All that Dazzles: The Best of Baselworld 2018

10:17 AM 3/30/2018

by Laurie Brookins

Baselworld Jewelry Highlights - Split - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of brands

The annual watch and jewelry fair just wrapped up in Switzerland; here, the most dazzling pieces from Chanel, Rolex, Harry Winston and more.

  • Breguet: Marine Alarm Musicale 5547

    Long before watch brands sponsored every sporting event, Abraham-Louis Breguet was known as the official timekeeper of the French navy; that tradition has been honored with the watchmaker’s latest for its Marine family of watches, the 40mm Marine Alarm Musicale 5547.

    In addition to a second time zone at the 3 o’clock position, an alarm complication is also featured — it’s the subdial at the 9 o’clock position — allowing the wearer to set wake-up calls or appointment reminders. When the alarm strikes, a ship’s bell appears at the 12 o’clock position. The 5547 comes in three versions: as an 18-karat red-gold case with silvered gold dial hand-guillochéd with a wave pattern exclusive to the Marine watches; a white-gold case comes with a blue dial, while a titanium case is paired with a slate-grey dial without guilloche work. Each version is also accompanied by two straps, one in alligator and a sportier version in rubber.

  • Chanel

    Chanel debuted its latest watch in 2017, the Code Coco; as its name implies, the look of the watch is taken from the “codes” of the house, from the quilting-like pattern on the bracelet to the turning-lock clasp on the dial, meant to evoke the clasp on Chanel’s iconic 2.55 bag. At Baselworld, Chanel debuted an all-diamond version of the Code Coco, featuring more than 500 diamonds in baguette, princess and brilliant cuts totaling roughly 55 carats, all set in 18-karat white gold.

  • Harry Winston: Ocean 20th Anniversary Biretrograde Automatic

    The jeweler is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Ocean Collection with a limited-edition watch that uses a coveted gemstone to celebrate the color of the sea. Limited to 20 pieces, the Ocean 20th Anniversary Biretrograde Automatic 36mm features 120 brilliant-cut Paraiba tourmalines — not only on the mother-of-pearl dial, but also on the white-gold rotor, visible through the transparent caseback. Brilliant-cut diamonds adorn the dial and the white-gold case and buckle. Features include retrograde seconds at 8 o’clock and retrograde days at 4 o’clock, as well as a date window at the 6 o’clock position. The alligator strap, meanwhile, is dyed to match those gorgeous Paraiba tourmalines.

  • Chopard: Red Carpet Collection

    You’re sure to see this piece in May at the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival, where Chopard — a festival sponsor and the craftsmen behind the Palme d’Or — traditionally showcases its Red Carpet Collection. Brilliant color is key to the jeweler’s 2018 offerings, including this secret watch, which features a dial crafted of pink mother of pearl and chalcedony. A 72-carat black opal encircled by turquoise pivots to hide the dial, which is surrounded by carved jadeite, turquoise, onyx, pear-shaped and brilliant-cut diamonds, brilliant-cut emeralds, and brilliant-cut tanzanites; the bracelet is crafted of tanzanite beads. Total gemstones: 235 carats.

  • Bulgari: Octo Finissimo Automatic

    At only 3.95mm thick, Bulgari’s Octo watches are record-setters in ultra-thin timepieces. Among the latest: two new metals for the Octo Finissimo Automatic, in sandblasted rhodium-plated steel or in rose gold, seen here. An ultra-light titanium version debuted in 2017.

  • Rolex: Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea D-Blue

    Dive watches were everywhere at Baselworld 2018, but only the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea D-Blue dial evoked the changing colors of ocean depths. The 44mm stainless-steel divers’ watch features a new calibre, redesigned lugs, a wider Oyster bracelet, and Chromalight hour markers and hands. Its D-blue dial, meanwhile, gradates from deep blue to pitch black and was first seen in 2014, when Rolex partnered with the National Geographic Society on the Deepsea Challenge, James Cameron’s expedition to the ocean’s deepest point at 10,908 meters, or 35,787 feet. The dial’s gradient is a tribute to that moment.

  • Graff: Graff Floral

    The London-based jeweler is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its luxury watch division with a variety of debuts, including the Graff Floral, seen here in purple (it’s also available with pink, blue or white blossoms). Each flower is hand-cut from 18-karat white gold, with each petal enameled by hand. Flowers at 8 o’clock, 10 o’clock and 1 o’clock slowly and continuously rotate on the mother-of-pearl dial within a 37mm diamond-embellished case.

