For the independent brands, there was quite a bit of change at Baselworld. Many of them used to occupy “The Palace,” a tent-like structure outside of the main exhibition halls created just for them. This year “The Palace” was no longer, and many of the brands moved indoors, to “Les Ateliers,” a new area dedicated to independent watchmakers and -brands. What didn’t change where the marvelous creations that they bring to the show:
Manufacture Royale ADN
Obviously bitten by the travel bug did Manufacture Royale introduced the ADN (the French acronym for DNA), a watch that combines a flying tourbillon with a second-time zone complication housed in the case style we known from the Androgyne. Regarding design does Manufacture Royale masterly balance understatement with overstatement: the imposing look of the case (even in subdued forged carbon and DLC-coated steel) with the back to the basic design of the dial. Despite the second time zone, jump hour and flying tourbillon does the dial not look complicated and can be read at a glance, although its beauty makes you bound to stare.
Schwarz Etienne Tourbillon Petite Seconde Retrograde
One of the major surprises was the Tourbillon Petite Seconde Retrograde by Schwarz Etienne. Unique about this manufacture caliber is that the retrograde seconds get their input directly from the tourbillon, and since this is all visible on the dial side, it is captivating. The same can be said for the micro-rotor, which they placed at the front of the watch. To make this watch stand even further apart are the second’s retrograde scale and dial insert cut from green aventurine, a semi-precious gemstone.
What for many brands is quite exotic, is for HYT going back to basics. With the HO collection, they created a more minimalistic version featuring their famous fluid technology. The result is a watch that looks like it has traveled from the future into current time, with a very clean look, and bold use of color. It also lacks distractions, giving center stage to the fluid technology.
Louis Moinet Space Mystery
Not a Baselworld goes by, or Louis Moinet has an impressive, new addition to their collection. It was the same this year when the Space Mystery joined the ranks. Beauty in blue, the dial is dominated by the oversized flying tourbillon, located at twelve o’clock. This is not the only unique feature of this watch, as it has a fragment of the carbonaceous chondrites incorporated, a meteorite that contained organic material from extraterrestrial origin!
Christophe Claret X-Trem-1 StingHD
With the StingHD does Christophe Claret show what synergy can be achieved when you team up with the right partner. In this case, he joined forces with New York-based jewelry company StingHD, which made quite a name for itself with bracelets crafted from exotic leather. When you mix their style with the unique time display of the X-Trem the result is a watch that is even more extreme regarding design as the watch already was from the beginning, and because of that even more enticing!