Having taken a few days off after Baselworld to recharge my batteries and digest the horological overload, I feel I’m finally ready to offer my “Top 20 Watches” list.

Like-minded horophiles ask me during and after the show what was my favourite watch. It’s difficult enough coming up with a list, let alone choosing one sole watch. There are so many styles, complications, concepts, etc. out there to choose just one. So below you’ll find 20 watches from the show that really made an impression on me, though I’m certain that if you ask me again tomorrow you might find a very different list. Alas, such is the nature of this passion and hobby where choices are more abundant than ever…


Armin Strom One Week Skeleton

Armin Strom’s latest piece definitely put a grin on my face. In-house manufactured skeleton. Using the brand’s proprietary manual-winding ARM009 movement, the Armin Strom One Week Skeleton is not openworked in the traditional sense, but rather a skeleton where the components are designed and manufactured as “open”. What I especially like here is the contrast between the red gold case and anthracite movement plating, as well as the traditionally-styled engraving on an otherwise contemporary piece. This was easily one of the best looking skeletons from Baselworld 2014.



Arnold & Son DSTB

2014 marks the 250th anniversary of the year John Arnold presented his first timepiece to King George III, and given the pace the Arnold & Son brand has been going at lately their Baselworld new releases did not disappoint in the least. My personal favorite was the DSTB (Dial Side True Beat), featuring what has sort of become the brand’s signature True beat or “dead” seconds complication on the dial side of the watch.



Christophe Claret Margot

When I headed up to Christophe Claret’s manufacture almost two months ago, the man hinted that Baselworld 2014 would see the unveiling of his first-ever ladies’ watch. I tend to be a bit skeptical towards ladies watches, as I find that they tend to be feminized versions of men’s watches rather than truly feminine timepieces. So you can understand my excitement when I saw the Margot that was not only feminine in design, but in its mechanical complexity with its interactive “he loves me, he loves me not” daisy complication.



Dietrich 1969 OTC-01

As much as I love the high-end stuff, I’m always on the lookout for accessible, uniquely designed pieces. SevenFriday is one such brand, boasting a really cool design with a very irresistible price tag. Another such brand I got to discover was Dietrich 1969 with the debut OTC-A01 model. Conceived by reputed watch designer Emmanuel Dietrich, the Dietrich 1969 OTC feels more like a watch you’d find in the 10-20k CHF range. OK, it’s got an automatic Miyota movement, but apart from that the detailing and overall finish leave little to be desired; especially at this price point (1’2250 CHF to be precise). Keep your eyes on this brand…



Girard Perregaux Neo Tourbillon

It’s always a challenge trying to reinterpret a classic, yet with the Neo Tourbillon I think Girard Perregaux have hit a homerun. The matte finished Titanium bridges carry over a very a architectural feel, with an overall contemporary feel further highlighted by the raised and domed crystal. I would love to see this in a white (or grey) metal case.



H. Moser & Cie Venturer

So you might have noticed by now that I’m not normally one for time-only “dress” watches as we call them, but I did find the new Venturer line from H. Moser & Cie absolutely breathtaking. There’s something about the brand’s signature Swiss-German clean aesthetics paired with a smaller case, with a very pronounced domed sapphire crystal, not to mention the domed vintage-inspired dials.



HUBLOT Classic Fusion Cathedral Minute Repeater

Looking beyond the football-themed takeover by the FIFA 2014 World Cup at the brand’s Baselworld booth, Hublot had several interesting offerings in their more subtle Classic Fusion collection. The most impressive to me was the Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater, using the second such movement from the brand’s high-complications department within the manufacture. What I especially like about this one is how the sliding activator for the minute repeater has been integrated into the “ear” of the case just under the bezel.



HYT H2 Titanium White Gold Blue

HYT’s hydro-mechanical micro-fluid system still fascinates me. While we can’t expect the brand to come out with a totally new watch every year, new colors and material combinations are certainly one way to develop existing offerings. It might not sound like much, but there’s actually a lot more that goes into offering new fluid colors than simply switching up pigments. I absolutely lived the blue fluid in the H2 in Titanium and White Gold. My photos just can’t capture its vibrance.



Jacob & Co Astronomia Tourbillon

I never thought I’d feature a Jacob & Co watch on TheHorophile.com, let alone on my favorites from Baselworld list! But the Astronomia Tourbillon has to be one of the most striking watches I got to handle at the fair. Besides the out-of-this-world (no pun intended) movement, the case or rather the sapphire crystal made my heart beat a little faster.



