 cities marked on the bezel and dial in different font sizes. The piece is powered by the HUB 1220 calibre with a 72-hour power reserve and is water-resistant to 100m/10 ATM. As a true showcase of modern sporty elegance, it comes with a black ceramicand-rubber bezel, a matching black ceramic case back and a rubber strap with a black PVD-coated titanium King Power folding clasp. The 48mm watch is also available with an 18k gold case, pushers and clasp.
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It was obvious that many watchmakers wanted to highlight their finishing skills and movement expertise, as there were quite a number of openworked watches presented at the show. It’s not easy to pare down an existing movement to create a skeleton watch, much less make one from scratch! And while these openworked details are certainly the focal point of these timepieces, their functions certainly don’t take a back seat. While we are still on the subject of travelling watches, a piece from A rnold & Son is definitely worth your attention. Limited to 50 pieces, the Hornet World Timer Skeleton indicates the equation of time, multiple time zone display and big date display, and features six hands: the baton-style hour and minute hands, arrow-tipped skeleton hand for the month, two extra-long hands tipped with a luminescent triangle and stylized sun to indicate two time zones, and the shortest hand that shows the equation of time. Counterbalancing its functionality is its innate complexity, with a skeletonised mechanism, the A1766 calibre, that provides a 42-hour power reserve. Its stainless steel case measures 47mm. “Be proud tourbillon” is the theme of Franck Muller’s latest offering, the Giga Tourbillon Round Skeleton. With its 20mm tourbillon occupying nearly half of this timepiece, it’s no surprise why. Not only is the tourbillon imposing, it’s also technically magnificent, featuring four barrels instead of the usual two. These barrels are 16mm wide – 4mm more than traditional ones – delivering constant force to operate the giga tourbillon. A 49mm 18k white gold case houses the FM 2100 calibre which is circular-grained and rhodium-plated, offering a 10-day power reserve. The movement has been reversed to further highlight the tourbillon and bridge, relocating hour setting and winding to the caseback. Arnold & Son also unveils a new watch, the TB88, which stands for True Beat 88. Instead of a sweeping second hand found on most watches, the company reintroduces a function standard in most of its watches and chronometers: the dead-beat second. It’s useful if you need to be precise in counting seconds. The number 88 stands for the unique design of the AS5003 movement, with two visible barrels at 10 and 2 o’clock providing over 100 hours of power re ser ve , t he ba la nce wheel at 4 o’clock, and the dead-beat second at 8’o clock which toget her form a double eight. A combination of rose gold case, and the black and red (jewel) elements on the dial makes this watch a real head turner. 78
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We always see a good number of diver and marine-inspired watches presented at Baselworld, and this year was no different. Here are three that stood out: Continuing on their vintage path, Tudor presents the latest addition to its Heritage collection, the Black Bay. Inspired by a dive watch from 1954, the Black Bay features a black dial with a matte burgundy bezel and rose gold hands and hour markers. The combination is really quite stunning. The watch, which is larger than the original, features an automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve, a 41mm steel case water-resistant to 200 metres, and luminescent hour markers. The crown is engraved with the Tudor rose. The watch is delivered with two wristbands: a black fabric strap and a choice of steel bracelet or exclusive aged brown leather strap. Still on the subject of diving watches, Rolex has updated its Oyster Perpetual Submariner, with a subtly redesigned case and a new bezel and bracelet. The unidirectional bezel now comes with a black Cerachrom insert for resistance to scratches, fading and corrosion. The dial has hour markers and hands with Chromalight, an improved luminescent material that emits a blue glow, for increased legibility in the dark. Equipped with the automatic calibre 3130, the watch has all the features of a Submariner: the parachrom hairspring for shock resistance, the 40mm steel Oyster case water-resistant to 300 metres, and the Triplock waterproof crown. Ulysse Nardin has been creating marine chronometers since the late 19th century, and last year presented its in-house UN-118 calibre with DiamonSil escapement, which is a combination of diamond and silicon that requires no lubrication, essentially making the watch more durable and less prone to inaccuracies. This year, Ulysse Nardin has come up with an artfully designed 2012 Marine Chronometre, now with a larger 45mm diameter case, a new crown for easy handling complete with a rubber notch for comfortable winding, and a beautifully handcrafted enamel dial produced by famous enamellist Donze Cadrans. The dial is a bright white offset by black Roman numerals and cherry red accents. An 18k rose gold bevelled case houses the famed UN-118 movement, which offers a 60-hour power reserve. Basel beauties (clockwise from top): the Black Bay from Tudor, Rolex has updated its Oyster Perpetual Submariner; the TB-88 from Arnold & Son; another Arnold & Son watch, the Hornet World Timer Skeleton, is limited to 50 pieces HKGOLFER.COM
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Jaq uet D ro z pre sent s a mo onpha se complication on a dial carved from a black onyx disc. The Eclipse Onyx’s fully black dial comes into contrast with rhodium-finished star and moon appliqués. The moon phases in black onyx at 6 o’clock, and the day and month windows at 12 o’clock complete the handsome dial. A 43mm steel case houses the Jaquet Droz 6553L2 automatic calibre that offers a 68-hour power serve. Each model is numbered. Straight from its Villeret Collection, Blancpain introduces a retrograde small seconds watch, the first of its kind to feature a flinqué lacquered dial. Multiple layers of translucent blue lacquer are applied to the dial to create depth. The watch is equipped with the ultra-slim 7663Q calibre which displays the hours, minutes and date, shown by a central serpentine pointer, with retrograde seconds at 6 o’clock.
Sleek and Elegant
Style and substance (clockwise from top): Claude Meylan's Répétition 5 is an exquisite piece of watchmaking; the Eclipse Onyx from Jaquet Droz; Blancpain's retrograde small seconds watch from its Villeret Collection 80
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Last but not the least, I’d like to bring your attention to some notable dress watches that bring new meaning to the words distinguished and refined. A skeleton watch and minute repeater, Claude Meylan’s Répétition 5 is an amazing picture of pinions, wheels and gears that are exquisitely finished to form an orchestra that sounds the hours and five-minute intervals on demand. The watch features an automatic minute-repeater movement that is fully skeletonised and engraved by hand. The 42mm case comes in either steel of 18k gold, with a sapphire crystal and numbered transparent back. The watch will be in a limited series of 100. HKGOLFER.COM