BaselWorld, the biggest watch show of the year, opens its doors on 25 April and already some new models set to be launched at the show have made their way to my desk. If the rather restrained offerings from the SIHH in January are anything to go by, BaselWorld may well offer a wide array of classic-style watches. And I also expect there to be a lot more for women - from beautiful jewellery watches to everyday mechanical watches, and lots in between.
With its chain bracelet strap, Chanel's recent Première watch launch - a style also seen at Ralph Lauren - suggests we can also expect a return of bracelet watches. The new Première, which will be showcased at BaselWorld, illustrates the maison's clear focus on more feminine styles after years of the J12 being its main focus. In fact, this watch launched 26 years ago, and its octagonal shape, inspired by the shape of the stopper on the Nº5 perfume bottle, was in turn inspired by the shape of Place Vendôme. With the new Première, designed specifically for women, the house offers another alternative to the chunkier, ceramic, link-braceleted J12.
As one would expect from the jewellery house De Grisogono, a jewellery watch called 'Sugar' is one of its main launches for 2013 as the brand celebrates it 20th anniversary. True to form, the colours are eye-popping and the design is both extravagant and highly tactile. There are 10 different gemstone versions in diamonds, emeralds and blue and orange sapphires, the stones of which are set into the case and appear to cascade off the side. They are, in fact, moveable and jiggle around with each twist of the wrist - perfect for the dancefloor. Even the back of the watch case is set with precious stones - a real indulgence.
Hermès has chosen to show a women's watch for its pre-BaselWorld roundup. The Hermès Arceau Petit Lune is a serious mechanical model with a moonphase display and small seconds. Powered by a Dupuis-Dépraz small moon phase movement, it shows a real commitment to bringing the very best of its watchmaking to women. But mechanical watches for women are not limited only to the top price points. With Hamilton's Jazzmaster Lady Automatic series, mechanical watches are now available at more affordable prices too.
Of course, it's not just about women's watches. Eberhard presents the Chrono 4 Géant Full Injection, which puts the macho back into watchmaking. This hulk of a watch, with four subdials arranged in a straight line across the bottom half of the dial, is limited to only 500 pieces.