Last week our editors offered up their picks for the best everyday watches of Baselworld 2017. The goal was to pick timekeepers that you could ostensibly wear, well, every single day. You’ll notice that in all cases, those watches had just three hands (one even had a date window – gasp!). Today we’re going for something completely different. From unusual alarms to accurate moonphases to a totally new kind of chronograph, here are our editors’ favorite complicated watches of Baselworld 2017.
Cara Barrett – Rolex Cellini Moon Phase
The biggest surprise for me this Baselworld was the Rolex Cellini Moon Phase. I had never given the Cellini a second thought, and in some cases not even a first thought, but when I saw the Moon Phase for the first time I was smitten. Sure, it’s only a moonphase, not some crazy new complication at work here, but in classic Rolex fashion this one has an automatic movement that is astronomically accurate to one day every 122 years. Additionally, it has that vintage feel that I love, but with a fresh take. The case and dial design are both clean, restrained, and appropriate. This watch is sure to be a classic and is a clear winner for me.
Jack Forster – Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph
The most forward-thinking complication I saw this year was a new chronograph movement from a totally unexpected source: Fabergé. The House of Fabergé might be best-known for the Imperial Eggs the original company made for the Russian royal family, but today the company is making serious inroads into serious horology. The AgenGraphe chronograph movement in the Visionnaire chronograph is the brainchild of noted watchmaker and complications specialist Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, and its host of innovations include the creation of a central chronograph module with a never-before-seen lateral friction clutch, as well as a novel reset mechanism, amongst others. That’s right, Fabergé may now be offering arguably the most innovative chronograph wristwatch in the world.
$39,500 (rose gold); faberge.com
Stephen Pulvirent – Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G
I’m a firm believer that simplicity is often more difficult and interesting than complexity. But complexity done simply? Yeah, that’s the best. The ref. 5320G is a new perpetual calendar from Patek Philippe that threads that needle perfectly. The creamy lacquer dial with the applied Arabic numerals, the stepped lugs, and the clear indications for the day, date, month, leap year, day/night, and moonphase are a winning combination. There’s enough vintage charm and more than a few nods to classic Patek’s, but this watch feels firmly of today, not like some nostalgia trip gone wrong.
Arthur Touchot – Rolex Sky-Dweller In Steel
I’ve never been a big fan of the Sky-Dweller. The functionality of a second time display and extremely clever (and discreet) annual calendar makes it one of the most appealing watches out there, but the dial always felt a little too cluttered to me. The new version of the Sky-Dweller is much lighter, physically and visually, thanks to two simple switches: The oversized numerals have been replaced by short baton indexes and the watch is now available in stainless steel instead of just shades of gold. Both totally transform the watch, and from a distance you might even mistake it for a Datejust 41 now. In stainless steel with a handsome blue dial, the complications are once again the focal point of the Sky-Dweller – as it always should have been.
Louis Westphalen – Hermès Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente
L’Heure Impatiente represents everything that I love about Hermès. It doesn’t show off, but offers something truly unique in a very elegant package. Take this watch’s chime – anticipating a happy moment, set by the wearer and only audible to the wearer, it is a much more playful take on time than a traditional alarm. That audacity is completed by the distinctive Slim typography, which brings a lot of joy and dynamism to the dial. This watch proves again that Hermès does not take watchmaking lightly and always adds its own spin.