Frank Geelen’s Baselworld 2017 Top 10 and Musing about the Fair

By rolex
April 7, 2021
16 min read

Back in 2008 the world confronted another test. The overall monetary emergency started with the breakdown of Lehman Brothers. The next year the watch business was somewhat apprehensive and saw a little drop in deals. And keeping in mind that the monetary emergency went on, on a worldwide scale (we’re as yet recovering from that), the enormous emergency in the watch business didn’t really come through… yet. A year ago was the primary year that brands and extravagance bunches distributed numbers that gave genuine indications of the emergency, and this year’s numbers are in reality more than troubling. This year the emergency could likewise be felt in the oddities as presented by the brands, during the SIHH in January, yet additionally at the 100th edition of the Baselworld Watch & Jewelry show that has recently come to an end. All things considered, it was conceivable to list ten watches that got me left! Anyway first a few thoughts about this year’s edition of Baselworld…

More of the equivalent, yet better proportioned

In previous years we saw more complicated, more hand-made and hand-completed watches. This year the brands basically showed reworked assortments, some ‘minimal’ changes to accumulations, and ‘small’ curiosities. That’s fundamentally something terrible, and it may even tidy up brand’s inventories (with often such a large number of assortments). Since a couple of years we already see that brands have reworked existing assortments to somewhat more exquisite and wearable extents. The Rolex DateJust II has been altered to become the DateJust 41, comparable for the DayDate II, and the (presently out-staged) Sea-Dweller ref. 116600 featured more rich carries and case shapes than for example it’s sister the Submariner (that actually features the burly drags). This year Oris does precisely the same with the famous Aquis collection.

The general agreement among group Monochrome was that the offering at this year’s Baselworld was rather… dare I say it… exhausting. Anyway there were unquestionably a few watches that stood apart from the group! Before I proceed onward to my top 10, I’d like to share a few oddities that might have made it to my top 10, and contact upon certain topics that positively got my attention.

Personally I was no devotee of the massive DateJust II and seeing the new DateJust 41 resembles a breathe of fresh air compared to its predecessor. Rolex appears to have done everything directly on the new DJ41 and it’s generally excellent to at long last see the treated steel models, including that exquisite celebration wristband, being presented. Possibly not top 10 material, yet absolutely something that will A) be useful for Rolex’ turnover of this (and coming) a long time and B) resonate very well with Rolex fans who have been requesting this, for some years.

Stainless steel rather than gold

Similar for the Sky-Dweller. I love it, the yearly schedule and second timezone complications are great, thus top notch. What’s more, presently at long last accessible in steel/gold and hardened steel with white gold fluted bezel, and the beginning cost of € 13.250 Euro is only amazing for the most complicated Rolex in the entire assortment. Anyway it is likewise breaking with the way that Rolex has managed precious metal and the DayDate previously. The Sky-Dweller could be regarded as the encapsulation of Rolex complicated watches, and in the past that promptly implied it could never become accessible in impeccable steel… and now it is accessible in hardened steel. Unusual? Without a doubt! Anyway additionally welcome, and like the 41mm treated steel Datejust, it will be awesome for Rolex’s yearly deals figures.

Retro-motivation: sudden pleasure or troubling sign?

For the previous years we have seen many watch brands present retro-inspired models, or even assortments. Anyway when Patek Philippe dispatched the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time ref. 5524 approximately 2 years prior, I was confounded. Patek didn’t play on the “vintage” feelings. Furthermore, presently they did. This year they do it again with a Calatrava Perpetual Calendar (that is totally flawless), and with the ref. 5960 Annual Calendar Chronograph that presently comes with a matte dull blue dial, like the dial of the aforementioned ref. 5524.

Another second that my jaw nearly hit the floor, was the point at which I saw the new Rolex SeaDweller that praises its 50th commemoration this year. Don’t misunderstand me, I love it, anyway I’ve never seen Rolex come with a retro-inspired model, or even for certain little retro-inspired plan features. Inconceivable (however it looks totally cool).

