Best Watches of Baselworld 2017: $2000 to $5000 Range

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This is the price range at which Watchuseek Senior Editor Bhanu Chopra, will, on condition of an ice-cold beer, sit with you for a short while to consider the merits of your watchmaking. Within this price category the brands like to tempt the buyer to part with a little more cash by placing a premium or limited edition model from a collection that often falls into the ‘below $2000’ category. It’s a clever trick and it works. It’s also the price category where you can start to see finer finishes, especially to movements, more precious metals, and more design flair. The Watch Snob insists there are no watches below this category that are even worth considering. See what you think as we reveal our choices for this year.

ANONIMO MILITARE VINTAGE

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This Italian brand with a Panerai pedigree was founded in 1997 in Florence when the Vendome Luxury Group, (now Richemont) bought Panerai. As Panerai moved to Switzerland, ex Panerai employees formed Anonimo and started to create a collection of sturdy watches, inspired by Italian design, with a focus on military dive watches. The Anonimo Militare Vintage is powered by the Sellita SW260-1, a movement visible through the transparent caseback. This 43.4mm watch is water resistant to 120 meters and comes on a vintage style brown calf leather strap with pin buckle. Price CHF2,450. Visit Anonimo


BELL & ROSS BR V2-92

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This watch forms part of a new trio of vintage inspired watches from Bell & Ross. While sharing the same dial as the BR-V1, with a classical time-and-date display, the Bell & Ross BR V2-92 is a 41mm watch with military DNA. Made from 316L stainless steel, white numerals are pitched against an all-black dial at 3, 6, 9 and 12 while the date window is positioned at 4:30. The BR V2-92 now features a bi-directional rotating bezel (with a 60-minute diver style insert), compared to the fixed bezel of the previous collection. With release expected in July, the UK price for this watch will be around £2,450. Visit Bell & Ross


BRELLUM DUOBOX BLACK EDITION

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Sébastien Muller is a fourth-generation watchmaker from the Swiss Jura region.  Sébastien has worked for several larger brands, but now, at the age of 42, has decided to create his own micro brand called Brellum. The first watch, Duobox, is a clean chronograph with a COSC certified Valjoux 7750 movement.  The watch features a retro dial with raised markers and completes the vintage appearance with the domed sapphire crystal.  The open case back also has a sapphire crystal to show off the decorated movement. The Duobox is limited to 299 editions and comes in three possible dials – silver, grey, and blue.  Price on leather strap is CHF 2,220 and on the Milanese bracelet it is CHF 2,270. Visit Brellum


CITIZEN ECO DRIVE ONE AR5024-01E

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First introduced last year, Citizen’s Eco-Drive One is claimed to be the world’s thinnest light-powered watch. It’s designed as a highly wearable piece that is supremely accurate, tough, durable, and at the same time, slimmer than wafer thin. The case material is made from Cermet and the movement is just 1.00 mm thick, while the casing is just 2.98mm. Pictured here is one of three new models for this year. Price is expected to be around $3,500. Visit Citizen


FAVRE LEUBA RAIDER HARPOON

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Favre-Leuba is the second longest established Swiss watch brand, with its founding dating all the way back to 1737. Hit, like many Swiss brands by the quartz crisis in the late 60s, Favre was sold by the family and passed through different hands such as Benedom SA and LVMH. In November 2011, the brand was acquired by Indian company Titan, part of the mighty TATA Group.

On show at Baselworld this year, was Favre-Leuba’s completely rethought display to show elapsed time when diving. The Raider Harpoon watch makes this vital information clearer and easier to read. Minutes are shown by an highly visible hand that points to large, luminescent markers on the dial. A unidirectional bezel indicates remaining dive time. Hours are displayed on a rotating disc with Roman numerals that is driven by an ingenious patented mechanism. The Harpoon Raider is priced at CHF 4,450 in steel on the rubber strap, and also comes in PVD at CHF4,750 and on a stainless-steel bracelet at CHF4,950. Visit Favre-Leuba


GRAHAM CHRONOFIGHTER VINTAGE NOSE ART LIMITED EDITION

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One of these lovely ladies has been chosen as the mascot of precision timekeeping on each of the four 100-strong limited editions that make up the latest collection recruited to the Chronofighter Vintage series. Glamorous illustrations, in the style of those first applied to military planes in the 1940s to bolster military morale, turn these timepieces into appealing statements of hope and freedom. Each pinup is presented on the 44mm dial in two parts. The upper body reveals the small seconds display, with the pin-up’s left hand touching the index at 4 o’clock, while the legs conceal part of the area of the 30-minute chronograph register. The watch runs on a Caliber G1747 self-winding movement with a 50-hour power reserve. In the UK the watches will retail at £3,850 each. Visit Graham


