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Most Wanted: Watches at Baselworld 2011

May 23, 2011

I. Breitling Montbrillant Navitimer

The Breitling Montbrillant Navitimer Caliber 01 is a vintage inspired timepiece that looks like a chronograph from the 1940s or 1950s. The case is downsized 40 mm case, for a more vintage feel. It has the old Breilting "B" logo on the dial. Breitling has fitted this special timepiece with their in-house column-wheel chronograph movement, the Caliber 01. Retail from $8,540, Breitling


Ladoire Mr. Race

The Black Widow Mr. Race is the newest version of Ladoire Geneve's beautiful regulator watch. It is not a traditional regulator, instead of hands for displaying the hours, minutes and seconds, it uses patented rotating discs (the seconds disc rotates backwards). There is also a GMT function, controlled by a huge hour corrector on the side of the case. The pusher is ultra smooth, which is a sign of superb craftsmanship. And unlike so many watches of this ilk, it does not have that outrageous of a price tag (relatively speaking). Retail from $59,000, Ladoire


Christophe Claret Blackjack 21

The Christophe Claret Blackjack 21 may look like a typical high-end Swiss watch, but discreetly hidden within the case are three Casino style games (mechanical). Cards for the "blackjack" game are located under a translucent smoked sapphire crystal dial. Hitting one pusher shuffles and deals the cards, and another pusher is pressed to make the dealer hit you with another card. The "dice" game is played by shaking the case, which in turn rolls the dice which are visible behind a small sapphire crystal window on the side of the case. The "roulette" game is played by turning the caseback's rotating bezel until the green marker is on your preferred number. Then all you have to do is flip your wrist and the solid gold rotor/roulette wheel spins until it lands on a number. The overall execution of this timepiece, especially the cool hidden games, is a excellent. Retail $170,000, Christophe Claret


Patek Philippe 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The Patek Philippe 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is an all new version of Patek's 5970. Patek is famous for their manually wound perpetual calendar chronograph. Powering the Patek Philippe 5270, is an all new in-house movement. The case is 41 mm and is in white gold. The caseback can be either solid and exhibition, as the 5270 comes with both. Overall, you cannot go wrong with a Patek, as you can pretty much count on good appreciation, especially of model of this importance. Retail $155,700, Patek


Chopard Urushi XP

The Chopard Urushi XP comes with a beautifully finished L.U.C. in-house automatic movement, an ultra thin 6.8 mm case and your choice of nine beautifully hand lacquered Urushi dials. Urushi is an ancient Japanese art of lacquering and consists of multiple layers of paint, and metal powder, used to create exquisite one-of-a-kind works of art. Retail $20,730, Chopard


Victorinox Airboss Automatic

The Victorinox Airboss Automatic is the benchmark for a Swiss made timepiece costing under a grand. Whether it is the satin-brushed 316L stainless steel case, or the applied Arabic numerals, or the exhibition caseback, or the Swiss ETA movement -- this timepiece could easily be mistaken for watch costing thousands more. For $895, it is nearly impossible to find a "Swiss made" timepiece of this caliber. Retail $895, Victorinox


Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph

For Baselworld 2011 Longines introduced a number of cool retro-styled column-wheel chronographs. At a cost of under than three thousand dollars, it would be hard to find any competing column-wheel equipped timepieces in the same price range (except something pre-owned). This is quite a watch, especially considering the price, retro style and quality of the movement. Retail $2,950, Longines


Rolex Explorer II

Whenever Rolex introduces any changes to their timepieces, it is always big news in the watch industry. This year the big story was the Rolex Explorer II Ref. 16570, a very popular timepiece in Rolex's collection. At 42 mm, its a few millimeters bigger than its predecessor, and even if I prefer a smaller case for this particular watch (and I do) it is still a great looking timepiece. Plus, it has the latest Rolex technologies, such as the proprietary blue parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers. Retail $6,325, Rolex


Harry Winston Opus Eleven

The Harry Winston Opus Eleven was the talk of the Baselworld 2011 show. But does it live up to all the hype? Yes. It's so complex and innovative, unlike anything I've ever seen. When the hour changes, instead of the hand advancing to the next hour, it mechanically explodes the hour in the center of the dial, with minutes and seconds being displayed on the subsidiary dials which are located on the right side of the case. Watching the hour change is maybe even more intriguing than a tourbillon. Retail $250,000, Harry Winston

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