  • H. Moser & Cie: Endeavor Tourbillon Concept

    Speaking of gorgeous dials: H. Moser & Cie. is known for the depth of color in its sunburst dials, and one of its latest is no exception. The Endeavor Tourbillon Concept features the watchmaker’s signature Funky Blue fumé dial, with a flying tourbillon the only addition at the 6 o’clock position. Limited to 20 pieces, the Endeavor Tourbillon Concept is crafted with a 42mm white-gold case, offset by a hand-stitched kudu leather strap.

  • DeGrisogono: Melody of Colours Collection

    The Geneva-based jewelry and watch house is never afraid to inject a bit of whimsy into its designs. These limited-edition mismatched earrings (a huge trend at Baselworld 2018) from the Melody of Colours collection feature a piranha chasing a school of fish; they’re crafted of two cushion-cut amethysts totaling 24.10 carats, 450 white diamonds totaling 2.50 carats, 282 blue sapphires totaling 6.86 carats, 55 amethysts totaling 1.10 carats, and one black diamond (the piranha’s eye, natch) totaling .37 carats, all set in 18-karat white gold.

  • Jacob & Co.: Twin Turbo Furious

    Among the wow watches at Baselworld 2018, Jacob & Co. offered one of the wowest: Jacob Arabo’s latest grand complication is known as the Twin Turbo Furious, a twin triple axis sequential high-speed tourbillon minute repeater and mono-push chronograph. That’s a lot of information to absorb, but this is a lot of watch. Jacob & Co. is positioning this piece as “the watch of all extremes,” and that extends to its performance: The twin tourbillons each rotates on its first axis at 24 seconds, the second axis at 8 seconds, and the third at 30 seconds. Fold in the mono-push chronograph, small seconds at 9 o’clock, a power-reserve indicator at 6 o’clock, and a decimal minute repeater that chimes at the hour, at 10 minutes and also minutes on demand – all in a distinctive case shape crafted of 18-karat rose gold and carbon fiber – and it’s little wonder that Baselworld attendees were calling this “a beast of a watch.” Limited to just 18 pieces, the Twin Turbo Furious is rumored to cost more than $554,000.

  • Gucci: Ouroboros Collection

    Alessandro Michele’s influence as creative director of Gucci is increasingly seen in the label’s jewelry and watches; as just one example, the snake that’s ubiquitous on ready to wear and handbags is now also found throughout the 2018 fine jewelry and watches. Among the most-coveted Gucci pieces at Baselworld 2018 is from the Ouroboros jewelry collection, which takes its inspiration from the Egyptian symbol of a snake eating its own tail: This multi-finger ring crafted of 18-karat yellow gold and embellished with round brilliant-cut sapphires, topaz and white and black diamonds totaling .535 carats.

  • TAG Heuer: Connected Modular 45 Full Diamond

    The Swiss watch brand debuted its Connected Modular 45 watch in 2017, but for Baselworld 2018 has combined both craft and technology to create the priciest connected watch ever created. The Connected Modular 45 Full Diamond features 589 baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel, lugs and bracelet, totaling 23.35 carats and set in 18-karat white gold. The Connected module, meanwhile, can be changed out for a mechanical module, also included. The price? 190,000 Swiss francs, or almost $200,000 at current rates. Here’s hoping the dollar stays strong.

  • Swarovski: Nostalgia Collection

    Known for its imaginative designer collabs, Atelier Swarovski is the crystal giant’s exploration into fashion-forward, runway-inspired styling. Current designer partnerships for Fall/Winter 2018 include Peter Pilotto, Tabitha Simmons, Anna Dello Russo, and Mary Katrantzou. Among the latest from the London-based Katrantzou is a continuation of her Spring/Summer 2018 Nostalgia collection, which includes a pair of transparent clutches that look tailor-made for the red carpet. Available in September, the clutch seen here features loose faceted crystals in a variety of hues, placed within the gold-toned half-globes that adorn the clutch’s front and its clasp.

  • Dolce & Gabbana: DG7 Gattopardo

    The Italian label is going hard after the watch market, with a wide variety of debuts for 2018. Many styles are flavored with the romance always sought after by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana: This piece is called the DG7 Gattopardo and is inspired by the iconic 1963 Luchino Visconti film – starring Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale – known in English as The Leopard. The DG7 Gattopardo features a black mother-of-pearl dial (it’s also available in pink mother of pearl) in a hand-engraved case of 18-karat pink gold.

  • Messika: 2018 High-Jewelry Collection

    Valerie Messika looked to fairy tales for her 2018 high-jewelry collection, including Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen and The Little Mermaid. For this necklace, Messika was inspired by Scheherazade: 366 diamonds in marquise cuts and pear shapes, totaling 88.8 carats, are set in 18-karat white gold using a knife-edge setting that allows the diamonds to appear suspended alone on the skin. The piece required 950 hours of work in Messika’s Paris-based atelier.