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With the end of April fast approaching everyone has been anxiously waiting for the launch of the new watch models from Patek Philippe, Rolex, Tudor, Breitling, and many other luxury watch and jewellery brands, at the first day of the world famous Baselworld fair in Basel, Switzerland.
Scheduled to take place on Thursday 30th April, there would have been huge speculation as to what Patek Philippe and Rolex were discontinuing and obviously the new models that the brands were launching. The Rolex forums would have being buzzing with excitement and speculation, our phone lines and online enquiries would have been inundated with both collectors and watch enthusiasts alike trying to obtain the first of these highly sought after new models.
Unfortunately news broke on February 28th that due to Covid-19, Baselworld 2020 had been cancelled and rescheduled for January 2021, to run back to back with Watches and Wonders in Geneva, which is another watch fair showcasing more prestige brands.
As Commercial Director and buyer I have been attending Baselworld for over thirty years and it saddens me to see the demise of this once world wide renowned great show.
Over the recent years I noticed that the Jewellery halls were getting smaller and smaller, with less and less exhibitors attending. This was probably down to the vast expense that exhibitors were being asked to pay.
Last year which then seemed like the nail in the coffin, the whole of the Swatch group (which owns high quality brands such as Omega and Longines to name but a few) decided to pull out and run their own product launch in Zurich at the same time as the Baselworld fair. As you can imagine this was difficult to fit into our buying schedule. The exclusive launch was by invitation only to retailers, closed to the press and hosted behind closed doors. It felt like going back twenty years to when retailers were the first to know about the new model launches, compared to today with the rise of the internet and everyone knowing before the retailers. So for me the excitement was far greater as we were seeing these new models before anyone else.
After receiving the news of Swatch's decision to go solo we wondered if this was the start of things to come. If Omega can branch out then will other top brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe follow suit. Thankfully we were reassured by these brands that they would not, and Baselworld 2020 would go ahead and continue.
Then the shocking news came this week that the great brands of Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Tudor had decided enough was enough and they would not be attending the Baselworld fair in the future and would be creating their own show in April 2021.
Other brands will surely follow and is this the sad end to Baselworld as we know it? Only time will tell but as one door closes, another very exciting door opens and I am personally looking forward to what should be a fantastic new show and is great news for the industry especially in these very troubled times.
Described as the watch collector’s ‘Disneyland’, each year in the city of Basel, Northwestern Switzerland, watch enthusiasts from around the globe descend to the world's biggest- and not to mention impressive- watch fair.
With the most prominent watch brands, many of which Winsor Bishop are official retailers for, alongside watch buyers, the world's watch press and watch fanatics Baselworld continues year on year to create an exciting buzz for watch collectors, and this year is no exception.
In 2018, the watch world was besotted with the Rolex GMT II, the first Rolex professional model on a Jubilee bracelet. Tudor was not far behind, with their own GMT offering in similar ‘Pepsi-Cola’ styling, whilst Omega celebrated the Seamaster’s 70th anniversary with its classic 1948 edition. Skip ahead to 2019 and day one from the Messe Basel Exhibition centre has kicked off in its usual fashion with a sea of new models unveiled that we are already in admiration of.
This year’s Rolex offerings include a revamp on last year’s ever in demand GMT and whilst at first glance it appears to have changed very little, the new GMT Master II has received a big update from the brand with new calibre 3285 movement as well as coming on the new Jubilee bracelet with Rolex’s Oysterlock clasp. If you were struggling to pick between the ‘Batman’ or the ‘Pepsi’, Rolex’s new offering meets you in the middle of these perfectly.
However, the Rolex which has really grabbed our attention is the new addition to Yachtmaster range. Th new 42mm model, in White Gold features an Oysterflex bracelet also inclusive of the Oysterlock clasp. This feature provides the robustness of a steel strap whilst giving the wearer comfort and flexibility which we think really gives this model its edge. Not only this, but this model is nothing short of technically sound, equipped with Calibre 3235- Rolex’s new generation movement.
Patek Philippe’s 2019 releases total 18 new watch models added to the prestigious watch brand’s range. The watch we have our eye on, is the Aquanaut 5168G with Khaki Green Dial. Sure to be a fan favourite, as well as a hit with our own team of watch specialists, the updated ‘Jumbo’ version of the Aqaunaut comes in at a larger 42.2mm across as well as being made in solid white gold rather than steel resulting in a sports watch with a luxury twist.
Onto Tudor and their update on the Blackbay Bronze with its new dial inspired by divers watches from the 50s and the refreshed strap design pays homage to the brand’s naval heritage. The dial comes in an updated slate-grey colourway with shaded dial and available on a slate grey fabric strap or black nubuck leather strap- both in a 43mm size.
Tag Heuer have had our talking as they experiment away from their motorsport comfort zone with a nod to aviation. Whilst the Autavia in the past has forgotten its aviation roots, the 2019 releases are embracing their pilot watch identity. The model which has caught our eye features a blue dial on a steel bracelet, a classic design not to dissimilar from other Tag models we have seen before.
Breitling’s new 2019 range of Superocean watches reflects the brand’s deep water history and we admire the new 46 Blacksteel model with its blue rubber strap, combining diver watch technology with a watch for everyday wear. Alongside this, its Premier Norton Edition comes from the brand partnering with a fellow iconic brand, and we personally are excited to see what the future brings for this partnership between two extraordinary brands.
We cannot wait to see what the remainder of the world’s largest watch fair has in store and what Omega are going to unveil later this weekend. To keep updated, check out Winsor Bishop across Instagram and Facebook. Or sign up to receive exclusive updates from our email newsletter.