Back in February, we described SIHH, the event where many watch brands tee up their releases for the year, the ‘Coachella of Watches.’ If that’s true, than Baselworld would be like if somehow Woodstock ‘69 were resurrected (wait a second…). Baselworld, held every year in…Basel, is traditionally the place where watchmakers announce their most exciting upcoming releases and it’s living up to that reputation so far. This year, Patek Phillippe is showing the entirety of its range—from gorgeous, John Mayer co-signed pieces to sport-ready ones—and Rolex is debuting watches that will be well worth their several-year waiting lists.
Baselworld isn’t just about the watch world’s biggest players, though. Smaller brands have like Oris and Zodiac have come out swinging with beautiful ways of their own to keep time. The whole medley makes for a combination worth gawking at for hours. With two days in the books, let’s do just that with seven of our favorite watches from the show so far.
Rolex GMT-Master II
You can almost hear the theme music, right? Duna duna duna duna duna duna… This particular GMT, with its two-tone black-and-blue bezel, is affectionately known as the ‘Batman.’ (I’ve also heard it referred to as the ‘Bruise’ but Batman is a lot more fun.) It’s not the watch we deserve right now, but it’s definitely the one we need! The GMT-Master is an all-time classic watch that Rolex has the good sense to just keep rereleasing. Last year at Baselworld, the brand put out almost the same model, but in the iconic red-and-blue ‘Pepsi’ colorway—and now, people are expected to wait for years on a waiting list before they actually get that watch. So put up the Bat Signal now if you want to see Rolex’s latest release sometime before 2025.
Darling, It’s Better/Down Where It’s Wetter/Under the Sea
Oris Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition III
First things first: the Oris Great Barrier Reef is a gorgeous watch. The aqua-blue colorway glows at the center before giving way to the 20,000-leagues-under-the-sea darkness towards the outer edges of the bezel—stunning, yes, but also befitting a dive watch. The added wrinkle is that this dive watch is trying to make things better for, well, divers. For this release, Oris partnered with the Reef Restoration Foundation, an organization trying to rebuild the Great Barrier Reef by replanting patches of it.
If It’s Good Enough for John Mayer…
Patek Philippe 5212A Calatrava Weekly Calendar
As far as we know, this is one of the only watches of the bunch officially co-signed by timepiece enthusiast and world-famous musician John Mayer. “It’s a winner,” he wrote underneath an image of the watch posted to Instagram. “The typography is brilliant. I’ve never seen handwritten letters on a watch.” (He added a clapping emoji for good measure.) I’m not John Mayer, but what I appreciate about Patek, and this watch in particular, is that it seems to exist in a universe where the internet and smartphones don’t exist. The brand is still innovating in the underappreciated art of displaying the time and date. This is a watch that will make you never want to dig into your pocket for a phone again.
This Watch Is the Bomb
Patek Philippe Aquanut 5168G
Patek Philippe is most closely associated with the kind of pretty, elegant watches that look as comfortable in a jewelry box as on a wrist. But this Aquanut, Patek’s version of a sport watch, looks tough—the color way might be described as We Melted Down a Bunch of Toy Army Soldiers And Here’s What We Got. Some have already taken to calling it the Grenade, which rules. The rubber strap and rugged colorway actually belies the watch’s preciousness, though. While most sport watches come in stainless steel, Patek Phillipe dressed up this Aquanut in solid white gold.
Mayer also digs this one. “The watch/strap combo that inspired @patekphilippe to release the 5168g ‘khaki,’” he wrote in the caption of an Instagram post on Hodinkee. “The satin-like dial finish, along with the travel time feature, means this configuration still stands on its own two feet. We love to see it.” Indeed we do.
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