Seiko already utilized the retro-motivation since a couple of years. Re-editions of the Grand Seiko 44GS, the Spring Drive adaptation of the Golden Tuna (ref. SBDB008), the Marine Master 1000m Emperor Tuna Rose Gold (ref. SBDX014) and the retro-inspired “Turtle” are collector’s top picks. This year the Japanese watch brand comes with more vintage-inspired watches, and the message that Grand Seiko will, as of now, sail along as a different brand!

Now for what reason could this be troubling? I’m not stressed over both of the three referenced brands, anyway seeing Rolex present certain models in steel rather than precious metals is strange. What’s more, their first model with a retro-inspired red composition on the dial (we could expect something to that effect from sister brand Tudor, however from Rolex themselves…?)  is unquestionably strange, most definitely. Anyway it looks great.

Similarly for Patek Philippe. Another brand that didn’t play on the retro-motivation, and just presented carefully exemplary plan, and was in every case effective doing as such. Since the ref. 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time that ‘code’ has been broken, and this year the Geneva-based brand adds a couple of models to the vintage-imbued models, with the Calatrava Perpetual Calendar and the white gold edition of the ref. 5960 . Again sort of odd to see this, anyway the watches likewise look excellent, particularly that dazzling Calatrava QP.

OK… enough talk, presently on to my top 10. The watches are in sequential request, just saying…


Baselworld 2017 Top 10

Bulgari Octo Finnissimo Automatic

Talk of the town during Baselworld was not a Rolex, but rather the Bulgari Octo Finnissimo Automatic. What a watch! First off, it separates itself with more than simply great looks. The enormous (40x40mm) sandblasted titanium case that is extremely dainty (5.15mm) wears too comfortable, yet has a critical wrist presence. The dial consummately coordinates the matte completion of the case, and is additionally in dim, with dark painted hour markers (Arabic numerals at 6 and 12) and a little second hand somewhere in the range of 7 and 8 o’clock.

Personally I’m especially enchanted by the entirety of the abovementioned, and the world’s most slender self-winding development that ticks inside. The development, calibre BLV138, that is just 2.23 mm thick and no under 36.00 mm in distance across, is another world-record. Albeit a specific Geneva-based (Piaget) brand has the name for super meager developments and watches, Bulgari is smashing one record after another over the most recent couple of years. In recent years the Italian brand presented the world’s most slender tourbillon development (1.95mm, while the entire watch is 5.00mm thick) and most slender moment repeater (6.85mm for the entire watch, while the in-house development, BVL Caliber 362, is only 3.12mm thick).

Bulgari is setting the new benchmark for ultra slim, and in any event, for ultra slender complications. The plan is something that the Italians have consistently been acceptable at, and everything adds up to a brilliantly interesting assortment. Watch out for them!

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Professional 600m Divers

As of Baselworld 2017 the Grand Seiko brand will continue as a free brand close to Seiko. That’s what Shinji Hattori, Chairman and CEO of the Seiko Watch Corporation, and direct relative  of  Seiko author Kintaro Hattori, reported during the press conference. That’s large news, and something that essentially we in the “West” presumably see better compared to for some abnormal blend of Seiko, Grand Seiko, and Credor, under the equivalent flag.

With this declaration additionally came a legitimate oddity, in particular the absolute first Automatic jumper watch from Grand Seiko! Also, kid, it is pleasant! The clous de Paris dial in dim blue, the huge, yet extremely light titanium case and arm band, the fired bezel… everything works. This is a plunge watch that is ready for genuine activity at hundreds of meters underneath ocean level, and similarly glances great in any easygoing setting ashore. With its measurement it probably won’t be the most ideal decision for wearing with suit & tie, anyway I can’t think about whatever other event that it would not glance great (in addition to it wears truly comfortable on the grounds that the case and arm band are in titanium, and in this manner very light.)

