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BASELWORLD 2017: Day 7 – Les Ateliers: "Carrée des horlogers" redux

The Palace, that gauzy meeting place for watchmakers of the latest generation and small brands in the process of growing, has vanished. But the idea of it is still there, in an evolved form…. Discovering the  incubator of talent on a higher floor.

By Vincent Daveau

There were quite a number of companies sharing the space fronted by forty-foot international shipping containers on the second floor of Hall 1. The concept maintains the ephemeral feel, but with booths that emanate toughness and are immediately open to their surroundings. So what…

Rebellion Timepieces Weap On

The exhibitors were clustered around a kind of central avenue that ended at a bar, all except the independent craftsmen and -women of the AHCI, who were in Hall 2.0, and a few diehards who chose to go elsewhere to see if the grass wasn't greener there. The idea of the Palace did survive, including the furnishings. Otherwise, everything was new, including the gentle and constant warmth that made one feel like spending more time with the young actors who are hell bent on renewing the industry.

Le Rhöne Road Racer

Between vision and tradition

Many watchmakers have attempted to look back to the past, but these creators have opted to project themselves into the future. In the field of classic watchmaking, among the genuine "loves at first sight," let us note the young brand named Reservoir, whose products reveal genuine inspiration from airplane, car and steamboat gauges. Equally attractive are the watches made by Czapek, which, like those of the German brand Moritz Grossmann, demonstrate genuine classicism.You need watches for all tastes, but the contemporary classicism invoked by the works of the company named Le Rhöne is not the dominant taste in this part of Baselworld. As an incubator and nursery of trends, this fair-within-a-fair dares break with conventions that are usually considered intangible in this particular industry.

Moritz Grossmann Tefnut Twist Classic

Going for novelty

The passion for beautiful mechanics often inspires practitioners of nouvelle horlogerie to come up with unfettered pieces.There was Cyrus, which had a form watch on display with the regulating mechanism placed off-side in the center of the dial. As an ingenious bit of creativity and inventiveness, it takes watchmaking out of the horizontal plane, which is kind of new.In the same spirit, the purists will appreciate the gigantic central tourbillon that Kerbedanz, a brand now famous, created, or the very steampunkish evolutions created by Manufacture Royale or Louis Moinet.

Louis Moinet Metropolis

Strictly speaking, however, many of the creators kept a cool head and rather than introduce all kinds of harebrained novelties, opted for visual evolutions of their key products. And so, this was not the part of the fair where one could find the finest constructivist follies.They were located elsewhere, and we'll get to them in our next article, when Baselworld closes.

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