Monsters, machines, mechanical marvels and masterpieces – Part 5

May 2012

(Continued from Part 4) Not to be forgotten …
There are a few brands and watches that I would have liked to include, but my colleagues at Europa Star insisted that they got there before me. So, in no special order here are some of the memorable pieces that nevertheless I have to mention …

Blacksand and the deliciously elegant Continuity Koala Collection. My preference was for the model in white gold with the diamond-set bezel and the painted and cloisonné enamelled koalas.

Boucheron for its Hibiscus Tourbillon in white gold with a hummingbird and a flower with pavé diamonds, blue and pink sapphires, white mother-of-pearl dial and hand-wound mechanical movement with a flying tourbillon.



Ressence and the highly original timepiece with its revolving dial plate that points out the minutes with a central hand and orbiting sub-dials inside the main dial plate indicating the hours, seconds and a.m/p.m. indication.

Frédérique Constant for two watches: the Black Beauty Double Heart Beat. A beautiful rendition highlighting a mechanical movement through heart-shaped apertures and enhanced by a diamond-set bezel for the utmost sophistication; the Index Moon Timer with its FC-330 mechanical movement and moon phases at 6 o’clock and circular date indicator using a white hand with a red-tipped arrowhead pointer.

Peter Tanisman and two elegant timepieces each with a spinning cylinder containing synthetic red rubies for the Red Passion model and a sunburst guilloché cylinder with two diamonds for the Black Attitude.

1001 by Ressence
1001 by Ressence

INDEX MOON TIMER by Frédérique Constant
INDEX MOON TIMER by Frédérique Constant


Franc Vila watches have a very bold and distinctive look. This year Franc Vila introduced a melodic blackened titanium 5 Minute Repeater in his Superligero Concept series and a Cobra Automatic Chronograph with Big Date in blackened steel and titanium that outweighed the Repeater but is very comfortable on the wrist. The dial is carbon fibre with a distinctive guilloché pattern and the three counters, hours at 9 o’clock, minutes at 6 o’clock and seconds at 3 o’clock, along with the date aperture at 12 o’clock are very legible.
To meet the ever-increasing demand by the ladies for mechanical timepieces, Franc Vila has launched the No 1 Tourbillon Planétaire in DLC DieHard Extreme steel. It has two rubies on the lower part of the combined elliptic and circular bezel and sapphire crystals front and back. The dial is in black mother-of-pearl embellished with Clous de Paris and red numerals. There is a 120-hour power reserve indicator and the suspended tourbillon is colourfully prominent at 6 o’clock in red, gold and steel. As Franc Vila states, “This is an ultra-limited edition of 8 pieces.”

Luminox had a miniature submarine on their stand so I met up with Andreas Lehmann, the Marketing and Sales Director, to find out why. Renowned for its ultra-rugged watches, the Luminox brand has teamed up with the intrepid underwater explorer and extreme diver Scott Cassell and, working together, they have created special edition watches that will function and not fail during his deep-sea dives and his world record long-distance attempt.
Scott Cassell gave a talk on his underwater expeditions and his continuing battle to preserve the deteriorating condition of the oceans, closing with “The oceans need warriors. Not more words!”
Checking out the ambience inside the miniature submarine with Scott Cassell in attendance, I can only admire his fortitude and dedication to rest entombed in this metal shell for hours on end hundreds of feet below the surface of the sea. He deserves all the Luminox watches they give him!

COBRA by Franc Vila
COBRA by Franc Vila


Pilo & Co Genève presented its new Capone Collection, an imposing 44 mm x 52 mm tonneau-shaped day/date timepiece. In stainless steel or black PVD it has a domed sapphire crystal with an internal loupe over a very distinctive red dial and a transparent caseback. The watch is equipped with an ETA 2834 day/date movement with a screw-down crown.

David Van Heim, Pilo’s sister brand offered two new timepieces. The Omina unisex double time zone watch with day/date and 24-hour indication and two crowns, one of which has a protective guard. Water resistant to 30 metres, the watch is available in either rose gold or black PVD with a silicon bracelet. The other new model is in the Irea Collection, a Limited Edition (500) diver’s watch equipped with a mechanical movement, a ceramic dial with legible numerals and indices, a seconds counter at 9 o’clock and luminous hands. The watch is water resistant to 50 metres and comes with a silicon bracelet.
For those readers new to the Pilo and David Van Heim collections, the prices are highly competitive, a factor worth remembering in today’s difficult economic climate.

Marvin, having been shuffled around various BaselWorld locations through no fault of its own, could be found this year in Hall 4. As if to underline the fact that everything is not as it should be even if it is in black and white, the brand launched a black and white version of its Melton 160 Cushion Collection that contrasted dramatically with the new vibrant multi-coloured models. Reminiscent of something from the Commedia dell’Arte of the Renaissance period, this half white and black watch with a dividing line running vertically through the watch and strap, is Marvin’s interpretation of “Boy meets Girl”.
The watches are available with either a Sellita SW200 automatic movement or a Ronda 715 quartz movement, both with 3 hands and date. In stainless steel (42 x 42 mm) this cushioned-shaped collection has a guilloché dial, bold numerals and indices, an ultra-resistant sapphire crystal and is water resistant to 50 metres. The collection was designed by Sébastien Perret and Jean-François Ruchonnet and the colourful options make the watches perfect for those who enjoy coordinating their summer and autumnal outfits.

CAPONE by Pilo & Co.
CAPONE by Pilo & Co.

IREA DIVER by David Van Heim
IREA DIVER by David Van Heim


When I began writing this article I have to admit as to feeling a little disappointed and negative about this year’s BaselWorld. Having now completed it, I can see from the illustrations that it really wasn’t as lacklustre as I first thought.
My comments about the monsters still stands, but as I toiled through the numerous press releases and then plugged in and unplugged all the USB keys, company by company, it dawned on me that I was less dissatisfied with those hectic few days in springtime than I had anticipated.
To those watch companies that supplied a press kit that included a USB key, thank you. To those that made me go to their website to download illustrations, please think again because in some cases it took hours rather than minutes and as you’re in the business, time is of the essence.
To my cigar-smoking friend Guillaume Tetu, I’m delighted both for you and the company that a group of shareholders represented by Georges-Henri Meylan had the good sense to ensure the future of Hautlence and I look forward to following the evolution of your timepieces.
To the organisers of BaselWorld, I look forward to the “new” show in 2013. However, I am a little worried about its conception since, if I understand correctly, there will be 20,000 square metres less than this year, watch brands will have larger stands and exhibiting costs will be between twenty and thirty per cent higher.
I know BaselWorld is supposed to be the Greatest Show on Earth as circus people emphasise, but in addition to acrobats and performing seals there are always the little people. But will they still be participating next year? If not, send in the clowns! (Continued... Part 6)

Source: Europa Star June - July 2012 Magazine Issue