Baselworld 2015 was the first time that Team Bulang has attended the epic watch event in Switzerland and we had a great time, meeting up with old friends and making some new ones. We actually flew in on Monday evening and on Tuesday enjoyed a day of good weather and talks about the future of B&S and some of the exciting projects and collaborations that we hope to bring to you over the next year.
Team B&S at breakfast:
Some great watches came out during our talks:
After we checked into the Rolex chartered cruise liner, regally moored on the Rhine (our lodgings for the night) the main event started on Tuesday night at the Tudor party.
Room with a view:
The Tuesday night Tudor party is one of the key events at BaselWorld now and this year was an amazing experience for those lucky enough to secure an invitation. We congregated outside the main exhibition hall and were then taxi’d to the secret meal location in a fleet on Land Rover Defenders. At Team B&S we are especially fond of the iconic Defender and it was great to see the line of a dozen Defender 110 (the long wheel base incarnation of the machine), each one unique in its own way but united by their stealthy coolness. We travelled for some time and eventually alighted on a footpath within a dense forest – our path lit by burning logs which led to a large tent. We were greeted at the tent by tumblers of warm gluhwein served around a large fire.
Once invited into the tent, we were greeted by a large dining room heated by a large indoor fire. We were served a wonderful four course dinner, during which we were given a world exclusive first viewing of Tudor’s new landmark watch the North Flag.
Loosely based on the vintage Ranger 2 (but not actually part of the Heritage line) the watch is particularly special as it features Tudor’s first manufacture movement – the MT5621. Five years in the making, this 72 hour power reserve movement features a silicon balance spring and is chronometer rated to +/- 3 seconds, which is a long way within the COSC tolerance of 5 seconds. This new development is a huge moment for Tudor and marks the first time that Tudor watches will be fitted with all in-house built movements.
We loved the watch, especially the way that the case is so wonderfully finished and to such a level of detail. The ceramic and steel bezel ring frames a sporty dial that features a power reserve indicator, another first for a Tudor watch (discounting the alarm power reserve on the Heritage Advisor). The integrated bracelet is another bond to Tudor’s illustrious past (they had the Genta-esque case shapes way before the Rolex OQ).
Following a late and leisurely breakfast, we headed to the exhibition hall to attend the world press launch of the new Tudor line for 2015. Following a couple of espressos in the Tudor lounge we were ushered into the theatre for a presentations by Mr Davide Currato who seamlessly guided us through the new additions to the Tudor catalogue, punctuated brilliantly by the new campaign videos for each watch.
We had already seen the North Flag, but the presentation was accompanied by a stunning video of polar ice explorers putting the North Flag through its paces. It was followed by an announcement that many had been expecting, but with a twist that I hadn’t seen coming – the Pelagos Blue, BUT with its own in-house movement the calibre MT5612. The chronometer rated watch has had some changes made to the dial layout including the model name and the chronometer details. I like this and also the removal of the hour marker next to the date window – a really clean look. This watch will be a major hit and you can look forward to Bernhard and I putting the new blue Pelagos through its paces in Ibiza and the South of France this summer.
The final new addition is a Fast Rider in collaboration with Ducati. Ducati have developed a new bike called the Scrambler, which is available in three colours. The new Fast Rider is available in complimentary colours and is housed in a satin finish steel case with matt black ceramic bezel and PVD coated winding crown and chrono pushers. The black leather straps are inspired by the Ducati motorbike seats and the watches feature the calibre 7753 movement; a well known work horse in the Tudor stable.
I believe that these three watches are all really important exciting developments for Tudor. The in-house movement is a huge coup for the brand and puts them in a new league in the ultra competitive Swiss watchmaking industry – this a great achievement. The collaboration with Ducati’s newest and most youthful motorbike also give the brand a push towards new markets of younger watch buyers who will be lured by the exciting dial coolers and contemporary yet classic styling.
Following the Tudor presentations we headed over to the Rolex booth to view their new releases. Rolex enjoys seemingly endless speculation every year about what they will release and this year was no different. The headline release was a new Yachtmaster with black ceramic bezel, matte black dial and a new Oysterflex rubber strap. I really loved the look of the watch – especially the red writing on the dial and the maxi hour plots. The watch is in a rose gold case and will undoubtedly be a massive hit for Rolex. They also undated their Day Date range with some new dials, with my personal favourite being the pinstripe effect.
We also walked round and visited other brands and saw some very interesting watches. The new blue Omega SM300 was my personal favourite, outside of the Rolex and Tudor watches.
Baselworld is the highlight of the watch calendar and this year’s releases were fantastic and highlighted that in a world that is obsessed with technology and captivated by the smart watch revolution, there is still a wealth of interest in traditional horology and the passion for the craft of beautiful wristwatches.