Baselworld 2010: The PuristSPro ReportBy: MTF (registered) Sunday, April 11th, 2010 - Photo Nav: View All 1 photo(s)
Baselworld 2010: Editor’s Introduction
By Melvyn Teillol-Foo
Welcome to the PuristSPro Baselworld 2010 Report. It is traditional to thank our moderators (Marcus Hanke, Don Corson, Jerome Berder) and guest writers (Jocke, Tony Axelzon) for their contributions in the spirit of PuristS. I also thank our sponsors, PIAGET, who took all the rotating banner slots, such that they don’t actually rotate! Check out their banner at the bottom of our report pages; clicking the banner transports you to another magical place.
Even if you have read the individual brand reports before, please do read them again because this is the REVISED edition and I have added material and photos to the early drafts.
I apologise for using press photos at times because I dropped my cameras (plural).
Note to self: Even if you have the top-of-the-range photographers' camera bag, still remember to do up the zipper!
Baselworld is a lot more difficult to cover than SIHH because it is bigger and broader. There were 292 watch brands, 40 jewellery brands and 124 ‘related’ brands at Basel this year. We would need a reporting team ten times bigger and staying twice as long to cover everything. Thus, this report is a succinct focus on the things that caught PuristS’ interest during the time that we had.
Some cynics say that all you ever need to see at Baselworld can be found in Halle 1, and more specifically on the ground level. Some even say that Baselworld is all about the central zone in Halle 1.0!
You walk past the haute horlogerie family firms of Patek Philippe and Chopard on one side of the avenue, to be intimidated by the Rolex Fortress on the other side. Note that the fortress appears to include 2 stone towers and 4 times the land area of other brands. The only things missing were a portcullis and drawbridge; but there was a water feature!
Then, you have to negotiate the SWATCH Bunker, anchored by Omega at one end and flanked by their haute horlogerie brands – Breguet/Jaquet Droz and Blancpain/Glashuette Original – laid out as twinned bastions. It is conspicuous that Jaquet Droz shares the booth with big brother Breguet, reflecting the special interest that Mr N. Hayek Sr. has accorded the brand since he took the reins at the brand.
Everybody else who is anybody in haute horlogerie, either by reputation or mostly by marketing budget, scrambles for the remaining space on that floor. The Breitling aquarium is still there and seems to be the most interesting thing at that booth.
The Japanese giants of Citizen and ‘PuristS-favourite’ Seiko are allowed to hold the rear perimeter of Halle 1, at the boundary with Halle 5, where the highest and the lowest of horology reside. Upstairs in Halle 5, one can find the smallest independent watchmakers; amongst them are some of the best as well as ‘The Rest’…..
For those without million dollar budgets or who are related to the Hayeks, hotels in Basel are no go areas without long-standing reservations. So, I camped in a bed & breakfast in Germany for a few days. Luckily our friends at some watch brands were able to recommend hotels in Basel for the last couple of days.
But the upside was to be able to see real customers at the show as well as the trade delegates. I could also meet up with some PuristS including old friends that I have not seen since 2003. It’s a funny old world when we ‘converse’ with friends on the website daily but only meet physically every 6 years! Here is our long-time moderator Herr Dr Prof Marcus Hanke with his portable photo studio.
Where else can you get to taste cheese from Mr Biver’s private farm? Pretty good cheese too; as he says that he may not make the best watches in Switzerland but he is sure he makes the best cheese!
We got to celebrate special anniversaries with our Chopard friends.
We got to meet famous and pretty people and see a revolutionary horology concept.
We got to meet arty watchmakers from Finland.
Some old friends who had joined SIHH came back for a sneak peek.
Greubel & Forsey
We were entertained by the Adler Family at a dinner hosted by our SWATCH Hong Kong friends.
I managed to lose my laptop computer on Day 1 but miraculously found it on Day 2. It had all of Day 1 photos on it so this report almost stopped before it started! I also managed to drop my camera near the end of the visit so I apologise for the funky exposures at some of the booths.
The show kicked off with a procession of dignitaries and horology bosses visiting the big brands down the central avenue of Halle 1.
The scramble of press photographers was quite amusing as they fought to get shots of Mr Hayek Sr. and his buddies.
Where were they all heading? It was the display in the centre of ‘Bunker SWATCH’ that announced developments of the old Peace Hotel in Shanghai. Now we know where the next target is. Even some established brands told me that their designs had been skewed to attract the Chinese market.
What other impressions did we get from Baselworld 2010? It is the Year of the Chronograph, with new movements from Patek Philippe, Tag-Heure, Omega and Hublot amongst others. Those with chronograph movements already in their line-up were finding new ways to present the complication e.g. Breitling, Christophe Claret, de Grisogono, Jaquet Droz, Seiko Ananta, Tag-Heure, Tissot, Tudor, and Zenith,
Some brands like Bulgari and Chopard were content to bring out simple movements to act as a base for future developments.
Let’s sally forward and see rest of the show……
For the rest of the PuristSPro Baselworld 2010 report, please CLICK HERE