Omega Railmaster Master Chronometer

Somehow we anticipated the Omega Trilogy and we as a whole adored it. The one that I didn’t expect, and really like far superior to any of the set of three pieces, is the new Omega Railmaster. Its size is just about appropriate for a great every day blender as are its looks. This new vintage-inspired Omega comes in two variants, one with a dim dark dial, and one with a silver/metal dial. The dials are made in treated steel, gotten done with a vertical brushing. This is very irregular as dials are generally made in metal, or silver for watches in the higher portion (over €10k).

With a legitimate history the Railmaster actually keeps on being hostile to attractive, dislike its predecessor by methods for a soft-iron internal case, but since of Omega’s Master Chronometer development with heavenly a-attractive properties. The watch can be worn on a steel wristband, or on a texture lash, and either combination is estimated well underneath € 5.000 Euro. Snap here for our first involved article with the new Omega Railmaster Master Chronometer.

Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition

This year Oris re-planned the well known Aquis assortment and I figure they worked really hard on that. Obviously there were more new models, anyway one by one way or another enchanted me from the second I saw it: the restricted edition Big Crown 1917. From the outset you may ask why, and what is so exceptional about it. he unseen details are the main problem as it’s been said, and for this situation it’s in the little pin that is found simply over the larger than average crown.

However let me return into history first. In the mid 1900’s there were simply not that numerous wrist watches, and often pocket watches were worn on the wrist (and pilots often on wore a major pocket watch tied to their leg). Presently the thing with these old pockets watches is that they often had a little pin close to the crown. That pin filled a need, in particular to change the time. The crown couldn’t be pulled, and just turned. At the point when the pin was not pushed in, turning the crown implied that the development was being wound. Anyway when the little pin was being pushed, and simultaneously the crown was turned, the hands could be set to the correct time.

Oris re-created such a pin-switch development, or truth be told re-created an advanced watch with a crown that can’t be pulled, and a pin that capacities precisely like on the old pocket watches. Is that cool for sure. See here for the full article about the Oris Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition , and soon we’ll do a full active article.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Perpetual Calendar ref. 5320

I already addressed the somewhat irregular plan of the new Patek Calatrava QP, anyway what I didn’t say is that this watch shocked my. Also, that was not because of the creme-colored dial, or the applied Arabic numerals that are reminiscent of the aforementioned Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. No… it was the carries and the case!

The drags are supposed ventured hauls, and you could discover ventured carries on watches from the 1920’s and 1930’s, even on some up until the 1950’s. I have not seen many ventured hauls on later models. Hand-completing these ventured drags is a significant test, as everything is finished by hand, and each edge is sharp! Not well honed obviously (that would be somewhat risky) anyway to get each line so straight and sharp requires a specialist with numerous long stretches of involvement to do the wrapping up. Also, that’s simply the case! The rest is ‘just’ a completely rich Patek Philippe with a never-ending calendar.

Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator

The chronograph re-concocted! That’s an intense assertion, and it’s not from Porsche Design, but rather from me. The new Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator 24h-Chronotimer, as it is officially purified through water, is (by a long shot) the most effortless chronograph being used. So one could say the chronograph re-designed. That’s in light of the fact that you simply need to ‘slap’ the side of the case to begin, stop or reset the chronograph. Alright, I may misrepresent a piece, anyway the chronograph is really a lot simpler to incite than whatever other chronograph that I’ve had on my wrist.

It is likewise a direct result of the open utilization of rockers that can be found in the driving force of the Porsche 911 RSR. The utilization of these rockers, and an exceptionally cunning case-band, make impelling the chronograph so natural. Other than the unrivaled usefulness and ease of use, the looks are additionally great. The dial is extremely spotless, and therefore entirely clear. Moreover, the plan comes from the Porsche Design Titanium Chronograph that the brand dispatched along with IWC back in 1980. Perhaps the Monobloc Actautor is a sudden one in my top 10, however this watch really does it for me. The set of experiences, the usefulness, and the developments. That’s what makes a great instrument watch. Read more about the Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer here , or hang tight for the full specialized clarification that will come inside a couple weeks.

