With technology’s advances ruthlessly careening forward, we may wonder whether the future will at some point replace the past — whether, for example, the antique craft of watchmaking, with its history of artisans meticulously perfecting each detail and mechanism by hand, may fall into oblivion, replaced by phone apps and smartwatch screens. But in Basel, Switzerland, a look around the Baselworld 2016 World Watch and Jewellery Show reassures us: the legacy of fine horlogerie is here to stay; added to, rather than detracted from, by technological progress. A fusion of modern engineering and time-honoured practices, the latest crop of timepiece treasures elevates the accessory to a refined art, iconic visions reinterpreted for an all-new age. Here are our six favourite offerings for 2016.
Classique Phase de Lune Dame 9088
Celestial poetry shines in this Classique timepiece imbued with the sophisticated moon phase mechanism, a testament to Breguet’s 240 years of watchmaking expertise. The “grand feu” enamel dial marked with Arabic numerals is a study in clarity, while the blue steel hands are a nod to Breguet’s 1783 classic open-tipped design. Bezel and lugs set with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds; navy blue crocodile leather strap. 45-hour power reserve. 30-metre water resistance.
At Montecristo Jewellers, (604) 263-3611, breguet.com
Ladybird Women Watch
Blancpain marks the “year of the Ladybird,” celebrating 60 years of its exquisite Ladybird collection with a commemorative anniversary model. At the time of its launch in 1956, the Ladybird was equipped with the smallest round movement on the market, for a dainty look that’s still its signature today. Graced with luminous contrasts, the dial showcases an elaborate foliage motif and a bezel studded with 32 diamonds, all on a femme violet crocodile strap. Limited edition of 60 pieces.
At Montecristo Jewellers, (604) 263-3611, blancpain.com
Grande Seconde Off-Centered Onyx Watch
The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Onyx Watch series shines in unforgettable simplicity. The 2 sub-dials, designed by Pierre Jaquet-Droz in the 18th century, depict the lucky number 8, symbolizing balance and harmony. Black onyx infuses the dial with a modern sensibility, and the off-center sub-dial and crown work to create a uniquely dynamic feel.
At Montecristo Jewellers, (604) 263-3611, jaquet-droz.com
Hourstriker “Horse” Watch
Automatons and repeaters are two of the watchmaking industry’s most complex technologies. One of the few high horology brands to use Jaquemarts, Ulysse Nardin is also one of the earliest watchmakers to fuel the rebirth of the striking mechanism. Its new “Horse” edition features hand-carved Jaquemarts on a genuine black onyx dial. With a rare automatic movement, the Hourstriker Horse plays at the hour and half-hour marks. Each time the hammer hits the gong, the horse Jaquemarts perform in concert. Case of 18k rose gold or platinum. 42-hour power reserve. 30-metre water resistance. Limited edition of 28 pieces.
At Lugaro Jewellers, (604) 430-2040, ulysse-nardin.com
J12 Collector Mirror Watch, 38MM
At Chanel Boutique, (604) 682-0522, chanel.com
Laureato Watch, Ref. 81000-11-431-11A
In celebration of its 225th anniversary, Girard-Perregaux returns to its design roots with the original Laureato premise. Over 40 years after the first steel Laureato was introduced, showcasing the brand’s micromechanics expertise, the model shows off its octagonal bezel embedded in a satin-brushed case. The baton-shaped hands have been embellished with a hint of luminescent material, while the dial, lilting from a pale gray to navy blue, is stamped with a Clous de Paris checkerboard pattern. The date appears at 3 o’clock. 46-hour power reserve. 30-metre water resistance. Limited edition of 225 pieces.
At Palladio, (604) 685-3885, girard-perregaux.com
Produced and Chinese Text by Rui Chen English Text by Kate Missine