Baselworld, the biggest watch and jewellery fair on the planet is gearing up for change. Next year, all 160,000 square metres of the enormous exhibition centre on the Swiss-French border are due for a revamp as part of a major expansion. The perfect opportunity, then, for each brand to re-work the million-dollar temporary boutique stands that have been their Basel homes for the past six years.
From Rolex’s sweeping Roman-style marble staircase structure to Dior’s mini Avenue Montaigne-style boutique and Breitling’s giant ‘floating’ fish tank installation, the current stands have stood the test of time well enough not to feel too tired in their last year. The message? Baselworld is and always will be one of the slickest shows on earth.
And this year, with such polished ranges on show, we thought that the watches pretty much followed suit. From Omega to Zenith and Patek Philippe, the mood was focused on strengthening or building core lines. Hence, we were presented with some of the sharpest collections in years
Of course, getting it so right is all very well and good but it’s the crazy, ‘not quite sure about that’ pieces that are, in a way, a healthier representation of what makes watchmaking tick. It is, after all, an intensely creative business. To that end, we jostled our way through the crowds to get an up-close look at some of the most decadent dial designs ever – feathers, crystal gold, marble and wood were just some of the inventive materials on show. There were some pretty imaginative technologies being bandied about too. More of which to come. But for now, here’s our round up of 15 of the best in show.