As the world’s most highly anticipated show closes its doors for another year, we wanted to bring you our findings, what we thought of the show and most importantly what were the best and most talked about 2018 releases.
Every year each brand launches what they hope will be a standout piece, and this year was no different. With the usual suspects announcing modified re-releases or upgraded calibres, this year also saw the restructure of Breitling, as well as more dynamic pieces for Omega and TAG Heuer.
With so many re-releases, updated caliber's, brand new models and showstoppers, we have put our top choices together and, in this blog, we will discuss the watches we believe will be huge in 2018.
Breitling Navitimer 8
The Navitimer 8 is Breitling’s latest aviation pilots watch, which has been scaled down, simplified and smartened up.
This 'new look Breitling' is the first release since the appointment of new CEO, George Kern, who took the helm in 2017.
Following Kern's takeover, his intentions for the brand's future are undoubtedly clear. He wants to update and re-establish the brand as a modern power-house, ready to fight for its place in the ever-changing world of horology.
Breitling's original DNA still runs through the new Navitimer 8, which oozes plenty of pilot appeal, with a large 41mm case, bold aviation indices and a grooved bezel.
The simple dial, however, could not be more polar opposite to the original and iconic Navitimer, with its fussy, over-technical dial and slide rule.
There are five variations in the new Navitimer 8 family:
Navitimer 8 Automatic 41: From £3,000
Navitimer 8 Automatic Day & Date 41: From £3,200
Navitimer 8 Chronograph 43: From £4,250
Navitimer 8 BO1 Chronograph (featuring an in-house movement): From £5,900
Navitimer 8 B35 Automatic Unitime (featuring the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B35 movement): From £6,200
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape Quantième Annuel
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms - the world's first modern diver's watch (launched in 1953).
While many people give this title to the better known Rolex Submariner, the Fifty Fathoms debuted a number of innovations a year before the Submariner.
The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe was introduced in the late 1950s and was named after the submersible cabin in which divers can explore parts of the sea that are too deep for an exposed diver. It was a more wearable adaptation of the original Fifty Fathoms and today still strongly holds its place as a stylish and technically impressive sports watch.
This year Blancpain has released a new model with a functional complication, to sit in their ever-popular Bathyscaphe range.
Measuring 43mm, the watch still showcases all the necessary diving features (such as 300m water resistance and a unidirectional bezel) but now has the added ability to show the day, date and month, systematically changing from 30 or 31 days in each month - only requiring one manual adjustment in February.
As of yet, Blancpain has only released this caliber with a satin-brushed steel case, meteor grey dial and Liquidmetal hour-markers, so fans of the previous ceramic case versions may need to cross fingers for further releases. However, at Burrells we think that this watch is not bad for a cool £9240.00 on a sail-canvas strap.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Last year we saw a shift in the case size dynamic across most brands, and now it seems Tudor is taking note of consumer requests by launching a Heritage Black Bay with a slightly smaller, more traditional size case.
The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight is offering the same features as its 41mm big brother, including a 70-hour power reserve and 200m waterproofness, but is powered by the new MT5402 COSC certified movement (specially made for the slimmed down 39mm case).
A nod to their sports model beginnings, the name of this new model is in honour of the first Tudor Submariner, which was released 60 years ago.
It is also worth noting that from July 2018, you will not receive a fabric strap when you purchase a Heritage Black Bay. (Previously, if you bought a Black Bay on a steel bracelet, you would receive a complimentary fabric strap too).
The fabric straps will still be available to order though, and you can of course opt to purchase the watch on the fabric strap from the onset should you wish.
Steel bracelet: £2,560
Brown leather strap: £2,340
Fabric strap: £2,340
OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300m
Also gaining a place on our list is the much-awaited re-introduction of the infamous OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300m, with the “Wave” dial.
Since 1993, the Seamaster Diver 300m has enjoyed a legendary following, thanks to none other than James Bond. This year, the collection is celebrating this 25-year milestone with a full makeover.
The new release is fractionally bigger than its predecessor, at 42mm and features a ceramic bezel with the diving scale in Ceragold™ or white enamel, offering longer-lasting whiteness and durability.
On the dial, the popular wave pattern has been reintroduced (now laser-engraved) and the indexes have been raised and filled with Super-LumiNova. The sleek dial is made from ceramic and there are three colour options - blue, black, or a PVD chrome colour.
Inside, the updated model houses the new METAS approved Master Chronometer calibre 8800, instantly increasing the collection's precision, performance and magnetic resistance.
This year, OMEGA has brought out 14 new versions of the 300m Diver, including six in stainless steel, eight in a mix of stainless steel and gold, and a limited edition titanium and 18K Sedna™ gold version, which is limited to 2,500 pieces worldwide.
