As the dust settles, we look back at the Baselworld 2018 fair with a more holistic lens. And, as the Time+Tide team saw more than 50 brands between them, we think we’re in a pretty excellent position to pull out a few common themes…
Trend 1 – Two-tone
First up, two-tone watches. Let me start this by saying — yes, I know two-tone watches have always been a ‘thing’, but lately we feel they’ve picked up momentum (something I put down to the fact that a lot of steel watches are hard to come by!).
Tudor Black Bay S&G with champagne dial
Tudor spiced up their existing Black Bay S&G model with a ‘champagne’ dial. In person, it’s much closer to gold, especially under natural light. This move from Tudor, a year after the original release of the S&G, shows that they’re backing the two-tone love.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M
As part of Omega’s new 300M Diver collection, we saw several bi-metal releases. Omega backed the love for two-tone this year, releasing not one but three variations of the Diver — a Tantalum (Titanium) and Sedna (Gold), Steel and Sedna Gold, and Steel and Yellow Gold.
Rolex GMT-Master II in Everose and Oystersteel
Rolex released a new GMT range including, of course, a Rolesor (two-tone) option in their famous Everose and Oystersteel. Now, the early hype might be focused on the straight steel Pepsi, but this watch is really stunning — and I’m calling this a massive hit, once the general public gets their hands on them.
Trend 2 – GMT and dual timers
Next on our list of trends is GMT watches — something we couldn’t help but notice had an extra strong presence at the fair this year. That or they were just stronger executions from the brands across the board.
TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 GMT Chronograph
This year, TAG Heuer dropped an exciting release — the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 GMT Chronograph, with the blue and black fixed bezel. Packed with features, both GMT and Chronograph functionality, the piece also has an open-worked dial and an in-house movement.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time in Rose Gold
Technically a dual time watch (with a GMT hand), Patek Philippe introduced a Rose Gold version of their existing Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, with a brown dial to match. Additionally, we saw the introduction of a ladies version, in a slightly smaller 37.5mm case.
Rolex GMT-Master II collection
As we already mentioned Rolex this year was all about the GMT-Master II. That means a brand new ‘Pepsi’ GMT-Master II in Oystersteel, with a new movement and redesigned case. We also saw a whole swagger of new updates and changes to existing models, from dials to materials. Oh, and in case you were worries — Rolex has kept their famous ‘Batman GMT’ in the stable.
Tudor Black Bay GMT
The Tudor Black Bay GMT is the watch we’d all been waiting for and has been on ‘Basel Prediction lists’ for way too long. Combining the Blue and Red colours from the bezels of existing Black Bay models, Tudor created their own take on a Pepsi GMT.
Trend 3 – Smaller sizes
The last trend we saw when it came to the size and shape of a case was BIG! In fact, at one point it was straight up ridiculous. As market tastes changed, and consumers seek out more practical timepieces, I think the brands saw it as an opportunity to make their watches more accessible. Sure, a 45mm pilot’s watch might look cool, but how cool is it as it bulges out of your suit jacket? Or knocking it on door hinges every day for two years?
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight collection
Tudor had a cracking year, and not only did we see a well-executed GMT from the brand, but we were also given a new thinner, and smaller cased Black Bay collection, known as the Fifty-Eight. Better yet — it’s powered by a brand-new Tudor manufacture movement, the calibre MT5402.
Omega Seamaster 300 1948 Limited Editions
One of my personal favourites from the fair is the Omega Seamaster 300 1948 Limited Editions. Both the Small Seconds and Central Seconds versions come in a well-proportioned 38mm, and being limited, will, of course, prove popular.
Hublot Big Bang Unico 42mm
This year, Hublot released a 42mm version of their famous Big Bang, which has been redesigned to a smaller scale, in an attempt to make the watch more accessible. Having worn these pieces, 42mm is a much more practical size for many — and opens up the Big Bang as a realistic unisex watch.