Baselworld battle of the dials

Are dials shaping up as the battleground at the March 2017 Baselworld fair? Bell & Ross and Frederique Constant join the new faces brigade.

 Baselworld dials

Pre-releases from Seiko and now Bell & Ross and Frederique Constant suggest that Baselworld fair might well be sub-titled “new faces”.

Seiko has announced fresh enamel dials for a range of Presage models with Bell & Ross looking to cosmetic surgery for its iconic square watch with graphic lines first released in 2005, and Frederique Constant offering a world-timer.

Bell & Ross has two models in the offing,  a BR03-92 Horograph and BR03-92 Horolum, both 42mm watches they describe – somewhat puzzlingly – as “an invitation to travel”. This is because “their functionalist dials fulfill the mission of displaying time with the utmost efficiency”.

Baselworld dials
Bell & Ross BR03-Horograph

A minimalist Bauhaus-inspired design certainly doesn’t detract from optimum readability, with clean lines and minimal ornamentation adding to the cockpit-instrument feel of things.

As Bell & Ross describes it, “the BR03-92 Horograph reminds us of the clocks in airport terminals with its simple and uncluttered display with clear digits”, while the BR03-92 Horolum “reproduces the codes of runway lighting used to guide pilots night and day”.

Baselworld dials
Bell & Ross BR03-Horolum

Their name is made up by the common root “Horo”, from the Latin “hora” (hour), followed by “graph” (graphics) or “jum”, from the Latin “lumen” (light).

Constant classic

Frederique Constant’s new Classic Worldtimer is more literally a traveller’s watch given it covers 24 zones; the classic in its name is equally fitting.

Baselworld dials
Classic Worldtimer.

A picture in rose gold-plated stainless steel, framing a brown-hued dial world map etched with a world map, it could be described as elegant and sophisticated compared with the no-nonsense Bell & Ross entries, but the latter wins on readability at least as far as the local time of day is concerned.

On the other hand the Frederique Constant with its 24 cities on its outer rim offers a clever complication that impressively is entirely controlled and adjusted via the crown.

Baselworld dials

What both have in common with the Seikos is that what’s new is primarily the fresh but not too radical faces they present, an indication that the trend this year is likely to be be “keep it simple folks”.

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