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Watch this space: Basel calling

As the watch world prepares for the Baselworld trade show, we present a few of the novelties that will be displayed 

I have some wonderful suits in my closet, a lovely car, some refined watches. ~Pierce Brosnan

Baselworld, the world’s largest watch and jewellery trade show, is getting ready to sweep us off our collective feet this week.

Founded in 1917, the fair is one of the most important events for jewellery, gemstones and, of course, timepieces. It is considered by many to be the watch industry's most relevant and influential meeting.

The event attracts more than 1,500 jewellery and watch brands, more than 150,000 visitors and 4,000 media professionals from around the world.

Here is a choice sampling of pre-event novelties to whet your appetite.

I have some wonderful suits in my closet, a lovely car, some refined watches. ~Pierce Brosnan

Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horolum

The intense green colour typically used to light up airport runways has made it to the dial of the BR 03-92 Horolum. The extraordinary night readability is courtesy SuperLuminova C3, which makes the watch an excellent choice for night owls. The design is minimalist Bauhaus-inspired and the dial is made of micro-blasted brass-rhodium and formed by superimposing two metal plates. The grey upper section is cut away around the numerals and indices, revealing the photo-luminescent coating covering the lower plate. The BR 03-92 Horolum is equipped with the BR-CAL.302 mechanical automatic movement. Grey-green calfskin and ultra-resistant black synthetic straps complete the watch.

MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual

The goal was to reinvent the perpetual calendar complication and the starting point, says MB&F, was a blank sheet of paper. The end result is the Legacy Machine Perpetual with a new inhouse movement. MB&F’s approach “turns the traditional perpetual calendar system on its head” by using a mechanical processor instead of the usual grand levier system — the setup utilises a default 28-day month and adds extra days as required. The perpetual calendar mechanism is fitted on top of the main plate, and can be appreciated dial-side. Legibility is further enhanced with skeletonised subdials that appear to float above the complication. The 44mm case — available in red gold, white gold, platinum, along with a titanium edition limited to 50 pieces — is complemented with black, grey or dark brown alligator strap.

Bulgari Octo Tourbillon Sapphire 

First launched in 2012 the 2018 Octo Tourbillon Sapphire conveys the watchmaker’s “philosophy of light” — the transparent caseback and dial allows light to pour in and enhance the beauty of the movement. The 44mm watch is equipped with the Calibre BVL 206 mechanical manual-winding flying tourbillon movement that features 11 DLC-coated bridges adorned with blue bars made of ITR2 — a unique composite material laden with carbon nanotube particles and endowed with metal-like hardness — and SLN, a high-tech luminescent material. Apart from supporting the movement, the bridges double up as hour-markers. The watch is complemented by a rubber-coated or lined black alligator leather strap.

Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet GMT

Blancpain is positioning the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT as the ideal travel companion. The calendar indications are linked to the local time display shown on the principal hands, while the home time is shown with a red-tipped hand. The watch features exclusive under-lug correctors that allow you to set up all the calendar and moon phase indications with a fingertip, instead of a tool. The model is available in two versions — red gold with an opaline dial and applied red gold Roman indexes, and in stainless steel with a white dial and white gold Roman indexes. Both are fitted into 40mm cases, and paired with alligator straps or metal bracelets.

Carl F. Bucherer Manero Peripheral

The Manero Peripheral family of 40.6mm watches has literally grown in size — Carl F. Bucherer has added a 43mm rose gold version. The dial has been painstakingly crafted, while the appliquéd wedge-shaped indices and the minute hand have been lengthened to retain the proportions of the Manero Peripheral range. The 2018 edition is driven by the inhouse CFB A2050 calibre. It includes a bidirectional automatic winding system with a peripheral rotor that delivers 55 hours of power reserve. The watch is colour-coordinated with a light brown alligator leather strap.

Longines Conquest V.H.P.

With a movement that delivers a high degree of precision (about 5s/yr), Longines can certainly claim this timepiece represents “the ultimate step in the quartz precision”. The model — available in 42mm and 44mm — sports an innovative GPD (gear-position detection) system that resets the hands when it detects impact or exposure to a magnetic field. It also includes a perpetual calendar that doesn’t require correcting the date, while the battery lasts an impressive four years. You can choose from steel or black PVD models, with blue, carbon fibre, silver or black dials. A steel blue or black rubber strap completes the experience.

Glashütte Senator Cosmopolite

Describing it as a minimalist world traveller, Glashütte promises that the Senator Cosmopolite, with its sophisticated time zone mechanism, will be at home no matter where you go. The first one premiered in 2015, and the 2018 update presents a more contemporary look and feel. The watch features dark blue Arabic minute numerals and blue appliques that are set off against a matte white lacquered dial. A small second at 6 o’clock and the panorama date at 4 o’clock complement blued central minute and hour hands. The separate home time display at 12 o’clock is combined with a day/night indicator and a power reserve indicator, while a ring offers a selection of 36 world time zones. The 44mm stainless steel case is complemented by a dark blue Louisiana alligator leather strap.

Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Skeleton

Openworked timepieces are an integral part of Maurice Lacroix’s history and watchmaking culture. The Aikon Automatic Skeleton is based on the 2016 Aikon Quartz design, but leans towards a “more masculine, sharper state of mind, one that is also more polarising”. The 45mm case, entirely made of steel, features six arms on its bezel. The timepiece is the first to be equipped with Maurice Lacroix’s ML234 calibre, which is structured by a series of five concentric circles that run diagonally through the entire watch. The watch is also the first with the brand’s Easychange system that lets you swap the bracelet singlehandedly and in mere seconds. The Aikon Automatic Skeleton features an alligator leather strap with black-on-black stitching.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique “Grand Feu” 

This is the first watch in the Grandes Complication collection to feature a grand feu enamel dial. The Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 is housed is a 42mm case that is just 7.45mm thick, making it one of the thinnest automatic tourbillon watches available. And, compared to 2013’s iconic 5377, Breguet has taken a minimalistic approach here by removing the power-reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and opting for a graphic hand-bevelled tourbillon bar topped by a spinel. The watch ticks by on the Calibre 581, which leverages an innovative peripheral motor and delivers an impressive 80 hours of power reserve. It is available in rose gold or platinum, and fitted with a mahogany brown or blue alligator strap.

Breitling Navitimer 8 B01

Breitling explains that the 8 in its new Navitimer 8 collection is a nod to the Huit Aviation Department set up in 1938 to produce cockpit instruments and pilot’s watches. Huit, French for “eight”, referred to the eight-day power reserve offered by the cockpit instruments. The Navitimer 8 B01 resurrects some of the design values of Huit’s onboard clocks, especially with the dials and the bezels. The self-winding watch has a ratchet-wheel chronograph with vertical coupling and a power reserve of more than 70 hours. It is powered by the inhouse Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, and is available in a 43mm stainless steel case with a black or blue dial, or in 18k red gold with a bronze dial, each with the distinctive design elements of contrasting subdials. Bracelet options include stainless steel bracelet and an alligator leather strap.

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Debonair talks to Khaled Elsayed, Khalil Al-Kaddo and Adil Iskander, the team behind Timepiece 360, the region’s first dedicated online marketplace for pre-owned luxury watches