The best place to tell time, which means checking out the latest in watches, is Basel in Switzerland, where each year, the annual Baselworld expo, the biggest and most prestigious in the horological world, showcases the latest in wristwear and technology, as well as indicates trends and emerging fashions. Baselworld 2014 has just ended and given us some idea of what to expect by way of technology and related trends. Smartphones, tablets, iPads and wearable gadgets may have made us less dependent on wristwatches to check what time it is, but that does not mean that watches are going out of fashion. Indeed, unlike clothes, watch trends do not appear and disappear over a season. Baselworld 2014 did, however, offer some clues on the types of timepieces that will be fashionable over the coming months.
One of the most discernible trends was the retro look, a throwback to watches we wore in the swinging sixties. Omega, a recognised trend-setter, displayed its new Speedmaster Mark II, a sportier version of the one originally introduced in 1969, with trendy orange accents. Its close rival, Rolex, went for class with a classic dress watch, the redesigned Cellini now featuring a Date and Dual Time. Rolex also covered a broader base with Tudor, the company’s more affordable subsidiary, bringing out the Heritage Ranger based on a design from the sixties. There was also Ulysse Nardin’s new Black Sea with flashes of green on the numerals and hands. The real retro look was won by TAG Heuer, which has come out with the asymmetrically-cased Carrera Calibre 1887 Jack Heuer Edition, designed and named to honour its founder.
Apart from throwbacks, easily the biggest trend at Baselworld 2014 was chronographs. Every watchmaker produces chronographs, but this year, they ruled the show. Breitling is one of the greatest chronograph-makers, and its new Calibre B06, made for Bentley, comes with a novel 30-second chronograph—the central seconds hand makes a full round of the dial in 30 seconds. TAG Heuer and Rolex were both big on chronographs at this year’s fair, but even designer watches were going with the trend. British luxury brand Burberry unveiled its first mechanical chronograph, using material the brand pioneered—Trench Gold, crafted to evoke the colour of Burberry’s famous trench coat design. This is a collector’s item since only 50 timepieces will be made. Hermes brought out the Dressage Manufacture Chronograph, while Lacroix’s Pontos Chronographe was