Creativity is unchained underneath the ‘Palace’ that houses the independent watchmakers of Baselworld. Once again, they let their imaginations run wild in 2014, and introduced timepieces that had collectors smiling from ear to ear. But it’s not all fun and games! These five independent brands continued to develop new timekeeping techniques, and integrated innovative materials in their quests for growth. One of them even released its first in-house movement.
This year HYT introduced new colors and materials to its revolutionary H2 line, including the new H2 Titanium & White Gold Blue. The most stunning aspect of this latest timepiece is the movement, which features at the center and looks like a piston engine. Made exclusively for HYT by Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi, it commands eight days of power reserve. The time is displayed via a retrograde hand for the minutes, while the hours are indicated through the blue liquid in the tube. The H2 case measures 48.8mm and is made from titanium and outfitted with a white gold bezel.
No need to go to Vegas! The Poker is the third in Christophe Claret’s trilogy of gaming watches, following the Blackjack and the Baccara. It uses a system of automatons to play a complete 52-card game of poker, following the rules of Texas hold ‘em. The Poker can deal 32,768 different combination possibilities for up to three players, with odds calculated to give each player the same chance of winning. Various pushbuttons shuffle and deal the cards. The Calibre PCK05 is an automatic in-house movement, with 655 components and two mainspring barrels with 72 hours of power reserve. If you fancy your luck, the rotor on the caseback also operates as a mini roulette wheel.
The Oktopus MoonLite’s inner and outer cases feature a colorless alloy developed specifically for Linde Werdelin. The highly skeletonized dial is composed of five layers, and displays hours and minutes, as well as a photorealistic moon disc with red numerals, and a blue full moon indicator. This is also the hardest and lightest timepiece ever made by Linde Werdelin, and proves how far the young brand has come. The MoonLite is the latest addition to its Oktopus line, a collection of diving watches that can be outfitted with the ‘Reef’ instrument. Only 59 numbered pieces of the Oktopus MoonLite will be produced.
MB&F surprised many this year when it introduced its smallest and most affordable Legacy Machine to date. But while it’s more classically sized at 40mm, the Legacy Machine 101 houses three complications. First, a suspended balance wheel, responsible for regulating precision, dominates the dial. Then, in two pristine white subdials, the 45-hour power reserve indicator, which shows how much power remains in the mainspring, and of course, the time, displayed by beautiful blued-gold hands. But you’ll have to flip the watch over to see the LM101’s most beautiful feature; the first ever hand-finished movement developed entirely in-house by MB&F.
The Dial Side True Beat, the latest addition to the Arnold & Son Instrument Collection, celebrates the brand’s 250th anniversary. The true beat seconds is a signature complication of Arnold & Son, and occupies the top left portion of the dial at 11 o’clock. At the 4 o’clock position, a white lacquered subdial indicates the hours and the minutes via blued hands. These generously proportioned, overlapping indications translate into a stunning three-dimensional dial. This 43.5mm timepiece, in 18K red gold, houses the self-winding Calibre A&S6003. Only 50 pieces will be produced.