Sea Dweller 126600 006

BASELWORLD 2017: DAY 3 – Celebrating icons

This year, many of the brands seem to have a strategy that focuses on commemoration. This allows them to connect with their history and to sensitize fans about what makes a brand’s strength and identity.  It's one way, like any other, to draw attention to the fundamentals.

By Vincent Daveau
Managing Editor France

For the overwhelming majority of watchmakers, having a watch in their collection that has a rich history is more important than having a watch with complications. One must keep in mind that 99.5% of mechanical watches sold worldwide merely tell the time with three hands.... So to differentiate oneself and beat back the competition, it is important to have rock-solid argument. If a brand is unable to keep its prices down to make the difference, then tapping into history becomes the only message that might be able to bring up the hero myth, the only mechanism that might break down the barriers of an aficionado well-trained in resisting temptation.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller

Fifty years of good and loyal services

For this Baselworld, which is celebrating its own centenary, -- undoubtedly because of the crisis that has pulled the market back to 2011 levels -- focus appears to be on celebrations. Everywhere are birthdays and reminders of the origin of often emblematic models that had long been swamped by waves of novelties. Many fans, drawn by the desire to know what new models Rolex has come up with, are flocking to the brand’s display cases. There they find the newest edition of the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, a timeless watch well-rooted in its original era. This powerful timepiece illustrates Rolex’s ability when it comes to building diver’s watches.It was launched in 1967 and modernized in 2014. For its fiftieth anniversary, it has been entirely reconceived to improve performance and ergonomy, while maintaining a strong link to its unique heritage. The 904L steel case is still water-resistant to 1,220 meters. It has been enlarged to 43 millimeters and provides better readability of the various functions driven by the 3235 caliber, an automatic movement of the latest generation entirely designed and manufactured by Rolex. It boasts a Cerachrome bezel and, for the first time, a Cyclops magnifying glass on the sapphire crystal that allows the user to read the date more easily. This timepiece features a black dial with “Sea-Dweller” printed on red, in homage to the original timepiece and its pioneering role with professional divers.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller

Reconnecting with the golden age of watchmaking

Longines is also celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the Flagship line with the Heritage 60th Anniversary. It’s another emblematic device that stands for quality, high precision and distinction. It comes in steel, yellow gold, and rose gold and harbors the L609, automatically-wound movement in a 38.5-millimeter case. The gold versions come in limited editions of sixty units each and are exclusive. They will probably find their way into the collections of watch lovers. The steel version comes in 1,957 units. This piece conforms to the norms of yore. The free interpretation features a brushed silver dial bearing eight indices and four Arabic numerals.In a bid to maintain conceptional unity, Longines kept the original full metal case back, which is now decorated with the engraving of a flagship.

Longines Heritage Flagship

1957, a Golden Age for Swiss watchmaking, was also a rich year for Omega. Indeed, it was then that the company came out with its Speedmaster. It was originally designed with a 39-millimeter case and was destined for the stars. Indeed, on October 4, 1957, the Russian satellite Sputnik opened the first chapter in the conquest of space. The emptiness of the universe was calling. In 1962, Walter M. Schirra wore one on the Mercury's VIII mission, while NASA was testing its robustness in secret.

Omega #SpeedyTuesday

Having emerged from a series of ultra-tough tests, it was then “flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions" by NASA on March 1, 1965. It made it to the moon on July 21, 1969. This watch has experienced sixty year of uninterrupted history, with over 250 references, including the current one, known as #speedytuesday, which is a celebration of the fifth anniversary of the online community known as #speedytuesday. It was produced in a limited series and is sold exclusively on the web. It’s a piece that is syncretic, since it combines several vintage parts that give it a unique design once they have been assembled. It is, in essence, a very “collector” timepiece.

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