Baselworld 2019: Top Picks From Day ThreeWritten by Alvin Wong
Whether it's a functional tool watch, an avant-garde masterpiece or a gorgeous artistic dial, day three of the fair had us impressed. We got off to a great start with the Urwerk UR-111C Black.
We first witnessed Urwerk’s departure from its trademark wandering hours-slash-satellite system late last year with the UR-111C. As demonstrated by the debut model, the new UR-111C Black’s time indicators just about break every convention.
Rotating conical displays on the left and right, linked by a cylindrical unit with retrograde feature, display the time in a linear manner at the bottom of the case. Elsewhere, two interlocking discs constantly turn to show the seconds, the numerals magnified by a dense cluster of optical fibres. Heck, Urwerk even replaced a traditional crown with a mouse scroller-type mechanism.
While the first iterations in steel or gunmetal case were already a sight to behold, this Baselworld 2019 follow up is even more mesmerising, housed in a black PVD case that accentuates the chic mystique and radical thinking behind the watch.
Next up, we saw the Zenith Defy Inventor.
This model delivers on the promise of the Defy Lab from 2017, a watch that debuted a one-of-a-kind, single-unit oscillator made of silicon that delivers extreme precision and longevity. Where the Defy Lab was introduced as a 10-piece limited edition to test the ground, the Defy Inventor sees the avant-garde innovation in full swing as a series-produced collection.
In the Defy Inventor, the state-of-the-art engine has been further improved - ticking at a high frequency of 18Hz (compared to 15Hz from the original version), while staying impervious to wear-and-tear, magnetism, and temperature changes. Of course, the cutting-edge movement is appropriately clad. Its modern finery comprises a 44mm titanium case framed by a bezel made of Aeronith, the world’s lightest aluminium composite. This is the future – or at least one of several new realities – of modern watchmaking right here.
Then, a huge dive watch caught our attention in the form of the Oris Dive Control Limited Edition.
Capped at just 500 pieces, the new Dive Control Limited Edition is Oris’ evolution of its famed ProDiver watch made for, well, professional divers. It comes in an oversized 51mm Grade 2 titanium case coated in scratch-resistant black DLC and is water resistant up to 1,000m. To ensure the watch still functions perfectly in tough conditions, it was put through a pressure test to 125 bar, proving its incredible resistance.
The dive ticker is also equipped with the brand’s signature Rotation Safety System, which is an added safety measure that locks the uni-directional rotating bezel while the watch is in use. This innovation was developed in partnership with Swiss commercial diver, Roman Frischknecht, and patented by Oris. In fact, it's the only one watch the world that has this particular feature, offering both bragging rights and also a pretty useful dive function. While it's a little large for everyday wear, it's a serious tool watch that you can rely on in the ocean's depths. Plus, we love the little nod to underwater escapades with the wave pattern on the dial.
And how could we end the day without a ladies' model? Especially when the Chopard L.U.C XP Esprit De Fleurier Peony was such a stunner.
It's timely that it’s springtime right now at Baselworld 2019, what with Chopard again offering one of its most anticipated blooms in the form of the L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony. Having started the collection five years ago, it has become somewhat of a tradition for the brand to introduce a new version of the artisanal watch each year.
For 2019, the gorgeous bouquet is rendered in explosive shades of pink by way of hand-cut mother-of-pearl appliques on a hand-painted base, embellished with a sculpted butterfly and framed by a diamond-set rose gold case. The watch, which is housed in a case made from ethically mined gold, is just as beautiful from the back, where you'll see the automatic L.U.C Calibre 96-23L decorated with sensual swirls and floral motifs, all hand-engraved using the Fleurisanne technique.
Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.