01 Apr Top 3 Unique Watches from BaselWorld, 2019: Luxury at Its Finest
Submitted by our guest:
Chris Norman, Lux918
Let’s face it–unique watches are a fascination to many of us. While there are a number of lists put out every year during and after the biggest watch show in the world, they generally focus on the best or most exciting pieces with zero regard to whether they are watches anybody is likely to ever buy due to their respected price points.
So, for this list I went a different route to highlight 3 of my favorite unique or overlooked releases, from this year’s show all of which are supposed to list under $10,000 (Yes, I know $10k isn’t cheap by any means but setting that as a cap gives lots of options to work with.. there will be plenty on here for way less).
NOMOS Glashutte Club Sport Neomatik – $4,060
While NOMOS is known for clean and somewhat spartan dials, that are more appropriate for a day at the office than the outdoors, or any place they may get beaten up a bit, the Club Sport is essentially the antithesis to their normal design structure, as its got a fairly large 42mm case, water resistance to a very dive friendly 300M and a Stainless Steel bracelet that takes some ques from the stretch-bracelets of decades past and it definitely appears to be a watch that can handle some actual wear.
Now it still has the clean lines that NOMOS is known for just in a more sport-friendly everyday wear watch, and I like that as it breaks the mold of the traditional divers piece with their large case dimensions and generally complex dials offering up all sorts of features the average consumer is never going to use (if they even know how).
I also appreciate that it maintains a level of engineered and functional design that line up with the other design oriented watches in their collection, while creating a case that can be both slim and still be capable of handling all of a persons day-to-day wear and even a dive or 2, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Zenith Pilot Type 20 “Extra Special Silver” – $7,700
Now when you hear someone say that the case is silver, you most likely assume I am referring to Steel & while normally that is accurate in this case the watch is actually made of Silver not Steel, Titanium, or any of the more traditional watchmaking materials. Zenith has instead designed their first watch wherein the entire case is made of Solid Silver with a Dial done in a brushed Silver and some very unique riveting details on the dial to really nail the pilots watch aesthetic.
This is one of more than a few Pilot Type 20 models to use warmer and less common materials that will develop their own unique patina based off of the people that wear them and how they are used. A few years ago they came out with a Bronze variation which was a major success and helped to fuel the vintage/heritage movement within the industry and definitely was a main driver for the rise of the Bronze watch case, and hopefully with this gorgeous Silver version, there will be several other watchmakers that jump on board and produce their own unique variations.
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual – $10,200 (or $7,200 for Steel)
While Bucherer is definitely not a household name (unless you are really into watches) it should be as they produce some of the best handmade and complex watches in the same price category as the fairly basic Rolex Submariner. This new release comes in the form of a very clean Annual Calendar Chronograph that also manages to fit a date display in their as well without making it look crowded or difficult to read.
The entire design is inspired by their designs of the 60’s without being a full on “re-issue” and still maintains all of the proportions we like to see in modern watches. It does this by utilizing a 41mm case with fairly small rectangular pushers instead of the typical cylindrical ones found on almost every chronograph of the past decade.
The BiCompax features an in-house automatic movement, a power reserve of 42 Hours, and a gorgeous 2-tone Rose Gold & SS Case on a Cognac Leather Strap all for a hair over $10k (MSRP). There truly aren’t many brands that produce a comparable product anywhere near that price point, which is why if you don’t know who they are you should really look into Carl F. Bucherer.