2017 may be a relatively slow year for the watch industry, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some excellent new watches collectors should be eager to get their hands on. Baselworld 2017 was marked by sensibility and refinement.
In times like these the best brands spent extra time focusing on what consumers actually want. In other words, making watch people want to buy, and making existing watches even better. Let’s look as some of the best that 2017 had to offer from the world’s biggest watch and jewelry show.
Rolex Sky-Dweller Rolesor
The introduction of the Rolex Sky-Dweller a few years ago was important not only because Rolex developed a new complicated movement, but also a brand new wristwatch family. In a large 42mm case with both GMT and annual calendar complications, the Sky-Dweller is very compelling product. However the Sky-Dweller was exclusively available in 18k gold, accompanied by a steep price tag, until Baselworld 2017. Now the Sky-Dweller is available in Rolesor, a two-tone, steel and 18k gold combination that affords it a much lower price. Combine that with a redesigned dial that gives the watch a look akin to a slightly larger version of the classic Datejust 41, and you know why the new Sky-Dweller is worth paying attention to.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6006G
With a bold, high contrast white on black dial that mixes classic elegance with the sportiness of a purposeful dial, the new Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 6006G is the epitome of casual refinement. A 39mm, 18k white gold case houses the famed caliber 240 automatic that’s found in many of the brand’s watch. But this Calatrava is powered by a more unusual version of the movement, featuring an unusual off-centered subsidiary seconds and pointer-style date. The eccentric dial design is rare treat for those who like a bit of attention while wearing a Patek Philippe.
Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 Years Tourbillon Chronograph
Hublot’s relationship with Ferrari as its official watchmaker began in 2012 and has been extremely fruitful for both marques. Yet 2017 is the first time we’ve seen a collaborative timepiece actually designed by Ferrari itself, led by the carmaker’s chief of design, Flavio Manzoni. The Techframe has a radical, skeletonised case inspired by the bodies of Ferrari automobiles, containing within a hand-wound, five-day power reserve movement with a tourbillon and monopusher chronograph. Created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Ferrari, the Techframe is also a seriously interesting collector’s watch with a story that will endure into the future.
Omega 1957 Trilogy Speedmaster Limited Edition
2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster, originally launched in 1957. That year also saw the debut of the Railmaster as well as Seamaster, making it a triple anniversary. So it’s not surprise each of these landmark models has been reissued in a commemorative limited edition.
The 1957 Trilogy Speedmaster is an almost identical remake of the original, complete with a 38.6mm steel case, distinctive “Broad Arrow” style hands, as well as parchment Super-Luminova on the dial. The all-steel case also has a brushed steel tachymeter bezel, which further marks it as distinct from the typical Speedmaster with a black bezel. Inside is the robust, manually wound Omega caliber 1861, the same movement found in the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. Available in a set of all three commemorative watches or singly, the Omega 1957 Trilogy Speedmaster is a limited edition of 3,557 pieces.
Zenith El Primero 36,000 38mm Open Dial
While modestly size for some men’s tastes, the famed El Primero “high beat” 36,000 bph 5Hz automatic chronograph movement looks the most proportionate when matched to a case that is 38mm wide. 2017 is of course not the first time that Zenith has done this, but this year it has offered an “open dial” skeletonized version of the El Primero 38mm in a steel case with a beautiful view of the movement in a face design that is still imminently legible. This is the perfect watch for someone who wants a high-performance and classic mechanical automatic chronograph movement, as well as the modern appeal of being able to view the mechanical mechanism beneath with utter clarity.
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Ariel Adams – United States
Ariel Adams started writing about watches in 2007, almost immediately after finishing law school. Since then he’s never looked back – combining his business skills with an enduring passion for timepieces and all things “well-made”. In addition to running the world’s highest-traffic online watch magazine, Adams also wrote a book, The World’s Most Expensive Watches, and also lends his voice to leading watch and thought publications around the world.