Watches: The Trends and Must-Haves, A Look at Novelty for the Coming Season

There are two main trends that distinguish the current international panorama of the watch industry today: a return to the great classics of the past, accompanied by a creative and mechanical offering in keeping with the times, and the celebration and appreciation of mêtiers d’art, with a sanctification of the most sophisticated techniques, both mechanically and functionally. An artistic passion with the finesse of decorative workmanship. The most important showcase for discovering the latest novelties and creations is without question Basel World, which for industry insiders and passionate watch and jewellers enthusiasts alike is an event not to be missed. It is an exhibition always rich in novelty, and sought-after originals, yet suitable for any style and wrist. Begun in 1917, this year the event reached its first centenary. The recent edition was characterized by strong brand positioning, especially for historic brands, aware that the new structure of international economics requires effort and innovation to satisfy an increasingly demanding clientele on the quest for the novelty.

Among the first big trend- with an homage to the classics- the absolute protagonist is Tag Heuer, which presented alongside a range of novelties a re-edition of the Autavia watch. The return of this iconic model is the result of an innovative participatory event, the Autavia Cup, organized in the Spring of 2016 aimed at dialoguing with the community of enthusiasts and brand collectors, consulting with connoisseurs and offering them the choice of which historical model should inspired the new Autavia. Thus, a timepiece with a retro look, revisited with touches of modernity: raised buttons, knurled crown, Tag Heuer logo and the strap in aged calfskin, keeping that vintage feel. It has a contemporary-style with the addition of a datary window and sapphire backing and the luminescent coating is beige, matching the stitches on the strap.

Gucci, in the height of its creative renaissance, presented an astonishing series of watches this year that reflect Alessandro Michele’s extravagance and creativity. The new modifications of the G-Timeless mark an interesting return to the iconic shapes of the past. For men, two original timepieces with automatic movement and GMT function (40 mm): the brand’s unmistakable snake symbol is the GMT hand, pointing to the second time zone, while iconic bee, star and heart motifs orbit around the dial as pointers. The movement and engraving of the Gucci bee on the oscillating weight can be seen through the transparent backing.

For Bulgari, mêtiers d’art is a strong theme celebrated with the launch of Octo Finissimo Tourbillon in the Squelette version, the world’s thinnest tourbillon. The new Squelette features an ultra-slim tourbillon with 253 fully visible components, including 13 rubies and eight ball bearings, which help to reduce the overall thickness of the timepiece. It operates at a rate of 21,600 vph (vibrations per hour) with 62 hours of reserve charge. Decorating this timepiece justly, the new Octo case (40mm) is platinum (waterproof up to 30 metres) and the strap is in black alligator hide with a pronged buckle.

Jaquet Dros, on the other hand, presents Loving Butterfly Automaton, a masterpiece of elegance and savoir faire, precisely because this watch combines the complexity of the mechanical movement with the beauty of the miniature horseman and butterfly that animate the movement of time. Offered in an extremely limited run of only 28 pieces, the pink gold case and the 43mm dial make this timepiece bold, yet intriguing.

In this panorama of interesting novelties, also notable is Swarovski who at this year’s exhibition extends its collection of women’s Crystalline timepieces, now including models of Crystalline Hours in red, black and two white versions. The dial contains nearly 2000 crystals, confirming once again the brand’s ability to build and wisely evolve the concept of the faceted crystal cut. The brand is also taking a leading position in the world of watchmaking, which grew by more than 30% in 2016. As Robert Buchbauer, CEO of Swarovski Consumer Goods Business says, launching new products at Basel World enables the brand to become more established in this area and to pave the way for further novelty in upcoming editions, like the forthcoming announcement of the launch of its first timepieces for men.

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