Among the loads of new watches announced at Baselworld there were a handful of unique and downright cool collaborative timepieces revealed. A few are surprising partnerships that push innovation, some inject a bit of style while the others join the competition in the smart watch category. Each have an interesting story and together are furthering the industry in new directions.
Styled for the Wrist
Hublot Classic Fusion Berluti
Meshing the expertise of Hublot together with shoemaker Berluti was not an easy task; nevertheless the result is a handsome timepiece. Once the challenge to neutralize the organic components of the leather was resolved the patina leather could be used as the dial. The Venezia leather completes the refined style of both the Hublot Classic Fusion Berluti models. The Hublot Classic Fusion Berluti Scitto features a tobacco bis leather engraved with 18th century inspired calligraphy while Classic Fusion All Black has nero grigio or black grey leather and is marked with the signature "Gaspard" incision. Each limited edition watch is driven by HUB1100 secured in a 45 mm polished and satin-finished black ceramic or 18K King gold.
Corum Heritage Bubble Dani Olivier
The French artist Dani Olivier adds psychedelic nude photographs to the dial of the Corum Heritage Bubble. Olivier creates these vivacious images by projecting light patterns onto nude bodies set against a jet-black background. This effect produce completely surreal forms that up close reveal human details. Corum chose two of Olivier’s photographs and use high-resolution printing to reproduce these on the dials of its Bubble wristwatch. The exaggerated dome sapphire crystal of the 47 mm case enhances artful dial while the hands were filled with black lacquer to complement the miniature art. Each of the versions are limited to 88 pieces, one with a black PVD coated case with the 88th version of each having a rose gold bezel symbolizing a frame.
Hermès Acreau Tigre
For the first time Hermès is using a process called ‘enamel ombrant' or shaded enamel by working closely with expert engraver and enameller Olivier Vaucher. To achieve this miniature masterpiece highlighted in the Hermès Arceau Tigre takes numerous steps and uses artistic techniques such as lithophany, relief engraving, and enameling. Taking inspiration from the Hermès theme “Nature at full gallop,” and drawing on there past, Hermès selected an illustration of a tiger by artist Robert Dallet, who worked with the Maison during the 1980’s. The result is a time-only watch powered by in-house mechanical self-winding H1837 finished with a striking dial in the asymmetric Arceau case.
Pushing the Envelope
MB&F HMX Black Badger
MB&F has a knack for collaborations. This time around, the MB&F HMX and Starfleet Machine get a shot of lume from James Thompson of Black Badger. Thompson is known for milling three-dimensional objects from solid blocks luminescence creating rings and key chains with vivid, high-efficiency glow or perhaps you have seen his work with Stephan Sarpaneva. The HMX Black Badger sports a glowing flair under the redesigned engine ‘rocker covers’ with bars of Radar Green, Phantom Blue, or Purple Reign lume. Moreover, the Starfleet Machine received a bit of flair accenting the movement and legs in addition to the indications and hands. In true MB&F style both these pieces standout out, especially at night.
Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon
The Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon brings the elements of the nautical world to the wrist down to the last detail. With the cooperation of expert watchmaker Christophe Claret, the watch echoes elements from yachts such as the retro grade minute hand resembling boom found along the bottom edge of a sail. The dial also incorporates wood marquetry to represent the deck of a sailing yacht and even uses the ‘U’ and ‘N’ maritime signal flags flanking the 12. The manual-wound Caliber UN-630 has two barrels, one driving the time and the other powering the complication. This watch is limited to 18 pieces and truly evokes nautical life down to the last detail.
Chanel de Monsieur
Although the particulars are still to be confirmed for this particular partnership, the Monsieur de Chanel could not be left off the list. This chic men’s watch from Chanel powered by Calibre 1, a fully intergraded movement complete with a jumping hour and retrograde minutes. The release was tied to an announcement by the maison of their stake in independent watchmaker Romain Gauthier. More to be discovered about this timepiece come June 2016.
Romain Jerome Tattoo-DNA by Xoil
In addition, Romain Jerome teamed up with tattoo artist Xoil resulting in the Tattoo-DNA by Xoil. This watch brings together the two talents with the skeletonized movement peeking out of a Grand Feu dial highlighting Xoil’s admiration for vintage watch dials. Furthermore unionizing the relationship, the leather straps are hand tattoo by Xoil and express an extension his love of the nineteenth century imaginary.
Samsung Gear S2 by de Grisogono
Seemingly the two most unlikely partners, Samsung and de Grisogono have joined forces to debut the Samsung Gear S2 by de Grisogono at Baselworld. This glamorous smart watch has the technical expertise of Samsung’s Gear S2 while the outer beauty is all de Grisogono. The round case is encrusted with black diamonds along the blackened steel case and finished with a black galuchat strap, a signature to the house. Accessing the functionality of connected watch is done in style via the push buttons and rotating bezel that is bejeweled with white diamonds. There are two digital dials offered for the 1.2” screen in black or white and both bearing the codes of de Grisogono.
Casio Smart Outdoor WSD-F10
Casio meshes the advanced technology of Androidwear into an outdoor performance watch that will measure up under the harshest of conditions. The Casio Smart Outdoor WSD-F10 is compliant with the rigid military standards of MIL-STD-810 from the U.S. Department of Defense requiring the watch to withstand shocks and the extreme weather of the outdoors. An impressive feat is the watch is water resistant to 50m while also being equipped with a built in microphone. The dual-layer, LCD display screen provides options from color to monochromatic screens extending the battery life to up to one month. Once connected to your smart phone the partnership with Android unfolds with access to an endless amount of tools to support your day-to-day adventures. The Casio Smart Outdoor WSD-F10 is available in a metallic orange, black, green, or red case with an array of digital dial options.