The Versatile Gent’s Best of Basel 2013

Last week I covered Rolex at Basel because TVG loved their new Day-Date and Daytona offerings so much we thought the brand deserved its own post. Today I’m taking a look at our favourite timepieces across all the manufacturers at the show, without touching on the mechanically ridiculous (we’ll leave that for later this week). 2013 delivered some seriously top shelf watches across a broad range of price brackets and here are our top picks. Enjoy.

BLANCPAIN 50 Fathoms 60 Year Anniversary: One of the most desirable dive watches of the 20th century gets a vintage inspired facelift with all the modern trimmings to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Blancpain’s modern watches have never really appealed to me but this re-edition is the perfect blend of modern and retro – sure to be a timeless classic!

Glashütte Original Senator Tourbillon: I said I wasn’t going to go into anything to mechanically outrageous (this has only got one tourbillon) in this post but I couldn’t go past naming Glashütte in this list. Glashütte impressed me immensely this year, another awesome German brand at the top of their game – in fact they almost deserve their own post! In my opinion this watch was the pinnacle, the date window is perfect and wearing a tourbillon is damn near one of the coolest things you can possibly do as a watch enthusiast.

Omega Dark Side of the Moon: If you do feel the desire to purchase an Omega, the Speedmaster is the only one worth considering. Omega released a couple of new Speedmasters this year, this was my favourite. For years I’ve spoken about owning a Speedmaster and for as many years I’ve spoken about having one PVD’d in black. Well here it is, a gorgeous black Speedmaster with complementing 18K white gold hands and indices. This one utilises a silicon balance spring for added stability, allowing Omega to offer a 4 year warranty on the movement. Unfortunately it’s a tad steep at around $14,000, roughly the same price as an IWC Portuguese.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5227: Nothing needs to be said about Patek, aside from this – nothing beats them. Well that’s my opinion anyway. The Patek stand at Basel this year was nothing short of phenomenal and whilst they chose to focus on minor details with only one new movement added to the range their watches continued to win the praise of enthusiasts world wide. For this list I chose the Calatrava, the most understated timepiece in the world. This year’s Ref. 5227 features a fob watch style case back that opens to reveal an interior crystal case back – simple and breath taking.

Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue: Tudor have seen a fabulous revival in the last few years hitting the nail on the head with their Black Bay and Pelagos in 2012 and the Heritage Chrono’s released in 2010. This year Tudor followed Rolex and went with blue accents to their 2013 Heritage chronograph and again they’ve delivered a visually delightful watch. What I love about this watch is the throwback to the glory days of the dive watch, resembling the colourful radium dials of the 50’s and 60’s.

H. Moser and Cie Nomad: I’m a big fan of simple watches, they are timeless and sophisticated. H. Moser and Cie unveiled the Dual Timezone Nomad at Basel this year that is as functional as it is elegant. The Nomad is powered by Moser’s in-house HMC 246 automatic movement and features a patented double pull crown system that allows the users to adjust the secondary timezone without affecting the primary timezone. I do however have one small qualm with the Nomad and that’s the font the brand name is written in (a blatant use of Microsoft Word’s Sloop-ScriptOne), a minor blemish but still something worth considering when dropping $37,000.

Linde Werdelin Spidolite II Tech Green: When we launched TVG I wrote an observation about the watch industry in particularly why some brands are good and why others are a waste of time. Linde Werdelin is a brand I have spoken about many times, one I love and admire and they fit perfectly into that article I wrote almost a year ago. Jorn and Morten are pushing the boundaries of innovation in the watch industry, in this case that innovation is in construction – a brand new metal dubbed ‘ALW’ Alloy Linde Werdelin. ALW is an ultralight and incredibly robust composite metal developed for the aerospace industry used in a watch case for the very first time. Limited to 75 pieces worldwide, this is a truly unique watch.

Nomos Ahoi Datum: Basel 2013 has marked a special year for Nomos as the brand moves into the unchartered waters with a brand new dive watch. The Ahoi is a more robust and sportier version of their existing watches, namely the Tangomat. It features a new waterproof strap and winged clasp with a Superluminova dial for extra visibility underwater and a lovely set of crown guards that complement the circular case immaculately.

Breitling Transocean Chronograph QP: My personal opinion is that the Transocean is the model carrying the Breitling brand at the moment. Perhaps I’m being a tad negative because I’m not a big fan of the Breitling, I never have been, but at Basel this year they displayed some beautiful products and I’m pleased to say that. This particular 18K red gold Transocean is a perpetual calendar and will hold the time, day, date, week, month, season, year and leap year and moonphase only needing to be adjusted once leap year.

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James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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