The first day of the 2013 Baselworld watch fair is in the books, and I’ve already seen a number of interesting new timepieces. Yesterday’s highlights included a clever yacht-timer watch from Alpina, a world horological first from Blancpain, and some quality time with one of this year’s most talked-about pieces, Hublot’s La Ferrari.
Sports-watch maker Alpina, like its more elegant sister brand Frédérique Constant, is a company that takes pride in producing horological value for reasonable prices. This year’s new releases include the Heritage Pilot, a model inspired by a 1930s aviators’ watch from the brand’s history. It’s got an old-fashioned “escargot” tachymeter scale on the dial and a telemetry scale around it. Another historical Alpina watch has been reborn as the Vintage Start Timer, a military-aviator-style chronograph with a quartz movement. The model with the beige dial and beige canvas strap was a perfect match for the suit I was wearing, so I was inspired to try it on (below).
The most interesting new Alpina is the Extreme Sailing Yacht Timer, a new take on the brand’s existing Yacht-Timer model. As its countdown function reaches the last five minutes before the start of a regatta, the numerals recede to reveal the five letters of the word “START.” This innovative sailing watch will retail for 3,150 euros.
Blancpain has produced yet another tribute piece for the 60th anniversary of its famed Fifty Fathoms divers’ watch. The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe (below) is a three-hand model based on a vintage watch, in a titanium or steel case, with the decidedly modern touch of a bezel made of the Swatch Group’s proprietary “Liquidmetal.” Men’s and ladies sizes will be available.
From Blancpain’s elegant Le Brassus collection comes the Tourbillon Carrousel (front and back, below), an ultra-complicated timepiece that is the first to feature both a tourbillon and a carrousel, two horological inventions that are often confused for each other. This piece, with a breathtakingly detailed manufacture movement, will retail for nearly 300,000 euros.