Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New at Basel

I just returned from Basel, Switzerland--home to the largest watch and jewelry show in the world. For me, it was four days of zipping around from booth to booth to see the absolute latest in timepiece technology and jewelry beauty. Today I thought I'd focus on some brand-spanking-new watches that are not yet available to the public. Are you ready for a first look? 

Above is Breitling's Chrono-Matic 49, a new version of one of the watch brand's most famous models from the late 1960s that was also its first self-winding chrono movement. This is one of the brand's two largest cases available (49mm), and it has quite a few upgrades from the first incarnation. For example: a woven steel bracelet (that doesn't pinch the skin), a high-performance Caliber 14 movement, and even a 500-piece limited edition version available in red gold. Click right here to see Portero's selection of Breitling watches

Maurice Lacroix was one of my favorite stops on the trip, because they are making a special push into the world of women's mechanical watches. Once really only made for men buyers, Lacroix understands that today's woman is interested in more than just aesthetics, and their Starside Sparking Date (above) is a perfect example of that. This 250-piece limited edition watch is run by an automatic movement created in-house (the ML 127 calibre) that features a retrograde date and the phases of the moon. The purple wave, diamond bezel and moonstone accent are merely beautiful bonuses. Click here to see some great Maurice Lacroix pieces available on Portero

Hermes is another "fashion" player getting into serious watchmaking. Their new exclusive H1 movement was entirely designed and developed in-house: It is automatic self-winding, has a 50 hour power reserve including a dual energy source. The Clipper H1 Big Date Sport, above, has a 43.5 mm case, steel bezel, sapphire crystal case and back, and is water resistant to 100 meters. I also love the traditional Hermes features like a topstiched band and orange hands. Can't get enough of Hermes? Click here for a wide range of watches and accessories

Images courtesy Breitling, Maurice Lacroix and Hermes.