3 Big Baselworld 2016 Surprises: Seiko Tourbillon, De Grisogono Samsung Smartwatch And Monsieur De Chanel
I’ve been attending Baselworld for more than a quarter of a century now, so it is pretty hard to surprise me when I show up at a brand’s stand to see new timepieces.
Generally, I will already have at least an inkling of what to expect, and in today’s world of social media I may have already had any surprise spoiled just by flipping through Instagram or Facebook over the course of the fair.
In two of the following cases, I did have such an inkling already thanks to social media. But in one I was completely and totally caught unawares. So let’s start with that one.
Surprise No. 1: the de Grisogono Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch
Imagine my surprise upon arriving for our appointment at de Grisogono and expecting to see the new Lady Retro, Ian and I are ushered into another room to chat with a Samsung specialist.
Yes, indeed, the Geneva-based jewelry and watch brand had gone into a full-blown partnership with Samsung to make an expensive, precious-metal luxury smartwatch with all the bells and whistles – including the signature black diamonds and high-quality galuchat strap that are de Grisogono’s special hallmarks.
While this watch (and most of the brand’s output) is aimed at women, men are also invited to purchase it. And, truthfully, it’s not really all that exclusively feminine.
The Samsung Gear S2 by de Grisogono holds a charge for two to three days (depending on how much it’s used), is water-resistant to 1.5 meters, and has a fully rotating bezel.
And, for the Apple fans out there, an ios-compatible version is scheduled for late 2016.
Despite being outfitted with “smart” technology, this watch does have a future: the owner can send it in to exchange the connected electronics for a quartz movement at any time.
For more information, please visit www.degrisogono.com/s2-glamorously-smart.
Quick Facts Samsung Gear S2 by de Grisogono
Case: 41 x 45 x 13 mm, pink gold set with 56 white diamonds (approx. 1.2 ct) and black DLC-coated stainless steel set with 71 black diamonds (approx. 1.8 ct)
Dial: 1.2’’ display, circular super AMOLED, 360 x 360, 302 ppi displaying four virtual dial choices
Movement: battery-driven connected technology with 4 GB internal memory and 512 MB RAM; wireless charging
Strap: black galuchat
Price: 14,900 Swiss francs (including tax)
Surprise No. 2: Seiko’s artful Fugaku Tourbillon
I have known that Seiko’s Micro Artist division had the capability to make refined timepieces like this ever since my trip to Japan to research 12 Faces of Time, which featured Kenji Shiohara as one of the book’s 12 featured watchmakers.
Shiohara was the Seiko watchmaker who spearheaded the creation of the Micro Artist division, which had already come out with a superbly finished minute repeater powered by a Seiko spring drive movement. The Micro Artists’ creations are always marketed under Seiko’s Credor brand name.
In the West it is at times hard to fathom that Seiko is capable of the ultra-luxurious Credor artistry because the brand is mostly known for its inexpensive quartz and kinetic timepieces. And, indeed, up to this tourbillon the highly limited Credor pieces were only available inside of Japan.
This tourbillon changes all that. One of its eight limited pieces will be available for sale through the New York City Seiko boutique; the other seven will be available at other global Seiko boutiques.
I will come back to this timepiece in more depth soon. But for now, please just enjoy its unique beauty and artistry.
Quick Facts Seiko Credor Fugaku Tourbillon
Case: 43.1 x 8.8 mm, platinum with 43 blue sapphires (3.22 ct)
Dial: engraved white and yellow gold with Urushi lacquer, mother-of-pearl, Yakogai (turban shell)
Functions: hours, minutes
Movement: manually wound Seiko Caliber 6830 with one-minute tourbillon, 21,600 vph frequency, 37-hour power reserve
Limitation: 8 pieces
Surprise No. 3: Chanel and Romain Gauthier
We brought you the full story of Chanel’s relationship with Romain Gauthier and the resulting Monsieur wristwatch at the start of Baselworld 2016 in Surprising Ties That Bind: Chanel And Romain Gauthier.
This wristwatch doesn’t stop being surprising, though, even after the shock of the unexpected relationship wears off. In fact, the Monsieur really became the talk of the fair in 2016 in a most positive way.
Quick Facts Monsieur de Chanel
Case: 40 x 10.4. mm, beige or white gold
Movement: manually wound Caliber 1 with twin serially operating spring barrels for a three-day power reserve; 4 Hz / 28,800 vph
Functions: jump hours, retrograde minutes, seconds
Limitation: 300 pieces total, 150 in Chanel’s signature beige gold and 150 in white gold
Price: €31,500 for beige gold; €33,000 for white gold
Addendum: an earlier version of this post was originally entitled “My 4 Big Baselworld 2016 Surprises” and contained a segment on Tudor retrofitting existing Black Bay models with the new in-house caliber. The information contained therein was, in fact, erroneous and therefore removed.
Also published on Medium.