Baselworld 2019: Five Of Our Favorite Chronographs
Ready. Set. Go! A rundown of our favorite chronographs from Baselworld 2019.
While much of the news out of Baselworld was doom and gloom – the brands exhibiting at this year's fair certainly didn't rest on their laurels. Up and down Baselworld's renowned Hall 1.0, we saw innovations as far fetched as a US Navy Prototype reissue (read HERE) to today's selection of cool chronographs.
Zenith El Primero A386 Revival
Baselworld 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the El Primero. Originally introduced in 1969, this landmark chronograph set a new benchmark in watchmaking. Over the years, Zenith has introduced a litany of refinements and updates to its El Primero collection (read HERE and HERE), yet we've never seen the brand revisit its original classic. That all changed with the Baselworld 2019 introduction of the El Primero 386 Revival. For the El Primero's 50th, Zenith will be producing a trio of precious metal A386 reissues.
Sized at 38mm and available in white, yellow, and rose gold. The watches are available in a standalone limited edition of 50 pieces per metal or in a box set (production volume of the box set not available as of press time). Even more remarkable, is the warranty on the new El Primero 386 Revival, since each piece will receive a shocking 50-year guarantee. While the price tag of 19,900 CHF is nothing to scoff at, the warranty and limited nature of this release makes this a timepiece to be desired for years (and decades) to come.
Tudor Black Bay Chronograph Steel & Gold
At Baselworld 2019, much of the Tudor talk was centered around the polarizing P01 (read HERE) the brand also quietly introduced a vintage-inspired Black Bay Chronograph S&G (Steel & Gold). This two-tone version of 2017's Black Bay Chronograph is a welcome (and colorful) departure from past Tudor chronographs.
Like its predecessor, the new Black Bay Chronograph is sized at 41mm and powered by the Tudor Manufacture Calibre MT5813. The two-tone application is quite remarkable on the new Steel & Gold chronograph. Featuring a matte black dial with yellow gold subdials, along with gold numbers on black tachymeter bezel. The Black Bay Chronograph S & G is available in three different strap/bracelet combinations. A two-tone (gold capped) bracelet option is priced at 6,500 CHF, a super funky bund leather (5,350 CHF), and fabric strap (5,350 CHF) round out this uber-hip chrono.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT
At Baselworld 2019, Bulgari smashed a remarkable fifth world record! The new Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT (read HERE). With this piece, Bulgari appeals to purists from all walks of life with a remarkably thin chronograph (just 6.90mm thin) with an intuitive GMT feature. Originally unveiled at the B-Dinner (read HERE) this was one of my clear favorites of Baselworld.
Made of sandblasted titanium and sized at 42mm, the new Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is remarkably svelte on the wrist. Even more remarkable is the price, at $17,600 USD, this piece is sure to bring new collectors to Bulgari, or perhaps prompt more than a few Octo lovers to add a second Octo to their rotation.
Bell & Ross BR 03-94 R.S. 19
Bell & Ross gets the nod simply because of the newly revived Renault F1 team. If you haven't seen Netflix's 'Drive to Survive' series, I highly recommend it. The series chronicles the 2018 F1 season and (spoiler alert) Renault plays a prominent role. Now in its fourth year, the partnership between Bell & Ross and Renault was on proud display at Baselworld 2019.
My favorite of the lot would have to be the Bell & Ross BR 03-94 R.S. 19. A 42mm limited edition version of the popular BR 03 model. With a bright Renault yellow chapter ring and carbon fiber dial this piece screams speed! Another notable storyline is the abdication of popular F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull Racing (TAG Heuer's team) to Renault. Bell & Ross is sure to put this fan favorite to work in 2019.
Breitling Premier Chronograph 42 'Norton'
Another notable allegiance change was Norton motorcycles shifting away from Bremont to Breitling! The end result of this departure is the new Breitling Premier Chronograph 42 'Norton'. A stunning reverse panda dial Breitling Premier Chronograph which includes all the best of Norton with a splash of Breitling's new look.
Sized at 42mm and powered by the Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01, the Premier Chronograph 42 'Norton' was a crowd pleaser at Baselworld 2019 (read HERE). Gold Arabic numerals and contrasting matte black dial make the newest Norton a necessary piece for any serious Breitling collector. The piece is finished with the Norton logo on the sapphire crystal caseback. A top chrono at a pretty decent price, 8,000 CHF.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel & Liam O'Donnell)