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BASELWORLD 2019: I was frightfully, frightfully drunk....


I was frightfully, frightfully drunk...

They say what goes around comes around, and never is that truer than in the world of fashion. The watch industry being no exception. As sure as beautifully Bregueted hands continually circumnavigate an exquisitely guillochéd dial, so too the trends of yesteryear - re-edited 2:0 style - return for today’s nouveau consumer. I don’t mind this. I actually find the familiarity of it quite comforting, especially in our current climate of constant change. That hark to a bygone age before (anti)social media, where editing one’s life story was as simple as forgetting your compact 36mm on a night out and communicating with the wider world was restricted to whomever was at home to answer the telephone or, Heaven forbid, face-to-face contact. (I am slightly disconcerted, however, by the fact that yesteryear now includes the 1990s. What happened there? Surely that - and the infamous TAG Heuer parties - was only 10 years ago!)

I digress...

So, in homage to trends gone by, recommissioned for the 21st century, this year’s foray into Baselworld 2019 heralded the following:

Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Basel 2019 Oris Big Crown Pointer Date; 40mm Bronze 80th Anniversary Green Dial Special Edition and Stainless Steel Red Dial.
View the ORIS Big Crown Collection

Retro Colour

Not many hues were omitted from this year’s collections but most prevalent were vibrant, inky blue, which has been on the periphery for a year or two now, and salmon/blush/copper - however you wish to address it, this colour was definitely designed with the intent of making the boys wink. Both dial colours were very reminiscent of 1998 - think TAG Heuer Kirium.

Another pigmented nod to the aforementioned Swiss watch house synonymous with the end of the last century (although completely unintentional), was red and green.

Big Crown by Oris is a great example. An enduring favourite, this year returning with richly tinted dials.

Breitling Historical Navitimer 1959 - Basel 2019 - Special Edition Breitling Historical Navitimer Ref. 806 from 1959 - Special Edition
Have a closer look at Breitling's 1959 Re-issue Navitimer

Reduced Size

Peak massiveness summitted a few years ago and proportions have since declined. This year’s horological selection was again much more subtle in size and evocative of the mid-20th century.

Breitling Navitimer 1959 Re-edition, while not small at 41mm but true its original incarnation, is certainly more diminutive than some of its counterparts and encompasses several Baselworld 2019 trends inlcuding... This brings me smoothly onto my final observation -

TAG Heuer Autavia 2019 Bule Dial TAG Heuer Autavia with Blue Dial - Baselworld 2019 Release
Take a closer look at the 2019 TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph


As a proud purveyor of vintage and retro timepieces as part of our Pre-owned offering, I always enjoy seeing the Brands excavate their archives and breathe new life into the ghosts of watches past for the modern customer.

TAG Heuer’s latest Autavia, an excellent case and point, offers pared-down retro for those with more minimalist tastes.

Some companies, however, delved further into this theme and instead of polishing and preening replicas to within an inch of their lives, their watches appeared to have lived a life already. Think ‘distressed’ dials, tumbled leather straps, cases in materials designed to celebrate the passing of time and proudly exhibit a beautifully aged patina.*

Breitling Premier ‘Norton’ embodies this perfectly and is definitely on my Wish List.

Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition with a Brown Vintage Raw-Leather Strap
Take a closer look at the Breitling Premier Norton

* Not unlike myself. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. Although, had these watches also participated in the iconic TAG Heuer parties of the late 1990’s I’m not sure they would have passed quality control!