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Fair game If Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, then Baselworld is the fair that launched a thousand watches. OK, that was terrible, but I've been re-reading the classics in training for the iPhone game Trivia Crack, so apologies, but useless facts and throwaway literary quotes are my thing at the moment.
Anyway, Baselworld closed a few days ago and, as expected, it heralded a deluge of new watches, some good, some great and an obscene amount of awful. Thankfully, this column focuses on the good, rather than the bad, and this week I've picked out three Baselworld gems.
First up is the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time (right). Yes, that's a PP. I had to do a double take as at first glance I thought I was looking at a new iteration of the Zenith Big Pilot. This is a very un-PP looking PP watch and one assumes the Geneva-based watchmaker is looking to target younger consumers with this design (retro youthful, innit) and very on-trend features and strap. This isn't the type of Patek Philippe that would be seen in those dated Werther's Original-type ads with the cheesy slogan about never owning a PP but holding on to it for the next generation, and it's all the better for it.
Also, it must be said, this watch hasn't simply come out of nowhere; PP has a history of making pilot watches that stretches all the way back to the 1930s. As for this watch, it features all the usual PP excellence including a 324 S C FUS movement, which is a needlessly convoluted name for a wonderful piece of engineering that features all sorts of patented technology and Silinvar, PP's own version of silicone. Functions include dual time-zone indication, day/night indicator for both local and home time zones, and date dial. Power reserve tops out at 45 hours, which is pretty weak given that this watch isn't overloaded with features. The white-gold case measures a pleasing 42mm and the retro strap is brown calfskin. Prices for the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time are yet to be released.
Next we have the Longines Pulsometer Chronograph (right). Longines is a brand I can't quite figure out: on the one hand, it has a glorious history of watchmaking and an archive that would be the envy of any brand, while, on the other, it sponsors show jumping. Who likes show jumping? Seriously. I bet even Zara Phillips doesn't like show jumping.
Back to the watches … Longines' star piece from Baselworld for me was the Pulsometer Chronograph, which was inspired by watches from the 20s that were designed for medical use. Obviously, these days a Nike Fuel band or Samsung Gear would be more accurate readers of heartbeats but that doesn't stop the Pulsometer Chronograph looking gorgeous. The outstanding design features old-world lettering and numbers, as well as a lovely use of red. The case is 40mm and made of steel, which should make the price attractive. Inside is a L788.2 movement, made by ETA exclusively for Longines, with a 54-hour power reserve. Features are standard hours and minutes with a chronograph, pulsometer and the date. Prices for the Longines Pulsometer Chronograph are available upon request.
Lastly, we have a beast of a watch in the Breitling for Bentley GMT Light Body B04 Midnight Carbon (right). The Breitling and Bentley partnership is one of the few watch-automobile collaborations that actually works and doesn't seem like a cynical ploy (Jaeger-LeCoultre's partnership with Aston Martin is the only other one that doesn't make me cringe). This watch follows on from great earlier iterations of the GMT range, this time featuring a black titanium case (49mm) that's lightweight but super strong. Inside there's an in-house Breitling B04 certified chronometer movement with more than 70 hours of power reserve. Functions include the second time zone as well as a chronograph and date. The design is a little cluttered but that's a Breitling signature so a minor quibble. The tentative price for the GMT Light Body B04 Midnight Carbon is HK$123,780.
Source : http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1746212/patek-philippe-longines-breitling-best-baselworld-2015
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