Baselworld 2015: Rolex, Patek Philippe Unveil New Watches
So what did we learn from Baselworld 2015? Basel 2015 was not a vintage year for Horology. We suspected for some time now that the design teams of a number of major houses were being shackled by the marketing suits targeting where their surveys and analysis was predicting the next growth market and in reality, they got it very wrong. So what’s the upside for the watch lover and the clever investor? Watch lovers should now turn their attention to great independent brands such as F. P. Journe and Laurent Ferrier to name but two. Here, outstanding design and great mechanical watchmaking expertise is very much alive and well, and I suspect sales for both brands will continue to rise with deserved recognition. Independent brands are no longer the unspoken conversation for geeks. And for the clever investor? It’s very much business as usual. Keep the faith in Philippe Stern complications and vintage Daytona. Prices of these pieces were strong pre Basel and nothing is going to change.
Let’s highlight some of the more interesting pieces launched:
Patek 5524g, Calatrava Pilot Travel Time
Much is going to be written on this piece and much of it negative. Collectors are already making comparisons to Zenith and IWC on the design style, but the problem was two–fold. Firstly, this watch should have been produced in Stainless Steel, and secondly, pricing next to an icon (yes….look at the wait lists) in the 5990 was very, very brave.
Patek 5270 R, the new dial take 3
In the past, I’ve written some supportive words on the ref 5270. It’s been disliked simply because it’s not a 5970, and now Patek has crumbled to public opinion and had a third attempt at this dial. I firmly believe it’s a shame and that Patek should have left it alone to stand on its own two feet. Whether it would have been loved or not over time who knows, but it’s taken away from the achievement of the first in-house perpetual chronograph movement and that was no mean feat.
So Rolex didn’t make a revamped Daytona. That’s no real surprise as those rumours fly every year. What we have here is, in my opinion, a simple attempt to move into the world of black or customized Rolexes that have been seeing strong support over the years. Its bold and radical, but pricing will be key. Too close to a Daytona on a leather strap and its shot in the foot. The Yacht-Master range needed a shot in the arm and perhaps the appeal will be there, although I suspect for the lady owner.
Rolex Calibre 3255
The finer points of this incredible movement I will leave to one side. However, all I will say is that any new Rolex movement is something outstanding considering the reliability and the volumes produced. Launched in a new 40mm Day-Date it’s a great looking watch and also a technological masterpiece. Maybe this is the real Apple Watch……years ahead of its time and worn by the many.