The Swatch Group Brands at Baselworld 2013 (including Harry Winston)

Harry Winston Opus XIII

The powerful presence of the Swatch Group was present like never before at Baselworld 2013, taking up a larger chunk of the renovated Hall 1.0, the most prestigious area at the show for the majority of its 19 watch brands, which span just about every segment of the watch industry.

In addition, the company, which also owns watch movement manufacturers and retail brands, hosted a separate museum-quality exhibition in Hall 2.0 for its Swatch timepieces; the brand that has been the most responsible for the company’s enormous success.

The newest brand under Swatch Group’s enormous umbrella, Harry Winston, still had its own space in Hall 1.1, as the $1 billion acquisition occurred in March, well too late  for Harry Winston to be folded into the other company holdings (perhaps next year).

Below are some of new releases from the seven brands in the group that I had the chance to visit during the eight-day tradeshow. I included Harry Winston as the company's new CEO, Nayla Hayek, was announced Friday.

Blancpain Carrousel, Minute Repeater and Chronograph
The Swiss luxury watch brand has created a fully mechanical watch that combines a one-minute flying carrousel (similar to a tourbillon) and a minute repeater with a flyback chronograph.

For the minute repeater, the blades of its cathedral gong wrap one and a half times around the movement to emit the sound. Its transmission is optimized by fixing the gongs inside the case, which increases volume and clarity. A flying governor reduces the background noise produced by the movement.

The pusher for the chronograph function with the flyback or instant-restart function (historically used by pilots) is located at 4 o’clock and enables the wearer to restart a time measurement while a first measurement is in progress.

The watch comes in a red gold 45 mm case with a chapter ring, a 30-minute and hour-markers in grand feu enamel. The open dial and sapphire crystal case-back provides in-depth views of this complex device.

Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727
Available in rose or white gold, the watch is fitted with the new in-house caliber 574DR, which has a balance frequency of 10Hz.thus, improving the time-keeping performance of the balance and spring. It is fitted with a double balance-spring, pallet lever and escape wheel, all in specially prepared silicon. The result is a regulating power equivalent to around 830 microwatts. Despite its high frequency, it has a power reserve of 60 hours.

However, Breguet says the major innovation of this model is the use of magnetic pivots, which not only controls the negative effects of magnetism in a watch, but also uses the magnetic force to improve the pivoting, rotation and stability of the balance staff.

The dial shows an off-center chapter of hours and minutes, small seconds at 12 o'clock, a power-reserve indicator at 5 o'clock and a tenth-of-a-second indicator at 1 o'clock having a patented lightweight silicon hand with low inertia that doesn’t affect the balance. The pare-chute is visible at 2 o'clock, both as a reminder of A-L Breguet’s 1790 invention and to make the timepiece slimmer.

The dial is engine-turned in six patterns: “Geneva waves” in the center, a hobnail pattern for the small seconds, sunrays on the tenth-of-a-second dial and chevrons for the power-reserve indicator. The hours chapter is cross-hatched while a barleycorn pattern decorates the outer edge. The hands are in polished steel with the Breguet open tip, while the case displays delicate fluting.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Regulator
This new timepiece unites the classic regulator display with an officially certified manual winding chronometer movement.

The dominant central position on the lacquered silver-grainé dial is the blue minute hand with its polished eye. On the central axis above and below the minute indicator are smaller hour and seconds displays.

The Glashütte Original panorama date display is placed at 3 o’clock. The date change takes place at midnight. From 6 in the morning until 6 in the evening, the small circle in the region of the hour display is white; from 6 pm until 6 am it is black. This timepiece is framed by a 42 mm polished case in red gold or a white gold version.

The watch is driven by the caliber 58-04, which permits the precise coordination of minute and seconds hands. A second-zero-stop-mechanism makes it is easy for the wearer to set the exact time. When winding the crown, the time display is stopped, the second hand jumps to zero and remains there. At the same time, the minute hand is also moved to the next full minute index. When one winds the crown to set the time, the minute hand always rests only on the full minute indices. This provides the correct relationship of the displayed seconds and minutes. A power reserve display at 9 o’clock indicates the energy remaining in the manual winding movement.

The watch is officially certified and bears a certificate from the German Calibration Service after a 15-day testing period.

Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator
The H-12 movement in this watch allows the separation of the minute and hour hands on  different axials and sub-dials. The idea is to make the watch more accurate and provide an easier way for the person who owns the timepiece to read the time. However, I think most people wear such a watch is because of the appearance. Add to this the blue or silver dial and you have watch that can be worn for casual or formal occasions. There are three 42mm timepieces in the collection. In addition to the dial choice straps come in either leather or stainless steel.

Harry Winston Opus XIII (top photo)
It was difficult to determine which of the many technically advanced and aesthetically pleasing timepieces from this luxury brand to show. In the end I chose the newest addition to its iconic Opus collection. Opus is the watch that introduced Harry Winston to the world as more than just luxury jeweler. Each year the brand works with gifted independent watchmakers to build a timepiece with the goal of defying the conventional rules of watchmaking.

This year the newest member of the Swatch Group created a watch where the minutes accumulate around a track. Eleven rotating silver triangles spring from a faceted dome to show the hours. Every 12 hours, Harry Winston’s logo is appears on the dial and vanishes after sixty minutes. The 59 minute hands pivot on a ring of steel shafts that are held in place by 242 ruby bearings.

The mechanical watch is powered by the in-house HW4101 movement, which has 364 components. The case is made of 18k white gold.

Jaquet Droz Perpetual Calendar Eclipse
This newest version of the Eclispe line presents a new moon phase complication, which displays the cycles of the night of the sky on the dial, with the perpetual calendar complication. On the black or ivory-colored Grand Feu enamel dial, two straight hands contrast with the curves of two wavy hands, tipped with a crescent moon. The calendar information is easily read on several places on the dial: on the right is the date, on the left is the day of the week. At 12 o’clock, a single-hand counter indicates the month with the leap year appearing in a small window. At 6 o’clock, a black or ivory-colored onyx index moves across the face of a golden moon, revealing, and then concealing it until its total eclipse, unfolding on a night sky of eight golden stars, the watchmaker’s favorite number. The timepiece is powered by a Jaquet Droz 5853LR.4 self-winding mechanical movement, double barrel, perpetual calendar, retrograding moon phase, 22-carat white gold oscillating weight.

Longines Heritage Military 1938
Following Orb’s victory in the Kentucky Derby, Longines, the Official Watch and Timekeeper for the celebrated race, awarded the horse’s owner, trainer and jockey with watches from the brand’s Saint-Imier collection at the event’s Winners’ Circle Party. The Swiss watchmaking brand was the Official Watch and Timekeeper of Kentucky Derby 139 and Entitlement Partner of Longines Kentucky Oaks 139. Now the luxury watch brand is Paris where it is the Official Timekeep of Roland-Garros, home of the French Open.

Prior to both events, the brand was in Baselworld showing off its new watch collections. Among them was the Longines Heritage Military 1938, which uses the same aesthetics based on the design of a military watch produced by Longines in the 1930s. With a diameter of 42 mm and fitted with the automatic calibre L705, this timepiece displays the hours and minutes, a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, the date at 6 o’clock and the small second at 9 o’clock. Large white Arabic numerals, coated with Super-LumiNova and a minute circle white as well contrasts with the deep matt black of the dial.

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