Baselworld 2017: Best Watches From Day 5Written by Melissa Kong
Tissot – Heritage Banana Centenary Edition
To mark Tissot’s 100th year exhibiting at Baselworld, the brand is launching the centenary edition of its Heritage Banana timepiece. As you can probably tell, the quirky moniker is attributed to the curved case shape of the watch, which bears resemblance to the contour of the fruit.
Legend behind this this timepiece has it that a gold watch exported to Russia in 1916 was sent to Tissot for maintenance the following year. However, Tissot wasn’t able to return the watch as the Russian Revolution broke out and there were gold watch import restrictions. The Heritage Banana Centenary Edition commemorates that difficult journey that the watch took between Russia and Le Locle.
Based on the same shape as the original gold watch, this new quartz-driven edition comes with an alligator strap in chocolate brown or black, with some versions featuring a deployant clasp on a vintage dark brown leather strap. Because of the thin and curved case profile, the dial numerals appear in various sizes to fit the silhouette of the case. And as a reminder of its lineage, the Tissot heritage logo is emblazoned on the dial, giving the watch an old school appeal.
Grand Seiko – SBGR305
Like what Lexus is to Toyota, the Grand Seiko is now a distinct and separate brand from Seiko—a move in the right direction, we think, since the Grand Seiko collections have always leaned more towards the loftier end of horology than the mass market Seiko watches.
To mark the occasion, the brand is re-introducing limited editions of the first Grand Seiko created in 1960. This year, the re-issues come in platinum, yellow gold and stainless steel, with an increased case diameter of 38mm from 36mm.
A separate modern re-interpretation (above) of the first Grand Seiko is also available in a new automatic Calibre 9S68 which offers a larger date aperture, and a new case material exclusive to Grand Seiko—Brilliant Hard Titanium. While it’s as light as pure titanium, the new material twice as hard as stainless steel, and offers increased scratch resistance.
In a marked difference from the original, the new model offers a transparent caseback through which the new calibre with its high quality finish can be appreciated. This piece is limited to 968 pieces and slated to retail for US$7,500, from July 2017.
Luminox – Leatherback Sea Turtle
For those who want the swag of Luminox's iconic Navy SEAL collection but at a more affordable price point, the quartz-powered Leatherback Sea Turtle's starting price of S$395 will certainly help hasten your decision making process.
But lest you think this means compromising on quality, the collection retains the incredibly strong Carbon Compound case that Luminox is known for. It also features a scratch-resistant mineral crystal, stainless steel double-gasket protected crown, and is water resistant up to 100m.
A brand hallmark, the Luminox Light Technology offers unrivalled visibility in the dark, thanks to a self-powered illumination system of Tritium tubes. In standard Luminox watches, 12 Tritium tubes serve as hour markers but for the Leatherback Sea Turtle collection, half the number of tubes are used, marking every alternate hour. While this helps lower the price of the watch, visibility in low light conditions is not compromised so you can be sure you’re getting lots of bang for your buck.
Oris – Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition
You just HAVE to check this out if you are a fan of vintage timepieces. While there are examples of tribute watches that are void of soul and full of kitsch, this Oris offering bears proper lineage and is a well-executed send-up of the original.
As the name implies, the watch pays homage to a 1917 Oris model that was the brand’s first-ever pilot’s wristwatch (the company had started making pocket watches for pilots in the early 1910s). Storied past aside, this tribute creation stole our hearts with its faithful replication of the original – from the rounded case with wire-style lugs, onion crown and thin leather cuff strap, to old-school Oris logo, vintage silver dial, hands and numerals.
The watch’s 1,917-piece limited edition cachet is further accentuated by its bubble caseback embossed with the ‘OWC' (Oris Watch Company) logo and a special presentation leather pouch with additional strap. The best bit? At approximately S$3,500, this piece of history is quite a steal.
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".