The Top 10 Timepieces From Baselworld 2019

Courtesy of Chopard; Courtesy of Gucci; Courtesy of Rolex
From left: watches from Chopard, Gucci and Rolex

From a sport-focused smartwatch to the latest color trend and maximum takes on bling, here’s a look at the latest status watches to debut in Switzerland.

Switzerland’s annual Baselworld watch and jewelry fair wrapped up Tuesday, with plenty of trends to sate timepiece aficionados through 2019. Among the hundreds of styles arriving in stores and online in the coming months, here are 10 of Basel’s biggest debuts.

Chopard Mille Miglia 2019 Race Edition 

Racing was a major theme among men’s watches, from Jacob & Co.’s Bugatti collaboration to Hublot’s 90th anniversary celebration of Scuderia Ferrari. Chopard offered this handsome timepiece as part of its ongoing partnership as the official timekeeper of Italy’s Mille Miglia classic car race. Limited to 250 pieces, the Mille Miglia 2019 Race Edition features a slate-gray dial in a 44mm case of 18-karat rose gold on a cognac-toned perforated leather strap that is inspired by driving gloves. Functions include 30-minute and 12-hour counters, a tachymeter scale and a date window at 3 o’clock. 

Gucci G-Timeless Automatic 

If you’re a fan of Gucci’s omnipresent bees, the Italian label is offering a new iteration of its G-Timeless automatic watch, which combines the motif with stone dials, including the malachite seen here, another trend of Baselworld 2019. Set in a 38mm case of 18-karat yellow gold, other versions feature black onyx or brown tiger’s eye with matching straps, but the pairing of green malachite embellished with gold bees, a yellow-gold case and printed lizard strap is easily the most memorable. 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36

Already a status piece, the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 has never looked so luxe. For 2019, Rolex is introducing one of its most popular watches with plush new dial treatments, from a brushed deep green that looks particularly rich to pink opal and this summery version in turquoise, set in a 36mm case of 18-karat yellow gold on the brand’s iconic President bracelet. The hour markers and Roman numerals have been embellished with diamonds, while the piece also features the hallmarks of the style, notably the day fully spelled out in an arched window at the 12 o’clock position and the date at 3 o’clock.

Chanel J12 Unique Piece 

As Chanel approaches the 20th anniversary of its J12 timepiece in 2020, the luxury French label has decided to update the iconic ceramic watch with a new in-house automatic movement and refinements like a thinner bezel to open up the dial a bit more and a redesigned typeface that’s more in keeping with Chanel codes. In addition to styles in black or white ceramic, the J12 is also offered in versions fully embellished in diamonds, including this one-of-a-kind “unique piece” crafted of 18-karat white gold and set with 793 baguette-cut diamonds — even that new Swiss movement is set with 52 baguette-cut diamonds. The 38mm three-hand watch also features a power reserve of roughly 70 hours. 

MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT 

When it comes to innovations and ultra-modern styling, women’s watches sometimes take a back seat to men’s pieces in the male-dominated watch industry, but MB&F decided to upend that idea with its first watch for ladies. The Legacy Machine FlyingT is more of a three-dimensional art piece than an everyday watch, and that’s precisely the point, that a women’s watch can be as horologically forward-thinking as anything designed for a man.

The 38.5mm piece features a distinct domed crystal and a dial that’s both offset at the 7 o’clock position and tilted at a 50-degree angle, allowing the wearer to glance at the time discreetly. “FlyingT” stands for tourbillon, which is placed above the movement in the center of the dial, which comes in a choice of black lacquer, diamond pave or the version seen here, with both dial and case fully embellished with baguette-cut diamonds, priced at $315,000. 

Graff Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Watch 

Women’s watches took a more-is-more approach at Baselworld, with luxe new timepieces — many fully embellished in diamonds. Graff, the London-based diamond house, offered this stunner, featuring 211 rare Fancy Vivid yellow diamonds totaling 59.25 carats set in 18-karat yellow gold, the metal color chosen to enhance the hue of the stones. Surrounding a diminutive round case containing a Swiss quartz movement, the perfectly matched yellow diamonds are set in a mosaic-like pattern to both create a lush concentration of color and maximize the ability for stones to catch the light while the piece is being worn.

Oris Clean Ocean Limited Edition 

Ocean conservation was a hot topic among brands producing dive watches, with plastics polluting the sea ranking top of mind. Oris has partnered with Pacific Garbage Screening, a non-profit organization developing ocean platforms designed to filter waste from the water, and is creating awareness via its latest Aquis divers watch, the Clean Ocean Limited Edition. Limited to 2,000 pieces, the 39.5mm stainless-steel watch is water-resistant to 300 meters and features an aqua-blue dial and uni-directional rotating bezel with a blue ceramic insert. The case back, meanwhile, is adorned with a medallion crafted of recycled plastics that have been melted down and sliced, thus ensuring no two watches are exactly alike. 

But the true innovation — for a watch industry that admittedly employs a tremendous amount of plastic in its work — comes courtesy of the watch’s presentation case, which is crafted of environmentally friendly algae with recycled-plastic inlays. With United Nations statistics indicating that eight million tons of plastics are leaked into the ocean each year, the Clean Ocean Limited Edition is an admirable start. 

Patek Philippe Aquanaut "Jumbo" Ref. 5168G 

Khaki green proved to be the trending dial color at Baselworld 2019, with Patek Philippe embracing the hue for both the dial and strap of its sporty Aquanaut “Jumbo” Ref. 5168G. The self-winding watch gets its name from a larger case size — 42.2mm vs. the original 40.8mm — and features an octagonal bezel in polished and satin-finish 18-karat white gold. The metal pairs nicely with the khaki embossed dial, which includes a date window at the 3 o’clock position and matching embossed rubber strap. 

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 "Golf Edition"

Simply put, it’s difficult to imagine a golfer who wouldn’t want this watch. Rather than developing an app to add to its Connected Modular series, TAG Heuer developed a stand-alone watch for those devoted to the sport, a smartwatch with a golf-inspired design and a wealth of features. Booking a date at Pebble Beach or St. Andrews? Those are just two of the 39,000 courses TAG Heuer has programmed into this watch, allowing a player to pull up 2D and 3D course mapping of each hole and read distances while also showing fairways, hazards and roughs. The watch also keeps score for up to four players and records stats that can be transferred to a smartphone app for review later. The 45mm watch is crafted with a sandblasted titanium case so it’s light on the wrist and a black matte-ceramic bezel with holes numbered from 1 to 18 to allow easy toggling from one hole to the next. Two strap choices, black and white, come with the watch, which boasts a battery life of 25 hours. Those interested should contact their preferred watch retailer now; at Baselworld, a TAG exec said this piece is expected to quickly sell out. 

H. Moser & Cie Endeavor Concept Minute Repeater Tourbillon

If you love minute repeaters and the beautiful, clear sound of chimes that not only signal the time but also represent the essence of watchmaking’s intricate craft, H. Moser & Cie is offering a stunning version that celebrates the elegant complication. Instead of hiding the feature beneath the black-lacquer dial, the 43mm Endeavor Concept Minute Repeater Tourbillon, limited to just 10 pieces, puts the hammers and gongs on full display at the 10 o’clock position, while a one-minute tourbillon is placed at 6 o’clock.