Tudor Black Bay P01
There may be divided opinions about Tudor’s new Black Bay P01, but there’s no denying that it was one of the most talked about novelties at the fair this year. Immediately noticeable is the quirky placement of the winding crown at 4 o’clock – a design feature that’s previously unseen in the Black Bay family – which sets it a little off-balance. What’s also markedly different are the prominent end-links that make the watch significantly chunkier than the rest of the Black Bay collection.
Based on a prototype that was proposed to the US Navy in the 1960s but never produced, this new model features a unique locking system for its bidirectional rotating bezel, which is yet another departure from the usual unidirectional dive bezels found on Black Bay timepieces. Operating it is simple: One simply presses on the end-link at 12 o’clock to unlock the bezel, rotate it to the required position, then push down on the end-link again to lock it in place.
The 42mm steel case here houses an in-house Calibre MT5612 automatic movement, and has a dial with the signature Black Bay snowflake hands. Despite its slightly unusual outline, the Black Bay P01 sits comfortably on the wrist, with a soft hybrid leather and rubber strap to complete the package.
Chopard Imperiale Joaillerie Rainbow
The rainbow watch trend persisted at Baselworld this year with several brands rolling out multi-coloured dials, bezels and straps. One of, if not the most, striking was undoubtedly Chopard’s Imperiale Joaillerie Rainbow. The 36mm high jewellery watch comes in two variations: One with a textured white mother-of-pearl dial and white alligator strap, and another with a Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial and a grey alligator strap. Both references are in rose gold, and feature a colourful row of baguette-cut coloured sapphires on the bezel that create a rainbow. The lugs themselves have been set with baguette- and brilliant-cut white diamonds.
Even the hour markers have been set with coloured sapphires matching the hues of the bezel, save for the gilded Roman numeral indices at three, six, nine and 12 o’clock. In the centre of the dial, encircled by diamonds, an intricate arabesque design brings out the splendour of the mother-of-pearl, with its iridescent sheen complementing the sapphire rainbow.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic
Bvlgari is on a roll with its series of record-breaking timepieces. The Maison has followed up on last year’s record – the world’s thinnest self-winding tourbillon timepiece – with the new Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic. This marks Bvlgari’s fifth world record, this time the thinnest mechanical chronograph in watchmaking history. Its movement, the BVL 318 calibre, is just 3.3mm thick, which translates to a case that’s just 6.90mm high.
Technical complexity aside, Bvlgari has paid close attention to the watch’s design. This is seen in how the chronograph and GMT functions have been seamlessly integrated into the watch’s aesthetics, with the GMT hand’s quick-set pusher blending into the case at 9 o’clock. Similarly, the chronograph pushers complement the clean-cut lines of the timepiece, sitting on either side of the ceramic-set titanium crown. The sleek sandblasted titanium dial is matched with a sandblasted titanium bracelet with a folding clasp.
Urwerk UR-T8 Skull
The special edition Urwerk UR-T8 Skull bears the impressive work of London-based master engraver Johnny “King Nerd” Dowell. Dowell started his engraving career by working on sporting and collectible guns and did so for 15 years, but now works on engraving almost anything from earphones to, of course, watches.
For the UR-T8 Skull, he designed and hand-engraved the skull and scroll motifs on the reversible case’s bronze portions. Dowell started out by scaling down his sketch to the size of the UR-T8, then cut out the outlines of the skull and scrolls. He works on the background next, before moving onto his favourite part – the shading work– which is where the design truly comes to life. Details are added by incising lines, blackening areas, then using different grades of polishing paper to get the perfect finish.
Dowell is a one-man show, working from his home studio in London, and has created just five pieces of the UR-T8 Skull, which makes every single one a rarity.