The watch world’s biggest international event, Baselworld, begins next week in Basel, Switzerland. If you are one of the thousands of eager watch aficonados, media representatives, and watch-and-jewelry professionals attending the show this year, we’ve compiled some of our favorite stylish and useful items that will make both the trip itself, and your travel experience, more rewarding.
Your carry-on: H.L. James Onyx Leather Backpack
Luxury leather bag purveyor H.L. James aims squarely at the high-net-worth global traveler with its exclusive line of backpacks, each one made entirely from genuine American alligator skins and assembled in Italy by a single highly skilled artisan. Among its many features, the highly organized bag has internal pen loops with key chain, an internal padded iPad pocket, a removable zippered pouch for valuables, and a removable luggage tag. It has an external double-zippered front pocket and a zipped double-lock closure with a distinctive H.L. James combination lock. Available in olive, chestnut, navy, gray, or onyx (below), the bags retail for $35,000. Walk off the plane with one of these bags over your shoulder and no one else in the customs line will notice the jet-lag bags under your eyes. www.hljames.com.
Your cuff links: Baz Persaud
New York-based Baz Persaud is one of the very few vertically integrated jewelry manufacturers in the U.S. The company’s namesake and master craftsman Baz Persaud oversees a small team of artisans and stamps each piece upon completion. Each piece is created in the “lost wax” technique, in which a sculpture used to create a jeweler’s mold is molded from a block of wax, which eventually melts away in the process of pouring and drying the mold, leaving only the newly formed end product. With a production limited to just 3,000 items per year, the company produces numerous custom commissions, including many with horological themes requested by watch aficionados, such as the cuff links below. Prices start at $450. www.bazpersaud.com.
For taking notes (and filling out your customs documents): Edelberg Sloop ball-point pen
Based in Zug, Switzerland, and run by lifelong pen collector Carlo Naldi and his son Samuel, Edelberg makes writing instruments that lovers of fine timepieces can appreciate — produced in limited editions and taking cues from high horology in both materials and aesthetics. The latest version of the company’s flagship Sloop pen features a hand-painted image of a melting human skull, inspired by “poor Yorick,” from Shakespeare’s drama Hamlet. It has a black carbon fiber body with clip and end-pieces made of stainless steel; the steel cap, like many a watch dial’s hands and hour markers, is treated with Super-LumiNova. The Sloop “To Be or Not to Be” model is limited to 88 pieces, at $1,490. www.esperluxe.com.
Your fashion-coordinated watch straps: Jean Rousseau
Are you one of those watch lovers who prefers to bring multiple timepiece choices to wear on your trip, or more the type who prefers to bring just one watch and match it to your outfits with a variety of well-chosen, colorful straps? If the latter is more your speed, check out the selection from Jean Rousseau, a leather-strap specialist that sells to major watch brands in the Swatch, Richemont and LVMH groups but also to individual clients, including those with custom requests. The Paris-based company has its own tannery from which it can create numerous color options in alligator and various other skins, and can personalize the strap right down to the type of closure, size of scales, and size and number of pinholes. To learn more, read our interview with Jean Rousseau’s president Jacques Bordier. www.jean-rousseau.com.
Your space-saving sports jacket: Thomas Pink Camo Reversible
From British luxury shirtmaker Thomas Pink comes this innovative, ultra-versatile outer layer that features a classic camo-print nylon jacket on one side and a white-and-navy-striped cotton blazer on the other. The cotton side is all understated elegance, formal enough for your meetings with Rolex and Patek Philippe during the day, whereas the camo side exudes a casual, off-duty vibe, with patch pockets and a fold-away hood, ideal for winding down with drinks and schnitzel at the end of the day. Best of all, it takes up a lot less space in your travel bag than two similar separate pieces would. Price: $795; www.us.thomaspink.com.
For your travel flask: Teeling Irish Whiskey
While it is the first new distillery in Dublin in 125 years, the Teeling Whiskey Company has roots in a family business started in 1782 and takes pride in its philosophy of reviving traditional Dublin distilling for a new generation of whiskey aficionados. It offers three distinctive expressions, each suitable for leisurely sipping: Small Batch, a rum-cask-finished whiskey with an inviting vanilla aroma and smooth yet flavorful, slightly woody notes on the tongue, bottled at a bracing 92 proof; Single Malt, made from a range of aged whiskeys vatted in five different wine casks and slowly distilled in traditional copper pot stills, resulting in a balanced flavor with dried fruits, vanilla, spice and cloves, and a long harmonious finish; and Single Grain, with an appealing amber-red color and a spicy taste with notes of rich red berries and strong tannins. Prices range from $40 – $59.99. www.teelingwhiskey.com.
For your travel humidor: Davidoff Escurio
Zino Davidoff’s parents opened their tobacco shop in the heart of Geneva in 1912. Having since grown into an internationally renowned producer and retailer of fine cigars and accessories, the shop that started it all remains a fixture on Geneva’s Rue de Rive, a way station for shoppers from across the world to enjoy a smoke in between visits to the neighborhood’s famous watch and jewelry boutiques. So what better cigar to accompany a trip to the world’s biggest watch fair than the Davidoff Escurio — a sophisticated, spicy-sweet cigar made with rare Brazilian tobacco that sets out to capture the fiery spirit and pulsating rhythms of Rio de Janeiro, topped off with a dark, oily Cuban-seed wrapper from Ecuador for an earthy, creamy finish. The Escurio is available in three sizes, from $8.50 to $17.90 per cigar. www.davidoff.com.
For your watch-buying decisions: Lepsi Watch Scope
Whether you’re a retailer deciding on what new products to order for holiday season 2016, or a collector looking to add to your wish list, you may well want to know not just how a watch looks and wears but also how well it runs. The Watch Scope from Geneva-based Lepsi is a compact device (retailing for 369 Swiss francs) that syncs with your smartphone to measure a mechanical watch’s vital stats — including rate variation, amplitude and beat error — in just seconds, and records all measurements in a database that can be stored in your phone. Unlike a Witschi time machine, it is small enough to carry around with you, meaning you can measure a timepiece’s accuracy on-site. For details on how the device works, read our report and check out www.lepsi.ch.
The 2016 Baselworld watch fair runs from Thursday, March 17 through March 24. Check in with WatchTime.com every day during the show for up-to-the-minute news on the new watches.