Bold and the Beautiful

$55 Million Watch Steals Show at Baselworld



Graff Hallucination

Contributed Photos

Each spring, watchmakers converge on Basel, Switzerland to unveil and hype their glamorous new creations with Academy Award-style promotion. Baselworld is the industry’s biggest stage, a worldwide luxury showcase that (like the Oscars) crowns winners, stars and trends—albeit on watch dials instead of television dials.

Baselworld’s brightest star was a blockbuster—Graffe’s $55 million watch called Hallucination. That’s right, $55 million, a price tag that’s hardly an illusion but rather a new world record for the most expense watch ever created. Showcasing 110 carats of spectacular rare colored diamonds in a floral pattern surrounding an petite dial, Graff (more famous as a diamond house than a watchmaker) delivered the rocks heard ‘round the watch world. With one watch, Graff turned all heads, and with the sticker shock, perhaps even a few stomachs.

Dior Grand Bal Fil de Soie Basel Watch Show
Dior Grand Bal Fil de Soie

Women’s collections unveiled magnificent automatic and mechanical timepieces, often with unique feminine accents (florals, gemstones, lace, feathers) incorporated into the design. Dior impressed again with Grand Bal Fil de Soie, a watch so gorgeous that a Great Gatsby-themed soirée may be in order. The ultra feminine timepiece features a rotor hand-stitched with pink or green silk thread and diamonds (genius!). Each version is limited to 88 watches. Corum offers a similar look with exotic feathers on the dial.

Christophe Claret’s Margot, Basel Watch Show
Christophe Claret’s Margot, a poetic watch

High-end watchmaking specialist Christophe Claret presented his first ladies watch, the Margot, a horological representation of the romantic game, “he loves me, he loves me not.” With a push at 2 o’clock, the poetic watch springs to life, plucking daisy petals (which randomly disappear), upon which a final verdict is inscribed in French on a retrograde disc at 4 o’clock as a note rings out. Another pusher resets, and thus returns, the petals to pluck for love again. This remarkable sentimental complication (accented with diamond baguettes) should steal women’s hearts.

Hermés Arceau Millefiori Basel Watch Show
Hermés Arceau Millefiori

The Hermés Arceau Millefiori (Italian for “a thousand flowers”) is another standout—with vibrant (albeit delicate) dials of hand-cut crystal crafted by French Parisian artisans.

Equally ambitious brands expressed creative freedom in 2014—crafting watches as functional art sculpture with three-dimensional dials as deep and beautiful as a starry night sky, especially in astronomical watches and tourbillons.

Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Basel Watch Show
Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon

Astronomical watches are distant descendants of instruments used by ancient astronomers (and even Pharaohs) who used the skies to make sense of the world and their individual gods. For today’s watchmakers, the sky is also the limit. Jacob & Co. introduced a complicated stunner—the Astronomia Tourbillon, an open-worked, manual-winding watch with a rotating tourbillon and celestial objects (Earth crafted in white gold and blue enamel; and the Moon represented by a 56-facet briolette-cut diamond) orbiting around a central “sun.”

MB&F, and it’s Star Trek fanatic founder Maximilian Büsser, launched the Legacy Machine No. 1 Xia Hang watch with the world’s first vertical power reserve indicator (in the form of a 3-D aluminum alien figure on top!). When the watch is fully wound, the alien stands tall; if not, he slumps. Space is indeed, the latest frontier.

Thin is still in, ironically served best in the tourbillon buffet. Among them, Bvlgari’s sleek Octo Finissimo (1.95 mm movement and 5 mm case) which set a new record for world’s thinnest tourbillon.

Moderated case sizes and occasional dragon themes are a bow to the Chinese market (particularly Corum’s daring Golden Bridge watch with a meticulous five-clawed gold dragon and a single pearl to represent “power and wisdom" respectively).

And the winner is….women (especially via Christophe Claret, Dior and Hermés). 3-D craftsmanship is a trend to track. Meanwhile, Graff’s Hallucination watch is a supernova impossible to ignore. No red carpet necessary for these stars, just willing wrists—and possibly a $55 million winning Powerball ticket.

 

 

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance's Go For Pink Shopping Event

    2014.10.02
     @ Greenwich Avenue area

    Breast Cancer Alliance announced that it is partnering with Greenwich merchants for a special day of events and shopping on Thursday, October 2nd...

  • New Goergen Lecture

    2014.10.02
     @ Bruce Museum

    Reflections on Highlights of the Hohenbuchau Collection featuring Peter C. Sutton Known today as the "Golden Age" of Netherlandish...

  • Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun Walk

    2014.10.05
     @ Camp Simmons

    Are you ready for some MUDDY fun? Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is proud to host the 3rd annual Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun...

  • Muddy Up 5k & Family Fun Walk

    2014.10.05
     @ Camp Simmons

    Race starts at 9:15 a.m. REGISTRATION HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MON. SEPT. 29 at 8:00 A.M. DON'T LIKE THE MUD? SPONSOR A CLUB MEMBER TO RUN...

  • Sweat for a Cause

    2014.10.05
     @ SoulCycle Greenwich

    The Young Women's League of New Canaan (YWL) is sponsoring its first fundraiser of the season, "Sweat For A Cause" at SoulCycle...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Tuesday Toddler Tours

    2014.10.07
     @ Bruce Museum

    Come to the Bruce this fall to take part in our exciting new children and family programming! No advance registration is required and programs...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Lyme Research Alliance 3rd Annual Golf Tournament

    2014.10.09
     @ The Stanwich Club

    Tee up and raise funds & awareness for Lyme disease awareness at one of the area’s finest golf courses. The golf tournament is part of...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Outdoor Arts Festival

    2014.10.11
     @ Bruce Museum

    Come and enjoy the Bruce Museum’s 33rd Annual Outdoor Arts Festival. More than 85 artists from all over the country, many of them new to...

  • Lookbook Live Tour

    2014.10.12
     @ Westchester Mall

    In September + October 2014, Simon will team up with three of the world's top fashion magazines, Glamour, GQ, and  Vogue on a nationwide...

  • The 29th Annual American Artisan Show

    2014.10.17
     @ Wilton Historical Society

    This nationally recognized fundraiser is held on the grounds of the Wilton Historical Society, and features 25 artisans who will show their work...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Stars of Greenwich
    Meet the founders of the Greenwich International Film Festival
  2. Moroccan Nights
    Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich
  3. American Gold Cup
    North Salem, NY
  4. Into The Woods
    Bruce Museum's 27th Annual Renaissance Ball
  5. Greenwich Fashion Day Out
    Greenwich Avenue