Despite the drastic drop in exhibitors (from 1,300 in 2017 to under 700 this year) and the incessant chatter on its ill-fated future, Baselworld 2018 forged ahead with a strong showing from exhibiting brands. Commercially priced pieces equipped with functional complications, especially the GMT, remained top priority for watchmakers. Rolex, Tudor and Patek Philippe all launched GMT watches that incited much excitement.

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TOP TRENDS

Baring It All

Skeletonised dials, which artfully blend a brand’s aesthetic with its watchmaking skills, were particularly popular this year. Chanel, Hublot, TAG Heuer, Bvlgari, Zenith and Corum showed off their individual take on the art of skeletonisation, while Jaquet Droz debuted its first skeleton watch.

Art That Moves You

Mechanical objects of art were also another way brands showcased their creativity. From an intergalactic weather station by MB&F to a customisable automaton by Jaquet Droz that can replicate one’s signature, these fascinating mechanical devices are stellar examples of how watchmakers continue to push the limits.

Hark-Back Beauties

Heritage remains a popular inspiration for watch brands. Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Longines and TAG Heuer unveiled vintage reissues and throwback timepieces — and why not, given that some of these watches have garnered as much fame as their respective watch brands. Patek Philippe also jumped on the bandwagon and brought back the not-oft seen Golden Ellipse, its second-oldest watch model.

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Salmon, The It-Shade

Finally, although blue remains the go-to for coloured dials, salmon is poised to become popular this year. Patek Philippe and Laurent Ferrier sent out watches with dials in that alluring shade, as did Bvlgari, with its Octo Finissimo Automatic. The watch’s dial, case and bracelet are made of sandblasted red gold, exuding a powdery and luminous look that is extremely attractive yet subtle.

TOP TEN

And here’s why the following 10 highlights from Baselworld 2018 should be next on your wish list.