From £3,520 (rubber strap)
TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford
One of the most striking new watches from this year's Baselworld comes from TAG Heuer.
Following the official partnership with Bamford Watch Department (the leader in luxury watch customisation) in 2017, this year the two companies have released a limited-edition timepiece that will most certainly demand attention.
The bold and innovative watch is a unique take on the iconic TAG Heuer Monaco. We love the case, which has been revamped in carbon for a contemporary and long-lasting look.
The sleek black dial is punctuated by aqua blue, on the luminescent indexes of the chronograph counters and the date window, the trademark of George Bamford.
The George Bamford imprint is engraved on the dial, and the bottom of the box is signed "Monaco Bamford". The black alligator leather strap is a luxurious finishing touch.
This awesome watch will be limited to 500 units worldwide and only sold through TAG Heuer Boutique stores.
Omega Speedmaster CK 2998 Limited Edition
OMEGA has landed a second spot on our list, this time with the Speedmaster CK 2998 Limited Edition.
The original CK 2998 was released in 1959 and has become one of the most popular vintage Speedmaster's in the world. This year, OMEGA has used that classic design as inspiration for a new limited edition.
This dapper watch is built with a 39.7mm stainless steel case and a lightly sand-blasted silvery dial featuring three black subdials.
Blackened “Alpha” hands and a varnished red seconds hand tick around the minute track, while the driver-style black leather strap is micro-perforated with a white rubber interior.
The black ceramic bezel features a white enamel pulsometer scale, for checking heartbeats per minute. In our opinion, this is a more practical tool than a tachymeter for measuring speed.
This is also the only manual watch on our list, housing the Omega Calibre 1861, which many OMEGA fans will recognise as being the same movement used in the current Moonwatch.
Limited to only 2,998 units worldwide and going by the popularity of its blue predecessor (the 2016 CK 2998 limited edition), we have no doubt this model will prove popular.
Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi
It would not be possible to create a Baselworld list without discussing the elephant in the room as it were… Rolex. Every year the mighty goliath always releases a new model that instantly becomes the most sought-after watch in the world.
This year was most certainly no exception and if we’re honest, the release had widely been predicted (and highly anticipated!)
Rolex has welcomed the iconic GMT-Master II steel “Pepsi” back into the fray, a well-known model, which was discontinued from the range in 2007 after nearly 60 years on the market.
Up until 2007, Rolex had been using anodized aluminum for their bezels, which, while exceptionally strong, was subject to scratching and fading over time. Rolex came up with a new solution, creating their own ceramic material, Cerachrom. Practically indestructible, Cerachrom is unaffected by sunlight or exposure to chlorinated or sea water.
The problem with the new extremely tough Cerachrom was, it was a much more difficult material to work with and, subsequently, costly to add a bi-colour scheme to.
This is why we saw the release of the white gold GMT-Master II “Pepsi” in white gold in 2014, where the cost of the precious metal offset the cost of the bezel production. Although well received, many people were disappointed that they couldn’t get the Pepsi in steel.
But finally, the most anticipated return has happened. For the very first time, the GMT-Master II is available with a Cerachrom two-tone (red and blue) bi-directional bezel, in Oystersteel, with a Jubilee bracelet.
The watch also features the new Oysterlock clasp, which allows for quick and easy size adjustment when required.
The new version GMT Master II Pepsi houses the new-generation calibre 3285 movement and boasts a 70 hour power reserve, a vast improvement on the 48 hour power reserve of the previous iteration GMT with its calibre 3186 movement.
This Rolex has been extremely well received as you’ve seen I’m sure and Rolex retailers will, without a doubt, have a waiting list as long as their arms.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay GMT 'Pepsi'
This year we're seeing new "Pepsi" GMT’s from both Rolex and Tudor. Baselworld 2018 will most certainly be remembered as ‘The Battle of the Pepsi’s’! As we mentioned above, some people were expecting the Rolex, but the Tudor GMT was a total surprise.
Tudor’s second watch on our list features a striking 24-hour bidirectional matte burgundy and blue bezel, held in a 41mm stainless steel case. We love the red Snowflake GMT hand, which sits on the smooth domed matte-black dial.
The awesome watch is powered by Tudor’s in-house, COSC-certified MT5652 caliber, and has a 70 hour power reserve.
With a ticket price of only £2790.00 it is not difficult to see why Tudor once again stole the Basel show.
Steel bracelet: £2,790
Brown leather strap: £2,570
Fabric strap: £2,570
What's Your Favourite New Release?
Which new Baselworld 2018 watch has caught your eye? We'd love to know, tell us in the comments. If you have questions about any of the models above, our experts are always on hand to help - you can get in touch here.