Baselworld 2017: The First Couple Days

We'll write more about Baselworld 2017 and the new watches being introduced. But for now, here is a small preview as many brands have given "sneak peeks" in various forms.

Tudor was quick introducing a Black Bay Chrono and a Black Bay Steel Date. While the Chrono was a miss, the Date and the movement inside is not.

The Chrono is literally a mess. It looks like a good design idea was thought up and instead of properly developing that idea, they rushed it. It actually looks like the "good design idea" was to look back at the Rolex 6238 and go from there. But the Tudor Snowflake in the hour hand covers a big chunk of the subdials as it rotates around. This means at roughly 3 o'clock-ish and at 9 o'clock-ish, using the Chrono function will be hard to read.

Something else that's bothering me is all that text on the dial. Of course, Rolex is famous for this. They once created beautiful dials with a less-is-more approach to the text, but now it's more like an encyclopedia approach. But, in this case, it's the red text indicating the depth rating.

Every watch these days has some kind of water resistance, but it's the dive watches that really need to have it printed on their dials, not Chronos. Yet, this watch is being pushed as a Chrono. So it's confusing. I'm thinking Chrono and then Dive watch, but I see Chrono more, so no, they should have left that out.

Switching to their Black Bay Date, it is a whole lot better. Not being a Chrono means no subdials, which really cleans up the dial and removes any issues of the snowflake interfering with legibility. In fact, maybe the process was Rolex 6238 >> Black Bay Date >> Black Bay Chrono and that is why the Chrono is most unfinished and the one that feels rushed.

Where Tudor really nailed it, though, is with the movement inside. The movement for Chrono, which has an integrated column wheel, will set you back less than $5k. That's amazing and the way they achieved this was by collaborating with Breitling. Together they're pooling their resources and swapping movements. They make their own modifications in decorating, regulating, etc., and the result are movements that are more or less "in-house", very very good and affordable.

My favorite release so far has to be the Omega Speedmaster of their new Trilogy watches. In 1957 Omega released the Speedmaster, a Seamaster and the Railmaster. All three had the broad arrow hands and became icons.

Of the three, only the Speedmaster interests me. Not only is the case, fonts, logo, and dimensions exactly like the original, it is also the only one of the three that has the correct movement. The other two have moved on movement-wise and no longer have proper Omega movements (I don't buy the 'exclusively made for' argument Swatch keeps pushing). 

Of course the Speedmaster doesn't have the c.321, it has the c.861, which was the evolution from column wheel to cam shaft, but it's still the same Lemania-based caliber. In other words, it's a standard evolutionary process and just like the c.321 was NASA certified, so too is the c.861 (now called the c.1861).

Seiko is the other brand that I think we will discover delivered some of the best watches of the show. They've introduced a modern 62MAS as well as new watches in their Presage line, their cult-fav Cocktail line, and announced that Grand Seiko will be it's own independent brand. That's actually something I think is motivated by a desire to elevate their reputation in the West, and eventually charge accordingly (unfortunately, as I dont want to see their prices go up).

We'll be back with more as the week progresses, but thats a small sneak peak for now.