Baselworld 2013, the largest watch and jewelry fair came to an end on May 2. No connoisseur of luxury accessories missed this extravaganza. If you were there too, you were fortunate to catch a glimpse of the anniversary editions from the luxury watch houses - Tag Heuer, Rolex, Swatch, Casio and Seiko.
Baselworld is the perfect place to celebrate the anniversary of the most popular timepieces that have retained their charm over the years. If you were not there, don’t fret; here is a look at the intriguing anniversary editions of the most-loved luxury watches.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona: The expectations reached a feverish pitch about this watch. The rumors confirmed that the piece would have a 42mm case made from stainless steel, a Cerachrom Tachymeter bezel in black and no crown guard! Well, the model showcased at Baselworld, thankfully, did not conform to these standards.
Rolex is not much into celebrating anniversaries. But it came up with a delightful surprise for watch aficionados with this stupefying 50th anniversary edition of the Cosmograph Daytona, reputed for its association with the legendary actor and car-racer, Paul Newman.
For starters, the case stayed in its standard 40mm size. The uniqueness was delivered, not with a change in the dimension, but with a change in material. The stainless steel of the previous models was replaced by the most precious of all metals – Platinum. The Oyster 3-piece solid link bracelet is also crafted from 950 platinum.
The monobloc Cerachrom Tachymeter bezel in ceramic with a chestnut brown hue complements the lacquered sub-dials on the icy-blue dial. The layering of the silvery platinum, the soft brown and the icy blue creates a sophisticated aesthetic.
The numerical and graduations on the bezel make measuring speed easy. Developed and manufactured by the innovators at Rolex, the Calibre 4130 ensures the accuracy of the Cosmograph Daytona’s chronograph. The enhanced reliability of the mechanical movement is due to the use of fewer parts in the chronograph.
TAG Heuer Carrera: Another wristwatch completed its 50th anniversary in 2013 – the famed Carrera from TAG Heuer. Designed by Jack Heuer in 1963, this piece got its name from the Carrera Panamericana Mexico Race. The distinctiveness of the original timepiece can be attributed to its racing-inspired origin and its Pop Art influence.
The rumors about this watch were also going strong before the fair. To end speculations, TAG Heuer came up with an exclusive line-up of the 50th anniversary editions of the Carrera in versatile finishes and functionalities.
At the top of the line-up is the Calibre 36 Racing Chronograph Flyback, which combines casual sporting charm with elegant craftsmanship. The first-rate Calibre 36 automatic chronograph movement, a classic characteristic of TAG Heuer, features alongside the original fly-back complication, a signature of this model.
The chronograph movement beats 36,000 times per hour; thus the name. The fly-back complication ensures that drivers and aviation pilots can reset the chronograph to a zero at a click, an essential for automobile racing and flying.
Super-light Titanium Grade 2, used for cutting edge automotive, aerospace and architectural design, is the material of choice for the watch case. It is sandblasted and coated with black titanium carbide to create the sheen. The anthracite dial comes with the sunray effect, with a sapphire caseback that displays the fine mechanisms within.
The connection with racing is evident in the watch strap of the Carrera too. Reminiscent of steering-wheel covers and motor-racing leathers, the black leather strap has a perforated design with a folding clasp crafted from black titanium grade 2.
Swatch Sistem 51: The Swatch Group celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. It came into existence in 1983 to save the Swiss watch market from the onslaught of the quartz revolution. Interestingly, the quartz movement was invented by the Swiss themselves; however, others perfected the concept and led to this situation.
To hold back the quartz crisis and to bring to the limelight the traditional Swiss made watches, Swatch brought forth a selection of simple, colorful and cheap watches. It is to celebrate its interesting journey that Swatch announced the introduction of the Sistem 51.
The mechanical movement of the watch is assembled, not by the human hand, but by the automated machines. The use of advanced technology to create the conventional mechanical movement may be the next big thing in horology! It also has a 90 hour power reserve and a bi-directional rotor.
Swatch automated the creation of the quartz movement with a simple trick – it reduced the number of parts. It uses the same idea here. The number of components in Sistem 51, as the name suggests, is 51. All of them are connected to the central screw.
The hermetic seal of the case makes it impossible for the watch movement to be serviced. Therefore, it was necessary to make it impervious to change. It achieves this with its anti-magnetic material, ARCAP (an alloy made from copper, zinc and nickel). The lightweight dial in blue-black and the view of the inside from the case back adds to the interest.
Casio G-Shock: A watch needs to be handled with care. Well, it was to get rid of this concept that the first G-Shock was designed in 1983. Kikuo Ibe, a designer at Casio, came up with this iconic design after his valuable watch broke into pieces due to a drop. The limited edition 30th anniversary G-Shock pays tribute to the original design.
It is quite an impressive line-up – the classic G-Shock, the iconic Frogman and the handsome Mudman. The core functionalities include Omni-directional shock-resistance, the signature of this collection from Casio.
The Frogman, the iconic dive watch, comes in a titanium case with gloss red and golden accents. The mirrored LCD provides the right dose of sophistication to this classic piece. Two variations are available; both with Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping and Solar Power. The features include dive timers with data memory, tide and moon graphs and world time.
‘Absolute toughness’ – that is the vision that Casio follows to create this exclusive selection of ‘unbreakable’ watches. The shock resistance, the water resistance and the battery life – the qualities are sure to translate this vision into a reality.
Stylish and functional, the G-Shock reinvented the age-old perception about digital watches. The limited edition watches come with the 30th anniversary logo engraved on the case back. What's so special about it? Well, it was designed by the famous graphic artist Eric Haze especially for these watches!
Seiko Astron GPS Solar: The pride of place in the collection at the Seiko stand at Baselworld 2013 was occupied by the limited edition Astron GPS Solar. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first timekeeping device from the watch house, this remarkable model has a number of special features.
The watch symbolizes the vision of Kintaro Hattori, the founder of Seiko. The case back features his name and his lifelong pursuit that the watch house should be ‘one step ahead of the rest’. His birthplace, Tokyo, is also spelled out in gold letters on the time zone bezel.
The case back also features the original symbol of Seiko, a big ‘S’, engraved and embossed in gold. The symbol was registered as early as 1900; another reason that makes this watch special. The watch also features the signature Astron feature – it uses solar power to display world time anywhere with receiving and using the positioning data from GPS satellites.
The case of the Seiko Astron GPS Solar special edition is made from high-intensity titanium. The black sets off the gold accents on the front and the back. The ceramic bezel, the onyx-tipped crown and the anti-reflective crystal add to the glamour of the piece.
The watch has a crocodile leather strap; however, you also have the option to replace with a titanium bracelet. If you swear by the innovative timepieces from Seiko, here is one piece that you need to include in your collection. And don’t wait for long; there are only 5,000 pieces in this collection.
Mahasweta Bhattacharyya is a contributing writer at Tic-Tock. An unwavering passion for luxury watches and an unending curiosity about how they work is what drives her to take an active interest in them.