The Best of Basel

Evan Rast shares the fantastic finds from this year’s edition of the world’s biggest watch show

The Oyster Perpetual Milgauss from Rolex

There’s no such thing as down time when it comes to Baselworld. An action-packed week of previews and launches usually equals an avalanche of information, but to any watch aficionado, this yearly rendezvous is sheer enjoyment.

Now, if it was about mind-bending innovation, I can’t say this year’s spread was entirely impressive. Many of the pieces presented this time around comprised of improvements and variations of existing models, which of course, is also not entirely bad; innovations, after all - real ones, at least - take time. This year’s pieces do score good points on aesthetics, with many brands going as far as introducing new, groundbreaking materials for their watches, not only making the pieces more appealing, but also stronger and less vulnerable to scratches.

We’ll be bringing these watches to you in parcels over the next months, but for now, and since we are, after all, a sporty bunch (at least I’d like to think so), I thought it apt to present a few of the pieces that would suit our active lifestyles. There were quite a few, in fact, ranging from those rugged, intentionally worn-out, vintage-looking pieces to those that were all about robustness.

Rolex, for one, came out with a number of these watches, such as the latest version of the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II, which this time has been fitted with a two-colour Cerachrom bezel insert in red and blue, but just the same stays faithful to the codes of the original 1955 model. This unique Cerachrom bezel insert - first introduced in 2005 - was made using a process developed and patented by Rolex. While this special bezel certainly makes the watch more handsome, it also serves a more noble purpose of making it virtually scratch-resistant, highly corrosion-resistant, and keeping the colours intact in spite the ultraviolet rays. The piece’s 40mm case - whose mid-section is made from a solid block of 18K white gold - is built for depths of up to 100 meters, while its winding crown has been fitted with a Triplock triple waterproof system. And at the heart of this remarkable piece is the COSC-certified, self-winding Calibre 3186, which enables the watch’s second time zone, date and perpetual calendar.


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