Share on:

Baselworld 2019: our favourite releases this year

Our picks from the brands that have attended the 102-year-old fine-watch fair this year.

At the start of the year, watch journalists were frequently asking among themselves: “Will you be going to Baselworld?” The world’s biggest watch and jewellery fair has been shrinking steadily for a few years now, which means that it has been making less financial sense for exhibitors, journalists and general visitors to make the annual trek to Switzerland. The fair suffered its largest blow last year, when the Swatch Group announced that all its 18 brands – including Omega, Breguet and Blancpain – would be exiting the event.

(RELATED: 7 Timepieces to look out for at Baselworld 2019)

Though the new management team has introduced several changes, including digital initiatives such as an app with augmented-reality features, a bigger press area, and a catwalk for daily fashion shows, there’s still a large question mark looming over the future of the 102-year-old fair. Breitling, for instance, recently confirmed that it would not be back next year. Vitally, however, key Baselworld brands Rolex and Patek Philippe have publicly pledged their support for the fair.

One solution that the organisers are looking at is to synchronise Baselworld with the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), which currently takes place in January. Next year, Baselworld will occur in early May, after the SIHH fair at the end of April. This, in theory, might help to boost attendance, by requiring only one trip to Switzerland to cover the world’s two largest fine-watch fairs. Will this strategy improve Basel’s health? Time will tell. Meanwhile, it’s still the best venue to keep tabs on watch-world happenings. Here’s a round-up of our favourite releases this year.

(RELATED: Why SIHH 2018 was one of the greatest yet for the luxury watch scene)

  • Rolex SeaDweller


    Step By Step

    Staying true to its ethos of slow and steady development, Baselworld stalwart Rolex has made subtle updates to some of its mainstay models. This year, these include the Sea-Dweller, GMT-Master II “Batman” (a nickname that refers to the model’s black and blue bezel) and Yacht-Master.

    As the latest example in a steel-and-gold revival that we have seen many brands experience in recent years, the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller gets the two-tone treatment. The new model comes in yellow Rolesor, which in Rolex-speak means a combination of components made of steel and yellow gold. While it looks fancier than its most recent, steel-only predecessor on the outside, the Sea-Dweller retains its hardy characteristics, such as a 1,220m depth rating. Similarly, it’s also powered by the brand’s energy-efficient calibre 3235.

    Rolex’s fondness for logical progression is also evident in the latest version of the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II with a black and blue ceramic bezel insert. This 40mm steel timepiece is now fitted with the five-link Jubilee bracelet instead of the three-link Oyster bracelet, following a similar change to the steel “Pepsi” – with red-and-blue bezel – GMT-Master II last year.

(RELATED: Best of Baselworld 2019: Luxury watches from Rolex, Tag Heuer, Bulgari, and Zenith)