With Baselworld behind us for this year, it’s time to take a look at some of our favourite releases. I always enjoy the pre-exhibition buzz and speculation and for some of us watch collectors, our wishlists came through.
The highlight for me was the Rolex GMT Master II re-vamp. Ever since they released the BLNR “Batman” fingers have been crossed in the watch world for a steel Pepsi GMT and this year, we haven’t been disappointed.
Rolex released a trio of new GMT Master IIs. The steel Pepsi 126710BLRO on a jubilee bracelet, a two tone steel and Everose model (126711CHNR), dare we say Root Beer? And my personal winner – the all 18k Everose 126715CHNR.
Both of the Everose variants sport black and brown Cerachrom bezels which look fantastic with the rose gold case colour.
The original 116719BLRO in white gold also received a blue dial update, presumably to separate it further than bracelet alone from the new steel model.
Patek Phillipe added its first chronograph complication to the Aquanaut range with the release of the 5968A.
A stainless steel model at 42mm with some killer accents on the hands and dial and the chance to go full citrus with an orange rubber strap this is going to be a knockout watch. It has a really retro but modern feel and the rubber straps add another level of go anywhere sports watch to the Patek proceedings. While it’s more affordable than the flagship Nautilus, it would be unfair to compare the two. The Nautilus is an icon, but the Aquanaut is fresh and will hopefully continue to bring a modern audience to the brand. The 5968A chrono can lead us all the way to the bank.
Patek also released an update to their Complications Calatrava Pilot Travel Time with the addition of the 5524R, A 42mm rose gold aviation themed piece with dual time zones, day-night aperture indicators and a stunning black to brown sunburst graduated dial to pair with the case.
Tudor knocked it out of the park this year with a couple of very welcome additions to their Black Bay range.
They released the 39mm Black Bay Fifty Eight M79030N, a slimmed and scaled down version of the beefier 41mm Black Bay. It offers the same capabilities with 200m water resistance, snowflake hands, and 70 hour power reserve but in a form better suited to smaller wrists. The 41mm variant is an imposing watch so hopefully the ‘Fifty Eight’ will appeal with its newly perfected proportions.
It’s an ideal size for women who like a statement watch as well so hopefully Tudor is opening the dive watch doors across the board.
Not content with slimming down its flagship diver, Tudor also released dual time zones into the line-up with the Black Bay GMT M79830RB.
Stainless steel, 41mm with a blue and burgundy bezel, snowflake hands and sharing the family dive capabilities with 200m WR. Spot on.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116595RBOW. Everose gold, bezel set with 26 baguette cut sapphires, 56 diamond set shoulders and crown guards and crystalised rose gold sub dials.
May as well be made from unobtanium but this is my favourite Basel 2018 release for sheer “I can, so I will” factor. Plus, the execution of the setting around the bezel is flawless when you consider that each stone needs to follow the rainbow gradient and only natural sapphires are used. Consistency with inconsistent gems = Pure Rolex.
Can’t wait for next year.