Baselworld . The biggest watch event in the calendar for all watch geeks. For the brands it provides a great marketing platform to springboard their new models, new technology and new designs to the general public. For GENEVA STRIPES it’s like being a young boy again in a sweet shop.
Its a frenzy of excitement as we anticipate what will be released. This year, Rolex was a big mover in the industry with substantial upgrades to many of their lines and also much needed attention given to their Tudor line. Tag Heuer also brought back their Heuer Monza and MB&F released a very fun watch in the shape of the HMX “Black Badger”.
So without further ado, let’s have a look at what was hot this year at Baselworld 2016.
There was much rumour surrounding the upgrade of the Rolex Daytona from stainless steel bezel to ceramic bezel prior to Baselworld 2016 and they did not disappoint. They really did not disappoint. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a particular big fan of the Daytona but I do understood why they have a huge following. This piece mesmerised me and got a lot of people talking – out of all the new upgrades that Rolex has released to their models – this is the one that I want to have the most. Due to how hot this model is right now and with the limited numbers on release – if you can get your hands on this, it will be a very healthy investment for the future.
TUDOR Black Bay
Probably the first watch to get mass exposure during Baselworld 2016 was the Tudor Black Bay 36 in Bronze AND in-house movement. GENEVA STRIPES is a big fan of the Tudor line and certainly we feel this is a clever move in developing this particular market segment. Set in the price range below Rolex, Tudor offers real quality at this price point, but manages to exude class that very very few brands can do at this price range. Between Longines, Tudor and Tag Heuer we know what we would be choosing.
CHANEL – Monsieur de Chanel
A watch that surprised many was the Chanel Monsieur de Chanel. This is because it represents a shift in direction by Chanel from producing fashion pieces to actual serious timepieces. Ok, we agree the design isn’t for all but at least its got purpose – it’s supposed to look like a Chanel perfume bottle and whatever you might think – a fashion house such as Chanel investing in an in-house movement is newsworthy alone. It’s something to be applauded because it shows intent and courage to try and gain credibility in the right way as a luxury watch maker.
MB&F – HMX Black Badger
There are some watches that we sit back and admire and go “wow” – just beautiful. Then there are watches that turn grown men into young boys and fill them with excitement that is hard to bottle up. That’s what MB&F are good at. Their watches don’t need to exist but boy, are we happy that they do. The Black Badger is so named after to James Thompson’s Instagram persona where he uses AGT Ultra – a material that has a 40% longer charge than SuperLuminova in his rings. I already wanted an MB&F and now I just want one more. Damn, if only I could afford the price tag.
TAG Heuer – Monza
What was noticeable in this year’s Baselworld 2016 was that many watch brands decided to upgrade and improve on established models already present in the product line rather than releasing completely new models. We believe to be a sensible move due to the current state of the luxury watch industry as a whole. Consolidation and improvement on already popular models, sticking to doing what you do best, rather than releasing model upon model which are as quickly forgotten as they are released. A fine example of this was none other than TAG Heuer who released the TAG Heuer Monza which looks exactly like the vintage model but with an upgraded Calibre 17 movement.
As mentioned before, it was a big year for Rolex and in keeping with “The Rolex Way” they have perfected a fair few models within their product line. Due to childish urges, I had to get the Daytona out of the way by mentioning it first in the article but the Rolex Explorer, Datejust II and Air King have all evolved and the subtle design changes cumulatively serve up perhaps the best line up of Rolex watches to date.
Finally to finish off a list of very desirable watches is the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph. Making one of their strongest models in their product line even stronger, it is the first Omega Chronograph that has METAS certification (Master Chronometer certified). We have no doubt that this will prove an extremely popular acquisition for Seamaster Planet Ocean fans.
The Swiss watch industry as a whole is facing trying times. Markets such as Asia have been severely hit and a huge drop in demand has occurred in China especially. It was even reported that there was a drop in 30% attendance for Baselworld 2016 this year by some journalists. Furthermore, the advent of smartwatches offers a serious threat with technological advances improve quickly.
Consumers nowadays have not only so much choice but are increasingly more educated in their selection. They want something refined, something which offers value and even details such as one of the hands being too short is enough for them to say “no”.
However, GENEVA STRIPES feels that many watch brands played their cards correctly this year. As with many things in the luxury goods industry we much prefer evolution over revolution, consolidation of your strongest products, and refinement of the smallest details.