The best watches from BaselWorld Day 3: Hermès, Rolex, Breitling, and Hublot

The best watches from BaselWorld Day 3: Hermès, Rolex, Breitling, and Hublot

BaselWorld 2017

Text: Celine Yap

Hermès plays with time; Rolex gets seriously technical; Breitling tries something new; Hublot goes auto-inspired

Overall theme: Hermès has really come to define its own style of watchmaking by concentrating on different ways of perceiving watches and perceiving time. Creative pieces include a plethora of Cape Cod TGMs designed for men, including some with a double tour leather strap which is typically meant for women. Now, men who are looking for fun ways to wear a watch might finally find the watch of their dreams. In particular, the Cape Cod Shadow is especially striking because of the black calfskin double tour strap with bright red burnishing on the sides. And then there's the wittily named Slim d'Hermès Grrrrr! — the exclamation mark is included in the name. This timepiece features a grand feu enamel painting of a bear's face on the dial. Of course, Hermès does not forget its playful relationship with time, and unveils yet another creative complication.

Star watch: Slim d'Hermès l'Heure Impatiente

Did you know: The idea for this singular complication was conceived five years when creative director of La Montre Hermès, Philippe Delhotal, and movement specialist Jean-Marc Wiederrecht were having a conversation about time and the theory of relativity.

The X factor: This timepiece allows you to set a timer for an upcoming event, and accompanies you in anticipating the arrival of that set time. What Hermès wants to forefront with such a complication is that it is not only the time spend during a certain event that is important, but also the time spent waiting for it.

Flashback: Earlier creative complications made by Hermès includes the Cape Cod Grandes Hours, Arceau Le Temps Suspendu, and the Dressage l'Heure Masquée.

Overall theme: A plethora of new timepieces greets you at Rolex, with frontrunners like the new Sea-Dweller, the Yacht-Master II, and the rubber strap Daytonas taking centre stage. The manufacture celebrates 50 years of the Sea-Dweller with a larger 43mm case and the new calibre 3235 with Rolex's celebrated Chronergy escapement. It is also the first Sea-Dweller to come with a Cyclops lens.

Star watch: Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller

Flashback: The first Sea-Dweller was introduced in 1967 for professional divers on the Comex expedition to the Mariana Trench. It started out as a Submariner with a helium escape valve. The first Sea-Dweller was the historical ref. 1665.

Achievement unlocked: The movement Calibre 3235 is backed by 14 patents including the Chronergy escapement. Also, Rolex managed to find a non-invasive way to add a Cyclops lens above the date that does not weaken the crystal's core integrity neither does it compromise the watch's reliability.

Did you know: The Sea-Dweller wording on the dial is printed in red to commemorate the anniversary.

Overall theme: Breitling has basically focused on its core strengths, letting the long heritage of the brand and its main achievements speak for themselves. The Navitimer, for instance, is its horological icon, thanks to strong design and functionality. Having a circular slide rule may not be awfully relevant in this day and age but to the watch loving community, it is probably one of the coolest things to have in a watch. This timepiece received a boost in the technical department this year, as Breitling introduces the new Calibre B03. Other watches launched include the Colt Skyracer featuring the manufacture's proprietary Breitlight material. There is also the talk of the town, the Superocean Heritage II. The collection celebrates 60 years.

Star watch: Navitimer Rattrapante

Did you know: Equipped with a rattrapante complication, Calibre B03 is based on the Breitling in-house chronograph base movement, Calibre B01. Rattrapante is the function also known as split-second chronograph, and allows you to time two events concurrently.

The X factor: This is the first time that the Navitimer line comes with a complicated chronograph function. There are two variations — stainless steel and red gold — and the red gold version is paired with a bronze dial and a sapphire case back.

In other news: The movement powering the Superocean Heritage II is a Tudor-developed calibre, MT5612.

Overall theme: Big for Hublot is the Ferrari partnership and as the Italian carmaker celebrates its 70th anniversary, so does Hublot get to enjoy a bumper crop of Ferrari-designed models. In fact, the Swiss watchmaker actually gave Ferrari carte blanche on a timepiece and the result was a watch called the TechFrame. This tourbillon chronograph comes with a fully skeletonised, aerodynamic case that is lightweight but heavy on technical appeal. Another big theme is sapphire cases where Hublot presented a Spirit of Big Bang kitted out fully in transparent sapphire crystal, as well as two new Big Bang Unico Sapphires but in red and in blue sapphire crystal, both very unique in the luxury watch market. Hublot continues to work very closely with collaborators like Sang Bleu and Italia Independent, and finally the MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis rounds 2017 off to a glorious finish.

Star watch: TechFrame Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph

Did you know: This watch is conceived with the same approach used for designing a car at the Ferrari Design Centre whilst integrating Hublot's watchmaking expertise.

The X factor: Three case variations exist: Titanium, King Gold, and PEEK Carbon, which stands for polyetheretherketone. Due to the extreme skeletonisation of the case, the watch, although large, is comfortable to wear and looks absolutely stunning. Each version is limited to only 70 watches.

In other news: The Classic Fusion Italia Independent collection places first for design audacity and creative ingenuity.

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