This year Baselworld coverage was different largely due to absence of Ernie and Michael Weare, even though Michael played a big supporting role in the background. Nevertheless, VerticalScope, the new owners of Watchuseek, planned a small team and shipped us off to Basel for the coverage. I will be the first one to admit that I was bit apprehensive about meeting and spending the entire time in Basel with VerticalScope team, who are new to WUS.
But it was matter of a day or two, that the VerticalScope team transformation into WUS began. Derek's favorite watch was Ressence Type 3, Jordan's favorite was the Laco's Pilot, Tania's favorite was Italian brand Terra Cielo Mare, Joe and Chris who were relentlessly taking videos and pictures were blown away by Christiaan Van der Klaauw's dial work and complications. Soon the excitement and that passion began to show.
Joe, Bhanu, Jordan, Derek, Brad, and Chris in Corum's Haute Horology room.
Mike S (right) and Bhanu (left) discussing Guinand re-opening with Mr. Matthias Kluh (middle).
And now I can confidently state that in Basel 2016, all of them will be bringing their watch case to share the same passion we guys and gals have shared on this site for several years.
Basel is always about watches, so what trend did I notice this year? The general trend was to send a clear message that watch brands are lowering their pricing. When we speak about watch pricing, it is not a normal conversation, hence, reasonable has a different meaning. I would describe the pricing as going from astronomical down to crazy, crazy down to my 10-years-salary, and a lot of brands introducing entry level models within reach. Independent watchmakers have always had my respect so I can understand how tough it is for them to compete with the mega brands yet keep the traditional watchmaking alive.
Nomos Durowe 3001
Which watches left a big impression? Patek's Pilot Travel Time was shocking but oh so good. Patek, please make it in steel, but then I guess it wouldn't be a Patek. After seeing the Durowe 3001 movement and watches by Nomos, I still keep wondering how can they put out this stunning movement and watches at an affordable price? Tudor with the Pelagos and in-house movement yet keeping the price the same also was impressive. Under the category "How Watch Brands Got Their Groove Back", I would include Corum and Tag Heuer, for focusing on what their brand DNA is and focusing on their core collection. Anonimo is in the beginning phase of rediscovering its DNA.
Consistency always get a big tip of my hat. Brands which consistently knock it out of the ballpark include Glashutte Original, Grand Seiko, and H. Moser. Brands which I think will have bestsellers on their hand this year will be Oris with calibre 111 and Divers Sixty Five, and Maurice Lacroix with Pontos S Divers in sandblasted case and Tudor with Pelagos (divers trifecta).
Oris Divers Sixty Five
Glashutte Original Senator Observer
Underrated independent brands which should receive more attention still are Pequignet and Dodane. I admire the heritage of Dodane and Calibre Royale movement of Piquignet.
Baselworld wouldn't be same without engaging with watchmakers, personalities, and meeting interesting people. Watchuseek team had engaging conversations about traditional watchmaking and design with Alain Silberstein, Peter Speake-Marin, Tim Goronefeld, Ludovic Ballouard, Marc Jenni, and Patrik Sjögren.
Alain Silberstein and Manuel Emch
Andre Stikkers, foremost authority on history of Glycine watches with his third published book
It was a pleasure to meet journalists and friends I admire like Elizabeth Doerr and Ian Skellern from Quill & Pad, Rober Jan-Broer from Fratellowatches, Roberta Nass from ATimelyPerspective, Francois-Xavier Overstake from PursitPro, and James Henderson from TempusFugit.
Elizabeth Doerr, Quill & Pad
Some memorable brand personalities we really enjoyed speaking with included Carlos Rossillo from Bell & Ross, Hartmut Kraft from Maurice Lacroix, Manuel Emch of Romain Jerome, Nick English of Bremont, and Stepan Sarpaneva of Sarpaneva and S.U.F watches. We missed meeting young Helmut Sinn, who apparently drove himself at the age of 100.
Finally, the new tradition of Watchuseek get together started this year as a grass roots effort. I am confident next year it will be well planned and an event not to miss. This year I had pleasure to meet friends like Joe from AZ FineTime, Jerome Pineau from Clerc, and Mark Baran from Jack Ryan in Austin.
Wristshot with friends at WUS get together
Thanks all the moderators, admins, and VerticalScope team for your dedication this year. For next year, as Howard Jones says in the famous song - things can only get better.