Adrian Maronneau is about to become a Bucherer employee since his company The Watch Gallery was acquired by the Swiss giant in March. His job as director of buying remains the same: to assess the latest collections and decide which will make the greatest profit for his organisation. In this roundup, he picks a few models with obvious commercial appeal, and others that show he is prepared to take calculated risks.
Mr Maronneau’s first pick is the Gucci G-Timeless, an expansive range that comprises approachable models with silver guilloché or mother of pearl dials in several seasonal colours. But it is the catwalk-inspired models that he chooses to focus on, illustrated by a £650 model that uses an artistic image of a tiger that is often used on Gucci clothes and accessories.
At the opposite end of the price spectrum is the Hublot MP 09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis, a limited edition that will retail for £140,000. The watch is a Manufacture Piece, Hublot’s family of watches with exceptional movements coupled with striking design. The watch houses a calibre HUB9009.H1.RA, a self-winding mechanical movement with a 5-day power reserve. It also has a bi-axial tourbillon that undertakes a complete rotation per minute for the first axis and a rotation every 30 seconds for the second.
The Oris Big Crown 1917 (£1950) is a limited edition that Mr Maronneau chose for his roundup. The watch is a modern version of a very early wristwatch believed to have been first made in 1917. The original was a round, brass-cased watch with a big crown, an aluminium dial and a pin-lever movement. Essentially, it was a pocket watch with wire loop lugs soldered to its case, Oris describes. It has been revived as the Big Crown 1917 Limited Edition. In design terms, the new watch has the same onion-shaped big crown, the same early 20th century Arabic numerals, the same blued steel hands, and the same domed glass. Even the vintage Oris logo has been brought back.
Rolex will be delighted to learn that Mr Maranneau has warmed to its vivid blue Sky-Dweller. The watch was first launched in 2012, but the 2017 model in steel and white gold with its blue dial, priced at just £10,600, is likely to be the most popular edition of the piece.
Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated watch on show at Baselworld was the TAG Heuer Autavia, which had been widely promoted ahead of the fair. Its popularity is assured because the 2017 reissue was created after TAG fans were asked to name their favourite historic model. The watch is based on a stopwatch used by Jack Heuer in the 1960s during his racing days. The modern edition is priced at £3900 on a leather strap.
Zenith, TAG Heuer’s stablemate at LVMH, has been taken under the wing of Jean-Claude Biver, who is promising to connect the tradition of Zenith to the future and prevent it becoming a museum brand. Mr Maranneau likes what he sees with the first significant timepiece of the new era. The Defy El Primero 21 is striking to look at with its skeletonised dial, and a highly accurate chronograph capable of recording hundredths of a second. It is a whole lot of watch for just £3430.
Mr Maronneau’s final pick is the Tudor Heritage Black Bay, the brand’s first chronograph powered by the Manufacture Calibre MT5813, which is based on a Breitling B01 movement with a modified column wheel and vertical clutch. The collaboration with Breitling has helped keep costs in check, leading to a fabulous steel-cased chronograph that will sell for £3430 on a bracelet and £3220 on a leather strap.