The world’s largest annual watch fair was held recently in Basel, Switzerland and showcased all of the latest advances in both style and technology within the watchmaking industry.
Certain brands represented at the show are mainstays to the extent that an excess of innovation is unthinkable. Rolex, for instance, is one watch manufacturer that enhances each new model of its familiar lines stylistically, but doesn’t meddle with the fundamental design. Its position as a respected luxury brand is well established.
Upgrades and Innovations
Some competitors, however, have cause to set themselves apart not just with form, but with function, introducing significant technological changes as they become feasible or en vogue. Patek-Phillipe, for instance, showcased its latest-release stopwatch with patents pending on a newly-innovated chronograph lever and isolator. Their brand apparently leads the pack on such improvements to traditional timepiece technologies.
Of course, other technologically adventurous designers at Baselworld were not just responding to the pressures from classic Rolex watches and other such items commanding attention at the show, but from competitors in entirely different industries.
Watches in the Modern World
Much of the world population has abandoned the wristwatch, thinking it redundant when they’re already carrying an equally functional, albeit far less elegant, timepiece in the form of their cell phone. The one is no real replacement for the other, but considering that cell phones are so very commonplace as timepieces and can be luxury goods in their own right, some of the participants at Baselworld placed smartphones on display among the more traditional watches.
One manufacturer, Celsius, contributed to this trend, but emphasized respect for the subject of the fair by conceiving of their item not as a phone with a watch, but vice versa, as an intricate watch with a phone integrated into it.
Others, many of them new and independent watchmakers, integrated into wrist and pocket watches the cutting-edge technologies familiar to a world of smartphone users. This included the presence of touch screen interfaces on watches for function changes and the like.
Still others pursued different trends in modern technology, utilizing alternative or innovative materials in their design and construction. Gucci Timepieces, for instance, premiered a watch that featured a bamboo inlay and partially-bamboo bracelet, giving an impression of environmental consciousness or multicultural worldliness at a time when that is as important to some consumers as is distinct luxury.
This year’s Baselworld watch fair seems to have allowed the watchmaking industry to converge from numerous directions, featuring the best in traditional elegance with stylistically familiar brands like Rolex, while also making room for both simple technological innovations and more drastic changes to the scope and focus of the industry’s production. But despite changing consumption patterns among ordinary consumers, this latter category seemingly presents no immediate threat to the appeal of what one has always expected at such a show.
After reading about Baselworld, you’re probably interested in learning more about Rolex. Guest post written by Shane.
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