BASELWORLD wasn’t built in a day [Video]

June 2013

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 A Quantum leap forward in time

Also made in America is California-based, Ritmo Mundo. The brand launched a new Quantum collection that differs quite dramatically from its previous collections.

Ali Soltani, the founder and President of the Ritmo Time Group, explained that the Quantum collection represents a new direction in Italian styling at Ritmo Mundo and required two years of research and development before going into production. Available in two sizes and three models, the Quantum watches feature a mixed metal combination of a stainless-steel case (50mm or 43mm) with the addition of vibrant coloured aluminium bezel accents.

Quantum Collection by Ritmo Mundo
Quantum Collection by Ritmo Mundo

Equipped with a Swiss Ronda Quartz chronograph movement, the dials are in matte black carbon fibre with a date window and luminous hands. The black silicone strap has a special double-hole system with a coordinating double tongue buckle and it is fully integrated into the case for a seamless finish making it a comfortable fit suitable for both men’s and women’s wrist sizes. The collection is water resistant to 100 metres.

Ali Soltani said, “The Quantum series is only the beginning of an incredible shift in the Ritmo Mundo brand. After a decade in watchmaking, Ritmo Mundo’s Quantum is now able to meet consumer demands for luxury crafted fine time products that do not have their price end with lots of zeros. Quantum is not only a leap forward in design, but also it’s a leap forward in time.”

 Cobras and skeletons

As usual, Franc Vila presented his latest timepieces in his own inimitable, enthusiastic manner and, as usual, there were innovative features in both the movements and the high-tech blend of materials he uses.

There is a new addition to the Intrepido Collection, the FVi No. 8 Tourbillon Intrepido SuperLigero Skeleton, a hand-wound tourbillon with a 100-hour power reserve in a titanium case with an 18 carat red gold bezel and inserts.

Cobra Chronographe Grand Dateur Automatique by Franc Vila
Cobra Chronographe Grand Dateur Automatique by Franc Vila

Another skeleton to make an appearance was the Cobra “Manual Suspended Skeleton” in titanium, steel and carbon fibre. Its forte is that the skeleton movement is held in place by a system of springs and the barrel is secured with a sliding bar to prevent damage from over winding.
However, the timepiece that caught my eye is the new limited edition Cobra Chronographe Grand Dateur Automatique. The oval case is in titanium with a DieHard Extreme steel and carbon fibre bezel measuring 58mm x 42mm. The chronograph movement is a self-winding Calibre FV8Ch with an exclusive “Gold Concept Rotor” with a 42-hour power reserve and a Big Date function in addition to the hours, minutes and seconds. The dial is in carbon fibre with Arabic numerals and the watch comes with a black rubber strap or a crocodile leather strap with either red or blue stitching to match the hands, numerals and indices.
A veritable tour de force from the master innovator.

 Volte-face and diaphragms in the tent

My last two visits at BaselWorld 2013 were over in the muggy tent so charmingly and incongruously designated as The Palace.

The first was to a company founded in 2010 by Arnaud Faivre and named in honour of Voltaire and his workshops: Manufacture Royale. Here I saw an intriguing timepiece called Volteface 180º featuring two faces that literally perform a volte-face via an original turning system, the case is in silver as in days of yore, is raised and pivots around on an axis at 12 o’clock thus evoking the intended spirit of the pocket-watch in both design and in its use of silver.
The 40mm round case rests on a square plate with trimmed corners and circular-grained decoration. The silver surfaces are protected by a palladium treatment that eliminates oxidation and the screws, on one side of the case and on the attachments, are made of steel. The unusual looking grey dial with its cut-away circles, semi-circles and tourbillion aperture, has a sunray satin finish with hand-polished angles.

The two sides and pivoting movement of Manufacture Royale's Volteface 180º
The two sides and pivoting movement of Manufacture Royale’s Volteface 180º

The Volteface 180° watch houses the new MR03 Manufacture calibre which has a 96-hour power reserve. This manually-wound movement with Côtes de Genève decoration on the brass plate and brass bridges that have a sanded finish, is regulated by the tourbillon which has an escape wheel and anchor in silicon and is equipped with a special module synchronising the display of the hours and minutes on both faces. The watch is water-resistant to 30 metres and comes with an alligator strap.

My last visit of 2013 was to Valbray where I met the co-founders, Olga Corsini and Côme de Valbray. Their association began in 2009 when they met by chance and discovered a mutually profound interest in horology and a shared desire to express their creativity as independents. Olga, a jewellery designer at that time, showed Côme her spiral sea-shells designs and he immediately made the association with the diaphragm system in cameras as photography is one of his passions. Thus, Valbray was born.

Valbray's OCULUS V01 SPECIAL EDITION ARGENTIQUE showing the two positions of the diaphragm.
Valbray’s OCULUS V01 SPECIAL EDITION ARGENTIQUE showing the two positions of the diaphragm.

After two years of research and development, the innovative obturator system of Valbray was finally patented in 2010. The completely hidden system comprises 16 ultra-thin blades integrated into a rotating bezel that opens and closes the diaphragm as the bezel is manually turned. Completely open the blades disappear to reveal a 30 mm dial. The bezel is waterproof and entirely independent of the watch movement.

The entire collection is equipped with a unique automatic Swiss chronograph calibre V.CA1 movement with a rotor based on a ceramic ball bearing, increasing considerably the rotation reliability and the torque transmission. The rotor’s arms are designed to absorb the radial shock and are hand-finished and the mass has a Côtes de Genève decoration. The case is in stainless steel with a sun-brushed bezel and the dial and shutter blades are black – as is the integrated alligator strap.
This complex and intriguing timepiece has a long assembly process, each movement and diaphragm passing through a battery of stringent tests to ensure reliability and accuracy.

As I closed the shutters for the last time, the thought came to me that this was a particularly appropriate gesture to end my few days at BaselWorld.


BaselWorld was amazing this year with its glitz, glamour and technical innovations – and that was just the exhibitor’s architectural creations. There were, of course, thousands of timepieces of which only a handful have been mentioned, but this event is not only about watches, it is also about the people who create them, the designers, the technicians, the manufacturers, the unsung horological heroes who year after year bring something new to our magical universe. It is they who make this annual merry-go-round the must that it is. Watches may be BaselWorld’s raison d’être, but without the people and their innate passion for the intricacies of time you might just as well attend the annual convention of robots. Until next year then…

Please find below a series of pictures taken during BaselWorld 2013 by our Senior Editor, D. Malcolm Lakin

Source: Europa Star June - July 2013 Magazine Issue