Vintage Styling Old Timers at Baselworld 2010
Vintage-designed watches combine heritage styling with the beat of a modern movement. Baselworld 2010 had plenty of new retro releases to boast.
Several brands introduced vintage-style pieces at Baselworld this year as part of a strategy to emphasize their heritage in an economic climate that has consumers reprioritizing reasons to buy luxury products. Models are culled from brand archives or introduced as new lines with a vintage look, which is not so much about the era as the styling: domed crystals and dials, gorgeously elongated lugs with rounded or beveled finishing, minimalist dials and, in some cases, distressed finishes on the case or strap. What is not necessarily vintage in style are the movements: these watches tick to the tune of modern, technologically advanced calibers.
Blancpain introduced two retro-styled models at Baselworld: a 1960s-style Fifty Fathoms, the brand's quintessential diver's watch, and a new platinum model in its classic Villeret collection housed in a trademark double-stepped case framing a dial with Roman numerals, an understated power reserve indicator, and a date window. Both are powered by Blancpain's modern in-house manually wound Caliber 13R0 with three spring barrels and a titanium free-sprung balance.
In the last century
Bell & Ross presented the BR01 Heritage, an homage to the brand's military-inspired roots. Concord added a vintage look to its recent line: the C1 Vintage boasts a trowalized or barrel finish, which simulates a worn look on the blue PVD case. Its leather strap has been deliberately worked to simulate a similar feel. Celebrating 150 years of the brand and 40 years of its most famous chronograph, TAG Heuer introduced a limited-edition Monaco, the watch made famous by Steve McQueen in the film Le Mans and noted as housing the first automatic chronograph movement with micro rotor. Tissot's Visodate 1957 marks the brand's grand introduction of that era: the integration of a date display into the automatic mechanism. Finally, Rolex sister brand Tudor presented the Heritage Chrono, inspired by the Tudor Oysterdate chronograph of the early 1970s.
The vintage trend was also manifested in a return to simple three-hand models with centered hours and minutes and small-seconds subdials. Revue Thommen introduced a model that pays tribute to its mythical Square watch, originally introduced in 1953. Chronoswiss launched the classic new Sirius line, whose three-handed model is powered by Caliber C.111—Chronoswiss's hand-wound manufacture movement based on the historical 1950s Enicar caliber now exclusive to the Munich-based brand. The retro-styled Atlantic Worldmaster 1888 pays tribute to the brand's founding date. And something for the ladies was also in evidence at Baselworld 2010: Frederique Constant presented pure style in the shape of the Maxime Manufacture Lady, an elegant interpretation of the classic three-hand powered by automatic Caliber FC-700.