Baselworld beckons with buffed beauties

Releases from brands as diverse as Baselworld stalwarts Hermès, Longines and Breitling indicate we’re in for a bumper crop of wrist-works at next month’s Basel fair.

Hermes Cape Cod range

Hermès has revealed a refresh of the iconic Cape Cod range originally designed by Henri d’Origny in 1991 and based on a square inside a rectangle. The new masculine models not only look contemporary but boast considerable watchmaking expertise thanks to in-house movements, cases and dials.

If the Hermès Cape Cod models take care of elegance, taking care of the tool-watch category is Breitling with a fresh take on the Avenger Hurricane. Cased in ultralight, ultra-sturdy Breitlight – a material more than three times lighter than titanium – the 50mm watch launched last year with a 24-hour dial and now comes with a yellow or black dial in 12-hour mode.

Avenger Hurricane

That makes it easier to read and its numerous other qualities such as exceptional resistance to scratching, traction and corrosion, thermal stability, along with anti-magnetic and non-allergenic properties remain.

It’s past-masters Longines you’ll find ticking the ‘classic’ box, this year celebrating the 60th anniversary of its first Flagship collection with the accordingly named Flagship Heritage – 60th Anniversary 1957-2017.

Recessive and refined, the watches in the collection were supposedly inspired by a Flagship model in the Swiss watchmaker’s headquarters, said to be favoured by the brand’s ‘Ambassador of Elegance’, Kate Winslet.

Longines Flagship Heritage

That aside, the numbered and limited-edition models, cased in steel, yellow gold or rose gold, speak for themselves and would compliment a male or female wrist.

If you’re looking for something more striking and a little different, Jaquet Droz never disappoints, witness its suggestion for St Valentine’s Day. The Petite Heure Minute Astorite (it spans 35mm) has an off-center hours and minutes subdial at 12 o’clock featuring a hand-polished astorite, on a pink background sparkling with gold and silver inclusions and black flecks and veins.

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Astorite

Astorite is a gem named after entreprenneur and mine-owner John Astor who perished on the Titanic – a slightly more interesting story than Longines could manage for their offering.

With competition for your wrist stronger than ever, such watches – and stories – are just a taste of what’s around the corner at Basel. The show commences March 23.

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