Jämes C. Pellaton Marine Chronometer wristwatch and pocket watch

You just never know what you’re going to bump into in the smaller display spaces in Baselworld. On my way to see Cabestan who were showcasing in the Ramada hotel, I couldn’t help myself from wandering over the the Jämes C. Pellaton stand (actually it was just a table and display case) to get a closer look at their Marine Chronometer wrist and pocket watches. Aside from the atypical movement design, the finishing was just impeccable.



JEANRICHARD Terrascope Bronze

If you’ve been reading The Horophile for some time now, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the JEANRICHARD brand, and especially the Terrascope line (here’s a review of the blue-dial version I bought almost a year ago). Clean lines, modern proportions and aesthetics that will still look good in years to come. For Baselworld the brand showed some new variants, including this erratically brushed copper/bronze dial with a matching ostrich strap. There’s a very “raw” and earthy look about it that I find incredibly enticing.



Konstantin Chaykin Carpe Diem

Russian watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin never ceases to amaze me, and perhaps his latest creation, the “Carpe Diem” takes the cake. With a memento mori vibe, the Carpe Diem depicts the scythe-wielding Father Time aka Chronos from Greek mythology with an hourglass that displays the hours in 10-minute intervals. It’s more of a mechanical sculpture than a watch really.



Linde Werdelin Oktopus Moonlight

Some of you might remember my very first review here, and that was of the Linde Werdelin Spidolite Tech II Green. While all the hype was on the ultra-light carbon fiber case and ceramic bezel, few of us paid any real attention to the truly cutting-edge aspect of the watch, and that was it’s ALW inner case, a proprietary alloy that’s lighter than Titanium yet harder than steel. So for Baselworld this year, Linde Werdelin decided to bring ALW in center stage with the Oktopus Moonlight, with a case made entirely of the stuff. It has to be seen and handled in person to believe. From a visual aspect I’m normally not a fan of white watches, but with the ALW it works really well, bringing out an experimental space-age look to the piece.



MB&F Starfleet Machine

Not exactly a watch, but a timepiece that ticks all the right boxes for the modern horophile and the childish geek within. The Starfleet Machine is a sci-fi inspired desk clock unlike any other, produced in collaboration with clockmakers l’ Épée 1839. Another really cool piece of “kinetic art” from MB&F, proving that their imagination knows no bounds.Did I mention the 20-second retrograde laser canons?



MCT Sequential Two

I’ve always been a fan of MCT’s revolving prism sequential hour display, conjuring images of those revolving billboards from back in the day. While I loved the movement, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the square case. MCT remedied this with the new Sequential 2 with not-only an impressive round case, but also an in-house designed and manufactured automatic movement.



Patek Philippe 5990/1A

I honestly didn’t know what to make of this one at first sight. I’ve always been a fan of the Nautilus line, but the 5980 was never quite my cup of tea. It wasn’t so much about turning the time-only Genta design into a bulkier chronograph, but more on the fact that the chronograph registers weren too bold. With the 5990, Patek have taken the best of the 5980 as well as the Aquanaut 5164 Travel Time and produced a piece that is both feature-packed yet relatively understated. I love how they’ve cleverly integrated the Travel Time pushers into the case design.



Ressence Type 1

After the award winning UFO-like Type 3 from last year, I was curious to see what Belgian independent brand Ressence would come out with for Baselworld. To my delight, Ressence have revisited the Type 1, incorporating some of the details from the Type 3 such as the crown-less construction in a more discrete and affordable package.



Speake-Marin Velsheda

Going from being an independent watchmaker to creating an independent brand is no easy task, but Peter Speake-Marin has done a fantastic job in accomplishing just that. One of the new pieces that really caught my eye was the Velsheda, a mono-hand watch with looks inspired by a marine compass.  To add a bit of animation to the dial, two superimposed ‘topping tool’ motifs, one of which is the constant seconds indicator, overlap to create constantly changing patterns.



Tudor Ranger

Tudor continued building on their highly successful Heritage line with the Ranger, inspired by the vintage model of the same name. The watch takes on the Explorer look with its 3-6-9-12 hour markers and three hands with a clean, no-nonsense aesthetic. Definitely another winner from Tudor.



Ulysse Nardin Imperial Blue What Ulysse Nardin have done here is take the unique look of the Royal Blue Tourbillon, with its transparent and blue sapphire mainplate and bridges and produce an even more mechanically impressive piece with Grand Sonnerie Westminster Carillon complication produced in collaboration with Christophe Claret. That’s 4 striking hammers!


You can look forward to in-depth looks at all these watches and more over the coming days and weeks.