As Baselworld 2014 exposition continues I take a look at more brands and more novelties that were just unveiled in the past couple of days. As I continue exploring ‘The Palace’, a house of independent watchmakers and brands I find more creations that I definitely wasn’t expecting.
Baselworld 2014 Second Day – Manufacture Royale
First of them comes from a relatively new brand – Manufacture Royale. It was recently purchased by the Gouten Distribution, a family business that specializes in distributing and retailing new and interesting watches before anyone else has even noticed them. So when I heard they have acquired ‘Manufacture Royale’ I was very anxious to see what happens next, as for the past years we haven’t really seen many novelties from the brand. The result was really good to say the least – very fresh look, new elegant design, nice finishing yet still in line with the brand identity.
The new ‘1770’ collection features several models, all equipped with a flying one minute tourbillon at 7 o’clock and a power reserve indicator (of 108 hours!) just above it. Now the reason I brought up the finishing is because every component of the new pieces is hand-finished and looks like the watch is too perfect to even wear. And while for the people who have already tried on the ‘Androgyne’ tourbillon (older collection) it might seem that the 1770 has a smaller dial it is all a question of casing.
The lugs are now smaller, the watch is rounder and the leather strap thinner, and it all reflects in the perception of size. However the actual case size is same and I am really glad that they have fixed the issue with the strap, so that now it clasps much easier. The watch will be for sale in different variations starting with steel and finishing with rose gold and diamonds around the bezel, while the price starts from around 45’000$ which is actually amazing for a Swiss tourbillon watch.
Baselworld 2014 Second Day – MCT Watches
Now to a much less classic and much more futuristic kind of a timepiece I visited MCT, a brand that got famous a few years ago for creating one of the most eye-catching movements and concepts in modern horology. Today the brand has stepped its game up by one more level as it releases the new line of all in-house produced watches called Sequential 2, otherwise known as S200. While S100 and S110 were manually winded retrograde minute handed square cased wrist-spacecrafts the new S200 is an automatic movement housed in a round casing where the sapphire glass is part of the actual case, and the minute hand is more readable as it is no longer retrograde but rather ‘traditional’.
The hour-telling principle however stays the same – 4 plates made of small three-sided parts are located at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock of the dial and as the minute hand progresses the hour-plate after the one revealed rotates to show the next number in the 12-hour sequence, so that by the time the minute hand makes a full circle and the small unfinished circle in the center rotates to reveal the next hour the number is already there. The new collection will have different variations starting with steel and gold ones presented at Basel just now. And even though the pieces that we saw are only prototypes they already look good enough to be sitting on someone’s wrist permanently.
Baselworld 2014 Second Day – RJ-Romain Jerome
And finally last brand that I was very pleased with is Romain Jerome. They have come up with 4 new watches, 2 of them are pieces we have already seen but redone in black: the Spacecraft and the Moon Orbiter tourbillon. Both look nice in the new color, but the first one is also complemented with a very cool strap on an orange stitching. The third watch is essentially a smaller version of the already well-known Volcano ‘Eyjafjallajokull’ DNA that looks more like a dress watch rather that a big chunky piece of metal ?
However I was more surprised and impressed with the 4th watch that Romain Jerome has announced at this year’s Baselworld – the completely new Nose Art-DNA. The idea was taken from an existing form of art that was created and popularized during the Second World War – the Nose Art. Today we mainly see it as tattoos and stickers of pin-up girls, but before armies used to actually paint like this on the planes. And while we don’t see the actual drawings on the watches unless we flip them the dial is also very unusual for RJ.
Just like the Tattoo DNA it is something completely new – Romain Jerome’s perception of a modern pilot watch. As usual professional watches it is housed in a large 46 mm PVD steel (or gold in another version) casing and has a nato strap right from the beginning. The dial, however, is the main point of attention in the watch – it’s a camo pattern that looks very nice for a casual style.
Thank you for tuning in this time, and tomorrow make sure to come back for more of the interesting Baselworld news (hint: it will be about Hublot and Girard Perregaux.!) Stay tuned.
Credits @ Photos by Adam Priscak and James Cole for DreamChrono Watch Blog.