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Best of Baselworld 2017: New Watches From Blancpain, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Bulgari and more

Baselworld 2017 opening day.

New introductions at Baselworld this year tended to fit one of two categories. 1. Trends that reflect the times – and by “times” I mean an industry that is entering its third straight year of decline (see my story on that here) – with watches that are smaller, less complicated and more realistically designed and priced. And 2. Watches that reflect the fact that Baselworld is also about showmanship and haute horology, with high complications (like the Breguet Equation of Time) and metiers masterpieces (like the Dior VIII Grand Bal). Here are my top five men’s and top five ladies’ introductions for Baselworld 2017. Click on each link to find more pictures and detailed descriptions. Read more

Baselworld 2017: Dior VIII Grand Bal Pièce Unique Galaxie Grus

Dior timepieces are often dismissed as fashion watches because Dior is a fashion maison and the watches often contain quartz movements. However, there is a distinction to be made: Fendi is a fashion brand; Guess is a fashion brand. Dior is haute horology.

Dior VIII Grand Bal Pièce Unique Galaxie Grus.

Dior VIII Grand Bal Pièce Unique Galaxie Grus.

The Grand Bal Pièce Unique Galaxie Grus, for example, is a work of high metiers, set with 420 diamonds totaling 2.42 carats. Some of the diamonds are set into the crystal, a delicate process with a high breakage rate, and the dial is composed of Australian opal and hand-engraved gold. The rotor (the brand uses Zenith movements) appears on the dial side, and is also decorated.

Grand Soir Botanic

DiorGrand Soir Botanic

Another unique Dior piece, the Grand Soir Botanic, is set with 7.24 carats of diamonds, 1.07 carats of yellow, blue and pink sapphires, as well as rubies and emeralds. The mesh-textured strap is made with the same technical fabric used on Dior’s Fusion sneakers. I guess that makes it a “fashion” watch by some definitions, but those sneakers cost $1,100.