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Baselworld - The best men’s watches

Baselworld The best men’s watches

It’s a subjective, emotional, possibly emotive and probably biased selection, but that’s what makes it interesting. WorldTempus takes a shot at making a selection of the men’s watches unveiled at Baselworld.

The darkest: Monsieur de Chanel – Black Edition

The best men's watches

Monsieur de Chanel - Black Edition © Chanel

The Monsieur exploded onto the scene in 2016, the first salvo from a company proclaiming its watchmaking ambitions loud and clear. Chanel’s first manufacture creation for men was all about simplicity. One name: Monsieur. One movement: the Calibre 1. No marketing narrative, no ambassador, no tinsel or sequins: the Monsieur de Chanel speaks for itself. The Black Edition (55 pieces) unveiled by Chanel at Baselworld confirms the trajectory and relevance of a superbly designed timepiece. It’s not trying to reinvent watchmaking, but it does showcase the signature Chanel creativity, codes and power, and proves once again with this Black Edition that its design is flawless. Black is back!

Most remarkable: Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon

The best men's watches

Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon Skeleton © Cyrus

We discovered this rather baffling complication for the first time last year. The vertical tourbillon is a very unusual, atypical and polarising construction. The brilliant Jean-François Mojon, never short of ideas, persuaded Cyrus to let him have a go at it. The first version – with dial – was a home run. The second iteration – skeletonised – knocks it out of the park. Unveiled at Baselworld, it imposes a radically new perspective. We’ve never before seen a tourbillon from this angle. The new Klepcys manages to create the impression that you’re seeing this escapement for the first time, even if you’ve seen it thousands of times before. It’s as bold as it is stunning. 

The most sought-after: Grand Seiko “Dress” Spring Drive

The best men's watches

© Grand Seiko

This is the watch everyone tried, and many failed, to catch a glimpse of. For its 20th anniversary, Spring Drive technology is returning to Grand Seiko, in a limited edition model made of hammered platinum. The handcrafted finish, applied to both the case and dial, reproduces the moiré texture of snow. With an 84-hour power reserve, accurate to within +/-1 second per day, this breathtaking Grand Seiko is produced in a limited edition of just 30, and is priced at around the CHF 80,000 mark. Despite this unusually high price point for the manufacture, it captivated retailers and visitors alike. It would be quite a privilege even to see one...

The most optimised: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Ceramic

The best men's watches

Octo Finissimo Automatic Ceramic © Bulgari

With steel, then titanium, we thought the Octo Finissimo had achieved the ultimate in comfort and styling. But we didn’t factor in the advent of ceramic. The manufacture unveiled the simple three-handed model in its dark livery, against which the indices stand out with remarkable clarity. Finish, dimension and emotion are all present in spades. The extra-thin aesthetic continues to astonish and surprise, as a result of Bulgari’s assured treatment and determination to shake it out of its old-fashioned niche. Perfection may be unattainable but the Octo Finissimo comes close. Very, very close.

Most faithful: Breitling Navitimer 806 “1959 Re-Edition”

The best men's watches

Navitimer 806 © Breitling

Our description of this re-issue will be brief: it’s exactly the same as the 1959 original! Very few watchmakers choose to reissue one of their old models with no changes whatsoever. This re-edition marks the 60th anniversary of a watch that was unusual in its time for its full black livery (dial and registers), a rare approach in an era when the contrasting panda layout was ubiquitous. At 12 o’clock we find the famous logo of the AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Even the manufacture B01 calibre has been reworked to make it hand-wound, as it was in the original. It’s an approach that, while it clearly cannot be classed as creative, is nevertheless original, and will no doubt appeal to collectors. 

Most useful: Patek Philippe Calatrava Weekly Calendar Ref. 5212A

The best men's watches

Calatrava Weekly Calendar Ref. 5212A © Patek Philippe

Weekly calendar complications are very rare in the watch world. That we should see one from a manufacture whose timepieces are already rare therefore constitutes a double invitation to take a closer look at this new Calatrava. As always with Patek Philippe, the styling is dictated by elegance and legibility. Weekly calendars are not common, but this creation could help to put them in the contemporary spotlight, despite the somewhat vintage styling of the cream-coloured dial and hand-lettered inscriptions.

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