WHILE DIFFICULT ECONOMIC CONDITIONS ARE CAUSING TURBULENCE FOR THE WATCH INDUSTRY, BASELWORLD SHOWS THE PACE OF INNOVATION IS AS STRONG AS EVER. SEAN LI AND CHARLENE CO REVIEW SOME OF THE DESIRABLE PIECES UNVEILED IN BASEL
The watches launched at Baselworld show the pace of innovation is as strong as ever, despite slow markets
More brands are adding artistic timepieces to show their capabilities go well beyond developing cutting-edge mechanical movements. Blancpain’s Métiers d’art line has produced a timepiece inspired by Katsushika Hokusai’s famous woodblock print The Great Wave off Kanagawa. It uses silver grey obsidian as the base of the dial, and gold-coated rokusho lacquer for the wave. Jaquet Droz evokes its fascination with nature with the hand-engraved and hand-patinated champleve depiction of a butterfly in flight, while Boucheron carves the likeness of a cypris swan upon a motherof-pearl dial. H Moser harks back to its artistic past with the Perpetual Calendar Heritage, featuring different types of enamel. Ulysse Nardin pays homage to the America’s Cup with the Classico America, the dials painted with enamel cloisonné. At Girard-perregaux, the watchmaker revisits its Chamber of Wonders collection with the Centre of the Universe Sun, a wondrous map that has been rendered in miniature painting and stone marquetry, including aventurine and grey jade. Corum stresses that photography is an art form by its own virtue, and has worked with lensman Dani Olivier to replicate his “abstract and psychedelic nudes” (yes, this was photographed, not painted) on the dial of its Bubble watch.