Baselworld 2019: Highlights from Rolex, Chopard, Hublot and Chanel
You don't have to be a complete watch nerd to appreciate a beautiful watch. Especially women's watches, because luxury maisons these days have gotten so effing good at designing them. Could be a brand new dial design or colour, maybe a novel approach to setting precious stones, or a special movement conceived for women exclusively... we are definitely spoiled for choice. And with us here giving you the 411 on the latest Baselworld releases, you'll have much more to go on with than "I'll have what she's having."
While the men are getting all worked up over the Rolex Yacht Master 42mm and the bicolour Sea-Dweller, us women can take our time with this bevy of feminine models. A major highlight is the Day-Date 36 which debuts a new dial featuring a concentric gradient design. Hour markers are studded with trapeze-cut diamonds.
This watch comes in yellow, white or Everose gold, each with a special dial material. In addition to green ombre, Rolex has also used brown ombre, as well as decorative stones such as pink opal and turquoise. Glamazons, don't miss the full diamond pave model featuring rainbow baguette-cut sapphire hour markers. 'Cos if you can't get the rainbow Daytona, this piece makes for an excellent consolation prize.
Speaking of the Daytona, this year Rolex releases one in yellow gold with what looks like a clouded leopard print-inspired dial. Its dial combines black lacquer with paved diamonds and champagne-coloured sub-dials. More diamonds, trapeze-cut this time, surround the bezel along with eight more for the hour markers. It's not a watch you'll fall in love with immediately, but you'll get there.
Other Rolex novelties include the Datejust 36 and Datejust 31, both of which offer new dial colours and material combinations.
The perennially popular Happy Sport is Chopard's best-selling range, and for good reason. Who doesn't like being Happy? This iconic timepiece with diamonds that move freely above the dial already exists in countless guises but Chopard has still yet to run out of ideas - imagine that! This year's references are extra glamorous. Four new models join the fray, bringing a light dusting of blue sapphires into the family, plus one full diamond pave oval piece and two round models in steel and gold. The Happy Sport Oval also offers new steel and bi-colour steel and gold designs on the original galet style bracelet.
Can't get enough of rainbow gemstones? This year's Imperiale Joaillerie Rainbow grants your wish. In rose gold with a white or grey mother-of-pearl dial, those multi-coloured sapphires encircle the bezel in the company of baguette and brilliant cut white diamonds.
Chopard's L.U.C collection is its premium line offering the best of traditional haute horlogerie. The L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony showcases a dazzling array of handcraftsmanship including gold engraving, transfer printing and mother-of-pearl cutting. Eight peonies in pink monochrome shades fill up the dial with their enormous petals, an ode to the ephemeral as this gorgeous flower blossoms only in the Spring. On the movement, more artisan work is revealed, where the traditional art of Fleurisanne engraving covers the plates and bridges.
It's another vibrant year for Hublot, as the brand releases a plethora of collaborative timepieces made for all rhymes and reasons. Most of the feminine models were showcased at the (fairly) recent Geneva Days event staged the same week as SIHH. We're especially loving the Big Bang One Click Calavera Catrina. An homage to José Guadalupe Posada's artwork known as the Dapper Skeleton, this 39mm Big Bang is a festival of colour and a barrel of laughs - perfect for those who like a bit of satire in their luxury timepieces.
The Big Bang Sang Bleu One Click Ladies Steel is also a fun piece on the wrist. Vibing especially hard with body art fiends, it is one badass timepiece and a prime ladies' watch that's unlike any other. Because who says women only want lace and florals?
But if classical creations are what you're looking for then the Big Bang One Click and Spirit of Big Bang are now dressed in blue with diamond studded bezels. Indeed, the manufacture has dialled back on the special effects here but still the archetypal Hublot aesthetic remains instantly recognisable, even from afar.
Yes, it is a big year for the Chanel J12, as the de facto fashion girl's timepiece celebrates 20 stylish years, but the good news doesn't end there. Standout novelties from the maison's other collections are about to make our hearts sing – and wallets cry.
The Boy.Friend line is gaining loads of traction not just among ladies but, with the introduction of 2018's Calibre 3, the fashion-forward men too. For 2019, Chanel plays around with artistic dials inspired by its signature tweed jackets.
Code Coco gets an update as well, with variations created in beige gold with diamonds and steel with diamonds. There are also high jewellery models studded with brilliant diamonds or baguette cut rubies, and steel as well as ceramic iterations extending the collection.
Ladies who love the Chanel Premiere may also expect fresh designs pairing the dainty octagonal case with black velvet in the Premiere Velours, which comes with or without diamonds on its yellow gold and titanium case.