“In general I thought it was a really good Basel,” says Michael Spiers head of watches Ben Franklin, who liked the lack of risk that brands expect their retailers to take on with challenging new models. “Most of the brands that we saw were very conservative with their new offerings,” he adds.
There were exceptions, Mr Franklin notes. “We do stock Gucci, which couldn’t have been more different. Coming out of our Gucci appointment, I felt a bit like a child who is given a pound to spend in a penny sweet shop. Everything was so cool and left field, it was hard not to get swept up by what Alessandro Michele is doing with the brand. But ultimately it will be really interesting to see how the public react to the new creations,” he ponders.
Omega’s anniversary models are high on his lust list. “In Omega I absolutely loved the 1957 limited editions. In particular the Railmaster, as it’s always been a favourite with me and I was disappointed when the old model was discontinued. I think the new Aqua Terra is absolutely stunning, and with the changes that have been made to the model, the closest watch to rival the Rolex Datejust,” Mr Franklin suggests.
Tudor’s watches have to be seen to fully appreciate them, according to Mr Franklin. “The Black Bay steel is a real treat and the Chronograph in the flesh knocks any image of the watch out of the park,” he says.
Tudor’s marketing plans this year are also crucial to retailers like Michael Spiers, and the company has been told that big plans are afoot. “I just really want to know who the new brand ambassador is after being told by Tudor that it’s pretty much the most famous person in the world. Very exciting times and I think this could be Tudors year,” he predicts.
As a business that has fought hard to secure Rolex for its stores in the southwest of England, Mr Franklin knows it now has to battle for allocations of the best models.
“The stand out for me though (and I apologise for being boring) is the Rolex Rolesor Sky-Dweller. The main reason is that it completely surprised me. I didn’t see this coming at all, and I certainly didn’t expect the price. It’s such a lot of watch for the money. I think this watch will make a huge impact when it arrives in stores and as long as Rolex can make the movements fast enough will definitely take a few sales away from the Datejust. White Rolesor Sky-Dweller with a silver dial? Yes please,” he finishes.