Baselworld 2019 Predictions: Complication WatchesWritten by Alvin Wong
What kind of technical complications will steal the spotlight?
It has been a while since the flood of multi-complications from the early Noughties has receded, leaving in its wake a back-to-basics approach for technical offerings. Finely tuned minute repeater here, exquisitely crafted tourbillons, solidly made perpetual calendars – all performance enhancing wares that, while still supremely executed and hotly coveted, didn’t quite rock the boat and incite debate.
Taking cues from brands from SIHH, which saw the return of highly technical ‘talking pieces’, can we expect the same from the more audacious brands from Baselworld? One brand that doesn’t shy from ostentation, technical or otherwise, is Jacob & Co. Though not an obvious go-to for most collectors, the resurgence of flamboyant complications could well start with niche marques such as Jacob & Co. who display a greater appetite for adventure.
Or something from Hublot, perhaps? After all, it has been two years since the brand issued one of its wildly creative ‘Masterpiece’ watch – the last was the MP-09 bi-axis tourbillon with five-day power reserve.
But even if the complications are ‘basic’ – such as ‘just’ a tourbillon or a perpetual calendar – we might see more ornamental approach to their presentation, particularly via skeletonisation and openworked dials; as well as the stretching of technical and performance limits of those complications with new materials or advanced movement construction.
However, if we were to stick our necks out and nominate one technical feature that would dominate the headlines at Baselworld 2019, we would put our money on the tourbillon returning to the spotlight. After 2018, with GMT and world-time watches taking the pedestal, we think that the tourbillon feature in enough watches to send our peers into overdrive. Though not as practical as a GMT, the tourbillon evokes deep-seated romanticism and horological sophistication as an evergreen feature that is ready for its return to the big stage.
Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.