24 on-trend watches from Baselworld
April 22, 2014
TAG Heuer’s new men’s Carerra watch has a gray strap and dial with an 18-karat rose gold case, embodying two of the trends seen at the 2014 edition of Baselworld.
Basel--While many parts of the world undoubtedly are in a better place financially than they were at during the recession, very few industries are experiencing record-breaking growth.
The watch industry finds itself sitting squarely in this space. Statistics presented by Baselworld show organizers at the event’s opening press conference showed that the Swiss watch industry has seen demand normalize since recovering from the recession.
In 2013, Swiss watch exports were up 2 percent year-over-year in value terms but dropped 4 percent in volume terms. Demand fell in the all-important Chinese and Hong Kong markets and was up only very slightly--2 percent--in the United States.
Consumers remain cautious and watchmakers are taking this into account, making watches that are price-point friendly one of the main trends seen at the 2014 Baselworld show, alongside an aesthetic preference for rose gold and gray and the use of titanium.
The grandsons of the late watchmaker Raymond Weil started 88 Rue du Rhone in 2012 to fill what they saw as a need in the market for Swiss-made watches that retail between $375 and $1,000. American-made Shinola, which launched last year and crafts belts, bikes and wallets alongside watches at its factory in Detroit, sells its timepieces for $475 to about $850.
Claude Bernard, which is made entirely in-house in the brand’s facility in Les Genevez, Switzerland, came under new U.S. distributorship last February and is now in 35 doors across the country. The entry point for the brand’s quartz watches is $200 while its automatic models range in price from $595 to $1,795.
Japanese brand Seiko introduced Recraft at the show, a new line of mostly quartz watches priced for younger consumers that range from $195 to $395, while Swarovski lowered prices on its Octea Sport models and Zenith made price a focal point in creating its new Port Royal watches.
Baselworld 2014 also included a number of timepieces inspired by decades gone by, which is not unusual. Both watch and jewelry brands often turn to their archives when looking for future inspiration.
Swatch Group-owned Longines leaned heavily on the past in creating models for 2014. The Swatch Group-owned brand introduced a limited-edition Conquest to mark the model’s 60th anniversary and used watches from 1935 and 1973 as the inspiration for creating two new timepieces for men.
Omega, another Swatch Group-owned brand, also took a cue from history in creating a limited-edition Omega Speedmaster that marks the 45th anniversary of the first man on the moon. The brand is making 1,969 of these watches, a nod to the year of the lunar landing.
Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong both wore Omega watches for their historic spacewalk. Aldrin had an Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph strapped around his spacesuit while Armstrong left his Speedmaster aboard the Lunar Landing Module as a backup.
A new collection from Rolex, Cellini, consists of 12 “classically inspired” models powered by in-house movements divided into three collections, Cellini Time; Cellini Date, which adds a date function via a subdial; and Cellini Dual Time, which keeps time in two time zones simultaneously. The watches all come on alligator straps and are available in 18-karat white or the brand’s “Everose” gold.
All prices given in the slideshow (link above) are retail.