Baselworld 2019: Top Picks From Day TwoWritten by Melissa Kong
Day two of the fair got off to a busy start with many brands pulling out all the stops. One of the pieces that impressed us was the Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition.
This is a heritage throwback that we can truly get behind. Paying faithful tribute to one of the most distinctive Navitimer designs from the 1950s, this new Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition takes you on a trip down memory lane in a most exacting manner - to almost "98 per cent" accuracy to the original, says a Breitling staffer. Featuring the famed beaded bezel, gently domed acrylic glass, tone-on-tone sub-dials and unsigned winged logo, the watch is a collector’s dream.
Updated touches are vital, but few and far between. They include water resistance of up to 30m; Super-LumiNova accents on the hands and indexes; and a spanking new COSC-certified manual-winding movement, the in-house Calibre B09 based on Breitling’s famous Calibre 01. This new movement will also go on to drive the other historical tributes that Breitling will continue to release in the future as part of its strategy to create watches that tell a story—right up the alley of vintage lovers.
Then there's Patek Philippe's Ref. 5212A.
The number of times when one needs to ascertain the exact week of the year is negligible, but this isn’t going to stop Patek Philippe from making this year’s most aesthetically charming calendar watch. The weekly calendar is a new complication for the brand, and we love how the new information, along with the day and date, is presented on the highly organised dial, which features handwritten-style typography and all five hands neatly stacked in the middle.
Equally astounding is the new in-house automatic Calibre 26-330 S C J SE that drives the watch. An improved version of the Calibre 324, it houses a number of innovations that help optimise energy transfer, including an anti-backlash wheel to nullify friction and a reconfigured bi-directional rotor that enhances winding efficiency.
Bell & Ross gave us an interesting aviation-inspired timepiece with the BR 03-92 MA-1.
There are plenty of watches inspired by airplanes, but one that’s inspired by a flight suit? Hardly any. This looker from Bell & Ross takes cues from the MA-1 flight jacket, a de rigueur piece of gear for US Air Force pilots back in 1958. In line with the khaki green and orange colours of the jacket, the BR 03-93 MA-1 comes in a matte khaki ceramic case with a sandwich dial revealing the orange lume underneath.
The watch comes in a reversible khaki and orange strap in calf leather and ultra-resilient synthetic fabric, as well as an orange Velcro strap. Limited to 999 pieces, this is a truly standout piece that’s packed with aviation history and nuances, and certainly a refreshing take on the usual pilot’s watches.
Finally, there's the Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT.
Now into their ninth year of collaboration, Hublot and Ferrari have clearly kept their creative juices flowing. The latest collection sees the partners resuming their respective duties, with Hublot developing the engine and Ferrari designing the chassis. In a first for the series, Hublot has integrated the 42mm Unico movement into the 45mm Classic Fusion case. The movement features a column wheel flyback chronograph with a three-day power reserve, perfect for those long drives this collection is inspired by.
Although the watch is a pretty sizeable 45mm, it sits nicely on the wrist and doesn’t overpower it. Crucial to this is a unique case design that’s suspended in the middle such that the dial's visual impact is enhanced. The collection is available in King Gold, titanium and 3D carbon, a material closely associated with motorsport for its lightness, resistance and outstanding protection, reinforcing the Ferrari connection. Petrolheads, you’re gonna want in.
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".