Buy the Best of Baselworld for your Better Half
Baselworld, held annually in Switzerland, is like fashion week for watches. Among the hundreds of new designs introduced in March, is this winning lineup of ladies’ power watches.
By Carol Besler
A power watch is the latest must-have accessory for women. It is the opposite of a fashion watch: not a flashy ingenue in the latest color, but more classic and heirloom worthy. It should be made of gold or steel, adorned with a sprinkle (or a cascade) of diamonds, an elite mechanical movement, preferably with a complication, and a top brand name, even if it is only recognizable among true watch aficionados. Here are the top picks among hundreds of new ladies’ pieces introduced at the Baselworld watch fair in Switzerland, held March 21-26.
Bulgari Serpenti Seduttori
Bulgari’s Seduttori (“Seduction”), one of the hits of the fair, elaborates on the brand’s signature serpent motif. The new interpretation is thinner than previous models, with a sinewy new flexible bracelet inspired by the original Serpenti bracelets of the 1940s. The links, like the case, mimic the shape of a serpent’s head. This is a great day-to-night watch, with pedigree and brand cachet.
In the spirit of imperial Rome, this watch is decked out to the max, showcasing Chopard’s jewelling talents. The coloured sapphires set into the bezel are graduated in color, and the markers on the dial cleverly match the hue of the sapphire adjacent to it on the bezel. The case, crown, and lugs are set with round and baguette diamonds. The dial is white mother-of-pearl with a central ring of diamonds.
Jacob & Co 3-D Astronomia
The 3-D Astronomia is a party on the wrist. The sapphire crystal case functions like a curio cabinet in which you can see the 15.44 carats of sapphires in two tones of blue and baguette diamonds set into the base plate. Four arms radiating from the central axis carry a triple-axis tourbillon, a one-carat spherical diamond, an hour/minute dial, and a lacquered decorative globe. All rotate on their axis and around the periphery of the dial. Baguette diamonds are also set into the long stanchions on the case sides.
Patek Philippe Ref. 4899/901G
The mother-of-pearl dial of the Patek Philippe 4899 is engraved in a feather motif, but it resembles waves, particularly next to the spray of blue sapphires and diamonds on the lower half of this dial. Case, crown and pin buckle are also gem set for a total of 348 diamonds and 354 blue sapphires. It contains the ultra-thin automatic Caliber 240 with an integrated micro-rotor, silicon-based components, and a 70-hour power reserve.
Rolex Daytona Decorated
The Rolex Daytona is the world’s most recognizable sports watch, and one of the most robust, aimed at professional race car drivers and forever linked to the coolest race car driver of them all, Paul Newman. Incongruously, Rolex chooses the Daytona as the showcase for some of its most virtuoso gemsetting. On this version, Rolex replaces the iconic tachymeter scale on the bezel with 36 trapeze-cut diamonds totaling 4.58 carats, and decorates the dial with swirls of black lacquer surrounded by 243 diamonds set in an abstract, snake-like pattern. The case is 18k yellow gold, which is everything but subtle.
MB&F Legacy Machine Flying T
MB&F, known for its wildly creative men’s watches, has finally launched a long-awaited timepiece for women. It is typically MB&F in its atypical style, with a three-dimensional design, an asymmetric dial, and an inclined hour and minutes subdial under a bubble-like domed sapphire crystal. The movement is a flying tourbillon, but the star of the show is the baguette diamond setting hugging the convex dial, with 294 diamonds totaling 8.2 carats.
The Grand Seiko Ladies’ Automatic
Seiko, not being Swiss, is mentioned less often among the elite watch brands, but make no mistake, Seiko is a powerhouse with a long history of innovations in the watch industry. This includes robust mechanical movements, the latest of which was developed specifically for ladies’ watches. The 9S27 is an automatic movement scaled to smaller proportions (cases are 28.7mm wide x 10.9mm thick), with a respectable accuracy rating of +8/-3 seconds per day. This is an important day watch for people who understand watches.
Chopard Happy Sport Oval
The Happy Sport Oval is the latest interpretation of Chopard’s most iconic watch, introduced in 1993. The five mobile diamonds locked between two crystals over the dial are unmistakably Chopard. The new oval version in 18k rose gold with a pebble-link bracelet is contemporary vintage, with a Chopard-made automatic mechanical movement.