On March 17, the Rio Room of the Baselworld Congress Center hosted an awards ceremony dedicated to the five winning watches, and four winning watch companies, of the second annual WatchStars Awards. This was the second time that the awards, announced in late 2015, were presented during the Baselworld watch fair.
The winning watches were chosen by an independent panel of international experts, including WatchTime editors Joe Thompson, Norma Buchanan, Mark Bernardo, and Roger Ruegger. Omega was the biggest winner this year, capturing two of the five categories. The award trophies were presented, by WatchStars Executive Thomas Wanka and watch historian and frequent WatchTime contributor Gisbert L. Brunner, to the four watch executives representing the winning brands: Omega’s Stephen Urquhart, A. Lange & Söhne’s Wilhelm Schmidt, MB&F’s Maximillian Büsser, and Tudor’s Philippe Peverelli.
Watchstars was created by Ebner Publishing Group, parent company of WatchTime and its German sister publications, Chronos and Uhren Magazin. Significantly, watch manufacturers are not permitted to submit watches to the competition: only members of the judging panel, which this year consisted of no less than 70 members, can nominate and vote on the watches. All watches are eligible, regardless of the brand, its size, and its country of origin.
The five categories for the Watchstars awards are Classic Stars (honoring mechanical three-handed watches with no functions beyond a date and/or power-reserve indicator), Technical Stars (for mechanical watches with functions beyond those eligible for the Classic category, including complications such as chronographs and calendars); Design Stars (recognizing watches with unusual designs and/or innovative materials in the case and visible components; nominees can be mechanical or quartz); Stars for a Lifetime (watches regarded as “timeless classics,” quartz or mechanical); and New Stars (for new models that have burst successfully into the crowded marketplace). Classic Stars and Technical Stars must have been released between January and November of 2015 to be eligible; the other three have no launch date constraints for eligibility.
Without further ado, this year’s winners:
The Omega Globemaster won the Classic Stars category. This new watch model, launched at Baselworld 2015, impressed the panel with Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement and METAS certification. (Click here to read our report on the Omega Globemaster and its groundbreaking movement.)
The Technical Stars award went to the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater. Launched at SIHH 2015, this complicated German timepiece combines jumping hours and minutes with a decimal minute repeater. (Click here for more detail on the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater.)
The MB&F Legacy Machine 101 was the recipient of the Design Stars category, winning over the jury with its refreshing design and its in-house-developed movement. Among its many aesthetic attributes is its extremely domed sapphire crystal, which enables a perfect view on the spectacular mechanics underneath.
Universally recognized as a timeless classic in the watch world, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch was selected as this year’s Star of a Lifetime. Its design, technical features, and lunar heritage are among the many aspects that brings Omega its second Watchstars award in 2015-2016.
The Tudor North Flag, another Baselworld 2015 release, was named this year’s New Star. The watch created immediate buzz as the first Tudor watch with an in-house developed and produced movement. (For more details on the Tudor North Flag, click here.)
MB&F Legacy machine if I had a vote.