MÃœHLE GLASHÃœTTE LUNOVA CHRONOGRAPH

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The Lunova Chronograph is a combination of polished and brushed surfaces, the case of the watch perfectly complements its dark black face. This brand-new watch family was unveiled by Mühle at this year’s Baselworld. It aims to fill the gap where the Antaria range was previously positioned. This understated collection with nautical values incorporates both dressiness and casualness with their matt black dials, orange accents and all are fitted to a dark brown crocodile leather strap. The 42mm case comes in either chronograph, date or day-date versions and are powered by Mühle’s automatic movements with patented ‘Woodpecker Neck’ regulation and Glashütte Three Quarter Plate assembly. If you’re in any doubt, relax, the watch, indeed the whole collection, is fully Bhanu Approved. In the UK the Lunova Chronograph retails at £2,720. Visit Mühle Glashütte


SEIKO NOVAK DJOKOVIC LIMITED EDITION SSE143

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Chronograph, Dual-Time, World-Time and now Big-Date. The range of Astron GPS Solar calibers continues to grow in bewildering numbers in line with demand for the top watch-tech these watches offer. The watch has the ability to adjust to local time, anywhere in the world, at the touch of a button and using just the power of light. With the addition of the big date window, the inclusion of a dual-time dial at the six o’clock position and new, slimmer hands, the new designs have a refinement that makes them suitable for evening wear as well as for international travel. Because this limited edition is all about tennis ace Novak Djokovic, the names of the four Grand Slam tournaments’ host cities, London, Melbourne, New York and Paris, are picked out in yellow on the bezel, the stripe pattern on the dial offers a discreet echo of the way a grass court is mown and the tennis scores of ‘Love, 15, 30 and 40’ surround the dual-time sub-dial at 6 o’clock. And the case back bears Novak’s signature. This new watch will be released in September 2017. UK price will be £1,895, so the US price is likely to be just squeezing into the $2000 category. Visit SEIKO


SEIKO PROSPEX DIVER SLA017

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Now we have moved up a price category we get the full fat SEIKO Prospex Diver. This is the watch that had fully grown bloggers weeping at the SEIKO stand when they discovered it is limited to just 2000 pieces worldwide. Only the likes of SEIKO Joe Kirk will ever get to wear this watch. This 39.9mm diver is equipped with a high-end Seiko movement, caliber 8L35, which was specially designed for dive watches and is made by SEIKO’s craftsmen and women in the Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio in Morioka in the north of Japan. It has a 50-hour power reserve. The watch is a tribute to the original 62MAS diver made by SEIKO in the 60’s. It features the same case shape, the same dial, the same bezel and bezel insert, the same font and indexes, hands, inscriptions and date window. Even the strap, with the original diamond pattern, has been recreated. If you can get hold of one, the price will be €3,800. Visit SEIKO


 

TUDOR BLACK BAY CHRONOGRAPH

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Mr. Ander Ugarte, the father and designer of the modern Black Bay, explained that TUDOR listened to watch collectors and researched the history to finally produce a modern Black Bay while keeping the vintage divers in mind. The new Black Bay Chronograph remains faithful to the Black Bay aesthetic with the famous snowflake hands – a brand signature since 1969. The Heritage Black Bay Chrono model offers optimum readability against the domed matt black dial. The sub-counters are hollowed for optimum contrast and a date aperture is positioned at 6 o’clock. The recognizable characteristics of the Black Bay are preserved in a steel case with a 41mm diameter, fitted with pushers inspired by the first generation of TUDOR chronographs. A fixed bezel in circular satin-brushed steel with engraved tachymetric scale completes this sporty new chronograph. The TUDOR Black Bay Chronograph will be available this summer on either a strap or a rivet-style bracelet, priced at $4,725 and just a whisper over $5000 at $5,050, respectively. Visit TUDOR


 

SPECIAL MENTION: EDOX DELFIN 1650 FLEET IN BRONZE

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I featured this watch yesterday in the stainless-steel version, but the bronze limited edition version is awesome and falls into this price category at $2,500. Mark Wasserman, who has long distributed the brand in the USA, reckons it’s the best example of a an EDOX Delfin he has yet seen.  Water resistant to 200 meters, the watch will form its own unique patina over time. Visit EDOX

 

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