Baselworld 2019: Best Watches Of Day One

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Standout pieces from Rolex, TAG Heuer, Bulgari and Tudor.

ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL YACHT-MASTER 42
ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL YACHT-MASTER 42

In the lead up to Baselworld 2019, watch aficionados were laying their bets on what Rolex would release this year. And with a tantalising teaser posted a few days ago, revealing a dial with Mercedes hands and round indexes, many had assumed a new Submariner would be announced. But some astute observers also suspected it might be a Yacht-Master instead and, as we now know, they were right.

Embracing a monochromatic theme, Rolex’s new Yacht-Master 42 rocks black on black on black. That’s a black lacquer dial with a matte black ceramic bezel AND black Oysterflex bracelet. For the first time in the Yacht-Master collection, the model comes with an 18K white gold case and bezel with raised graduations and numerals. Powering the watch is the Calibre 3235, also found in the Sea-Dweller and Datejust 41 models. If you like your sports watches strong but understated, this one’s for you.

TAG HEUER AUTAVIA
TAG Heuer Autavia 2019

Coined by Charles-Edouard Heuer as a portmanteau of ‘automobile’ and ‘aviation’, TAG Heuer’s Autavia now gets its own collection, cementing its place in the brand’s family of timepieces that includes the Carrera and Aquaracer, amongst others. This year’s models are available in seven references with a variety of dial colours, bezels and straps.

At the heart of the new Autavia is TAG Heuer’s breakthrough carbon-composite hairspring, which debuted in the Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph earlier this year. The lightweight, anti-magnetic and incredibly resistant material is said to trump the other cutting-edge synthetic material, silicon, where robustness is concerned. We love the high legibility of the dials, with a smoked treatment that adds a nice vintage touch—fitting for a model with so much history. With a starting price of about S$5,500 for a watch boasting a state-of-the-art proprietary innovation, we think this TAG Heuer is extremely good value for money.

BVLGARI OCTO FINISSIMO CHRONOGRAPH GMT AUTOMATIC
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic

If there’s one collection that consistently wins awards year after year, it’d be Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo. This year, the model has set another world record—this time for the thinnest automatic chronograph in the history of watchmaking. At just 3.3mm thin, the watch takes all your preconceived notions about chunky chronographs and turns them upside-down. But not only is the watch incredibly thin, it also comes with a GMT function, which makes the feat all the more impressive.

The home time is set via a pusher at nine o’clock and read in the sub-dial at three o’clock. Featuring a 24-hour index display, you’ll know when it’s day or night back home. The chronograph minutes counter is set at six o’clock, with a small seconds sub-dial at nine o’clock. We like that the watch combines functionality and style in the most efficient way possible, and also remains true to the Octo DNA.

TUDOR BLACK BAY CHRONO S&G
Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G

The Black Bay collection has always been Tudor’s bestselling and most sought-after family of watches, and the brand knows it. So this year, they’ve come out with guns blazing and launched four new Black Bay collections. Of the lot, the one we like best - and which we think will probably do very well - is the Black Bay Chrono S&G.

When the Black Bay Chrono was introduced two years ago, it was met with wild enthusiasm. After all, it was the first chronograph in the beloved Black Bay family, so a steel and gold upgrade is certainly not unexpected. This version comes with a slightly slimmer case profile and uses the same calibre—MT 5813—with column wheel, vertical clutch and 70-hour power reserve. The black and gold aesthetics offer an elegant vintage appeal, especially when offered in the leather bund strap.

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Melissa Kong

Managing Editor

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".