Future generations of watch enthusiasts will look back on this time as an era of booming creativity in ladies’ watches. Just as the ’60s and ’70s were a time of intense creativity in men’s watches – giving birth to the Royal Oak, the Daytona, the Nautilus, and other modern classics – this is a time of creative and technical intensity for ladies’ watches. As evidence of this, we present our top-ten list of ladies’ watches introduced at Baselworld 2018, watches that we’ll be reporting on in more depth in the coming weeks.
Patek Ladies’ Chronograph Ref. 7150/250R-001
You might remember when Patek Philippe introduced its first-ever in-house chronograph caliber in a ladies’ watch, the 7071, in 2009. This is the next generation of that reference, replacing the original. The movement, Caliber CH 29-535 PS, is the same. The design is completely different. The 7071 was set with diamonds in the corner spaces between the cushion case and the round dial opening. Now it has a round case with pump-style pushers and a pulsometer scale.
Rolex Datejust 31 Papillon
The mother-of-pearl butterflies on this dial are subtle enough that you have to look closely to see what they are, and as an abstract decoration, they work, especially surrounded by 262 evenly set pavé diamonds. From the combination of brushed/polished links to the diamonds on the bezel to the Superlative Chronometer rated Caliber 2236, this is the nicest high jewelry Datejust in a while.
Harry Winston Premier Winston Automatic Candy
Harry Winston is well positioned to present high jewelry watches, given that it is also a diamond and jewelry company. This fearless gemstone piece is set with rare aqua-blue Paraiba tourmalines, orange spessartite garnets, red spinels, pink and yellow sapphires, diamonds, and green tsavorite garnets.
Chopard Happy Sport Anniversary
This commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Happy Sport, with a new in-house movement, the automatic Chopard 09.01-C, with a frequency of 3.5Hz and a 42-hour power reserve. The mother-of-pearl is naturally textured, in colors matched by the lavender blue, matte pink, or matte white alligator strap.
Seiko Automatic Grand Seiko Ladies’ Caliber
Seiko is one of a growing number of premium brands to develop an automatic caliber proportioned for ladies’ watches. The Caliber 9S25 is 4.49mm thick, for a cased watch that is only 10.8mm thick and 28.7mm wide. The 37 large diamonds on the faceted bezel and raised diamond markers are a bonus on this 50-piece limited edition.
Tudor Ladies 32mm Black Bay
This is an example of a flurry of new, extremely wearable ladies’ watches introduced this year. It has a NATO-style fabric strap, plenty of lume against a black lacquered dial, 150m water resistance, and an automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve. Essentially it is a smaller version of a great men’s watch, which is a good thing.
Corum Heritage Sublissima
Don’t unscrew the antenna cap. We repeat, do not unscrew the antenna cap unless it’s really an emergency.” This was more or less the message that Breitling kept telling me when I had been reviewing the Breitling Emergency II watch a few months ago. If you know anything about what Breitling’s iconic Emergency watch does, then the reason for their caution shouldn’t be hard to understand. The Emergency II view, like the original Emergency prior to it, is a timepiece with a distress beacon built to it — and such performance makes it among the most interesting and arguably “unique” modern high-end watches of our time.There is a lot to say about the Breitling Emergency II watch and its contemporary history, which in certain instances is actually more interesting than the watch itself. You might recall that it was years ago back in 2013 when Breitling first surfaced the Emergency II timepiece. Shortly afterwards, aBlogtoWatch went hands-on with Breitling’s newest “emergency rescue watch” here. It was not till a couple of years later that the watch was available for sale, and much longer then before the Breitling Emergency II was legally available for sale at the United States.Breitling actually had to work with a few distinctive lobbyist-style people in Washington D.C. to persuade the US Government to make an exception for their apparatus communication rules in order for the Emergency II to be lawfully sold. The main reason is because the Emergency II is the only wearable device of its kind to be rechargeable and transmit dual frequency emergency broadcast signs (they call it a “PLB,” which means “Personal Locator Beacon”). I really don’t recall all of the details since it had been a while since I looked in the paperwork, but I believed Breitling within their narrative that the process to find the Emergency II available for sale in the US was both hard and costly.
This watch demonstrates the gemsetting trend toward larger bezel-set diamonds, for a more cocktail-watch look than an everyday look (or perhaps an everyday cocktail look). The 25 round diamonds set here add up to more than 6 carats, perfectly poised against a mother-of-pearl dial.
Chanel Premiere Rock Gold
Chanel is one of several brands that love the concept of the wraparound strap. It works well for them because the strap is inspired by the chain-and-leather construction of its iconic handbag straps – in this instance, the strap is made of treated fabric rather than leather, woven with stainless steel.
Omega Aqua Terra Jewelry
The wave motifs on the dial are alternately rendered in gold or diamond pavé against a guilloched background, which is far more creative than simply covering a dial with diamonds. The marquise ruby hour markers with the matching strap are a brilliant touch. It contains a Master Chronometer movement, Caliber 8807.
Breitling 38mm Navitimer
The press release says this smaller size is designed to “attract a new set of enthusiasts to this horological icon.” Could those be female enthusiasts? This cleaner, non-chronograph version of the Navitimer retains the signature slide rule. The beaded bezel is a beautiful touch.