On 25 April, the watch and jewellery show Baselworld will open. Everyone is holding their breath, not just for the new watches, but above all for the stands. Made-to-measure, some with two or three floors, they are often designed by famous architects. The Swatch stand will, according to reports, cover 1,500 square metres. The whole showground has also been renewed, with a 500 million Swiss franc investment to renovate Hall 1, with design by Herzog & De Meuron.
Some watch brands have already presented their Baselworld previews, with some interesting models. French brand 4N will present their 4N MVT01/42, in which what looks like a scrambled jumble of yellow numerals miraculously come together at the centre of the dial, in a jumping minutes and hours display. Everything inside is shamelessly revealed through the sapphire glass. The strap has a quick-change system and it is available in various materials.
HYT presents a new version of their pump-it-up H1 in pink gold and black titanium. This watch mixes classical watchmaking with fluid mechanics. Two reservoirs at 6 o'clock push fluorescent liquid through a capillary tube that runs around the dial, marking the hours. Minutes are shown at the centre, and small seconds on a small dial that looks like a waterwheel.
Breguet's Type XXII 3880 combines a tough and modern look with some technical innovations, such as a 10 Hz frequency for greater precision, and a chronograph second hand that sweeps the dial in 30 seconds, with red and white markers identifying the two successive rotations.
Blancpain's Chronographe Grande Date for women combines a beautiful mother-of-pearl dial featuring waves of diamonds rippling out from the centre, with an offset hour and minute display at the top, and interestingly abstract chronograph counters. A petal-shaped oscillating weight can be seen through the sapphire crystal back, within a red gold case.
Corum's legendary baguette movement now includes an inline winding system with two oscillating weights that operate together. The movement is held at the centre of the case by four titanium cross-bars, creating the impression of a suspended mechanism, accentuated by the transparency of the case.
Eberhard & Co. present the Chrono 4 Géant Full Injection, which, like IWC, reveals massive influence from the world of cars. This limited edition of 500 pieces has case and buckle coated in black DLC, while the black dial is dominated by the 4 horizontally-aligned counters for chronograph minutes, hours, 24 hours and small seconds.
Hamilton's Jazzmaster Face2face is an interesting departure, with two dials, one more modern, one more classical. Two automatic calibres, chrono and 3-hand movement, that simply swing round when you feel like a change. Complete with an attractive black leather strap with blue lining and top-stitching.
Harry Winston's Histoire de Tourbillon 4 is the latest in what will become a collection of five tourbillon watches. The sapphire crystal includes a dome highlighting a tourbillon inside three concentric cages, rotating at different speeds, and at different angles. A power reserve indicator at 3-4 o'clock shows just how much energy is left in the movement, powered by two barrels for higher power and lower friction.
Lastly, a mechanical watch for Batman, the T-1000 Gotham by Rebellion. The solid black DLC-coated titanium case houses a movement driving two rollers that indicate the time, with balance wheel at 6 o'clock. The hand-wound movement has an amazing 1,000-hour power reserve, a world first, provided by six barrels. Limited edition of 25 pieces.
And this is just a tantalizing taste, who knows the horological wonders that will be on show in Basel from 25 April to 2 May? We'll be there to keep you informed!