Rolex Daytona on Oysterflex

I’m likely one of only a handful few individuals on the substance of our planet who doesn’t really extravagant a Daytona. The screw down pushers, the cleaned focus connections of the wristband, the absence of the date… It’s most likely a gathering of these things that make me sort of indifferent towards the Daytona. That is, until this year’s Baselworld, when I sat in one of the rooms at the Rolex stand (or rather working), to see their most recent curiosities. Three new Daytona models on what is most likely the best elastic tie in the business, the Oysterflex, and I just experienced passionate feelings for. This is the manner by which I like to see the Daytona, and I like it a LOT.

Especially the yellow gold edition, anyway additionally the white gold edition looks totally fab! The looks are pretty much indistinguishable from what we predicted for the white gold edition , and I was unable to have envisioned that it would look so great on the wrist. It’s the blend of a wonderfully completed and very much formed case, an up-to-date chronograph dial, and the general nature of Rolex, that get the job done. Snap here for our initial introductions in the wake of seeing the new Daytona models . A broad active will follow soon!

Rolex Sea-Dweller

Usually I’m just for more modest watches. Presently Rolex changes old fashioned 40mm Sea-Dweller and augments the case to 43mm, and puts one line of red content on the dial. What’s more, I simply love it. The equivalent and the red text style is not what I expected, and didn’t hope to like it. Anyway once on the wrist, the 43mm looks awesome, on the grounds that by one way or another the thicker case appears to be better proportioned with the bigger diameter.

That one line of red content on the dial adds a vintage style, and really looks great. The solitary factor that I addressed was the date amplification cyclops nonetheless (once more), once on the wrist, I really didn’t notice it anymore. The date was plainly obvious, anyway the presence of the cyclops was not really recognizable. Out and out I really like the new Sea-Dweller, and it nearly feels as though it at long last rose to its maximum capacity, and correct size. A very much measured unrivaled jump watch.

Seiko Presage Enamel Automatic Chronograph SRQ023

Last year Seiko presented the Presage assortment as a reasonable line of mechanical watches. The offering was already very assorted and included two restricted edition chronographs (mouthwateringly delightful, and breathtakingly valued), and a large group of lovely exemplary styled watches with a programmed movement.

This year the Japanese watch brand adds four new models with a polish dial, and every one of the four models come at costs between € 1.100 euro for the cycle three-hander, to € 2.650 for the chronograph. The last is perhaps the best offering I’ve seen during this year’s Baselworld edition and it A) looks great, B) is valued more than great, C) features a finish dial and D) comes with a pleasant in-house development with vertical grasp and segment wheel activation of the chronograph capacities. Who can beat that? Nobody! Very much done, credit to Seiko. This is a shared benefit as I would like to think, as it opens up “in-house chronograph” and “enamel dial” market for individuals with a financial plan beneath € 3.000 Euro.

Tudor Black Bay Steel/Gold

And out of nowhere it turned out to be difficult to pick just ten watches from Baselworld 2017. In the event that you consider my assertion about the reasonable being somewhat ‘boring’ this becomes sort of something odd. Anyway the steel/gold form of the Tudor Black Bay may be commendable for this year’s Baselworld as a rule. It’s the same old thing, it likewise isn’t world-stunning, or #BREAKING news… yet it is an extremely pleasant watch, one that I couldn’t want anything more than to wear consistently (and trust me, my wrists are spoiled!)

The new Tudor Black Bay Steel/Gold simply looks magnificent, and like every one of its kin it additionally wears great. The Black Bay is positively one of group Monochrome’s top picks, as both Brice and Robin (and I) got one and wear it a ton. The expansion of the in-house development, the date (at last, what kept ’em so long?) and the steel/gold execution make this into the ideal day by day mixer. When in the office, on the sea shore, close to the pool, or in the exercise center. It’s great in pretty much every occasion.