Brands like Patek Philippe, Rolex and Zenith continued to bring their A-game with watches that tempt the eye and challenge the traditions of watch-making.

Baselworld once again kicked into full gear over the weekend and has the entire industry in a flurry despite reports of fewer exhibitors and dwindling public interest.

Brands like Patek Philippe, Rolex and Zenith continued to bring their A-game with watches that tempt the eye and challenge the traditions of watch-making. Here are some of the most handsome men’s watches that have us holding our breaths.

Chopard LUC Chrono One Flyback

After several editions of its LUC Chrono One chronographs with precious metals of rose or white gold, Chopard is reiterating its chronograph expertise with more modern designs and materials. The LUC Chrono One Flyback is released in two versions – one in stainless steel and the other in a Titalyt material.

The first one comes with a dial in a perfectly sober shade of grey with fine vertical satin-brushed motif, finished in LUC’s own vertical satin-brushed sides and polished bezels and lugs. The result is a chic tone-on-tone modern classic, naturally complemented by a slate-grey alligator leather strap with brown alligator leather lining, limited to 250 pieces.

The second one places emphasis on sporty and masculine pursuits with a military green dial punctuated by steel grey hour-markets, hands and counter rims. The case is made of dark and matte Titalyt, a material widely used in the aerospace, aeronautical and medical fields for its hypoallergenic properties. It has the natural lightness of titanium, but reinforced by electro-plasma treatment for added hardness and abrasion resistance. It is a smart modern chronograph that plays on military codes and style, and is limited to 100 pieces, fitted with a double-sided brown calfskin strap. W

Bulgari Octo Finnissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic

For the fifth successive year, Bulgari introduced a new World Record for the thinnest ever existing chronograph movement. The Octo Finnissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic measures only 3.3mm in thinness. Within that impossible space, it houses a mechanical manufacture chronograph and GMT movement with automatic winding and small seconds. It comes with a 55 hour power reserve and its local timezone can be easily adjusted through the push button at 9 0’clock. Its sandblasted titanium dial is set within a 42mm titanium case with transparent case back. Its crowns are also titanium, set with ceramic. They’re all mounted on sandblasted titanium bracelet with folding clasp. W

Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II

Taking ambition up a notch from its 2016 Big Bang Sang Bleu, Hublot channels the design skill of world famous tattoo artist Maxime Plescia-Buchi for its Big Bang Sang Bleu II. Maxime’s creative inspiration is translated into the watch’s three-dimensional angles and edges, a motif that also spans the case, cutting into its hexagonal bezel and carving into the sapphire crystal. It is also juxtaposed against the hands with their geometric lines and moulded onto the interchangeable bracelet. The dial of this stunning piece plays with transparency, allowing glimpses of the Unico movement, an architectural feat of its own that is fitted into a 45mm case. Reading this beauty is an art by itself – the chronograph seconds are tracked along the straight hand, while the chronograph minutes complete their laps on one of two discs on the dial. 200 titanium and 100 King Gold pieces will be released. W

Patek Philippe Grand Ref. 5520 Alarm Travel Time

Dubbing it “the quintessential travel companion”, Patek Philippe unveils a new self-winding grand complication that combines its exclusive dual time zone ‘Travel Time’ system with a 24-hour alarm mechanism, complete with a hammer that strikes on a classic gong. To do so, the manufacture has developed an entirely new integrated movement, registering four patents for the alarm in the process, presented in an elegant Pilot-style platinum case. To create a useful travel watch, Patek Philippe combined the two time zones with an alarm that like the date is coupled with local time. The alarm function is not a new feature for the manufacture. A wake-up alarm struck on a fifth gong was one of the 33 complications of the famous Calibre 89, for 25 years the world’s most complicated portable timepiece. W

Zenith Defy Inventor

Zenith is proud to premiere a new disruptive ‘Zenith Oscillator’ control system with this watch, replacing the traditional sprung balance that has been used in watches for over three and a half centuries. Featuring a single element instead of the traditional 30 or so components, it is thus able to eliminate contact, friction, wear and deformity on top of adding stability since it is made of monocrystalline silicon, rendering it insensitive to temperature variations and magnetic fields. The result is a state of the art timepiece, equally high in style points being housed in a case made of lightweight titanium and Aeronith, an innovative aluminium-polymer composite. Time is read by means of broad hours and minutes hands sweeping over an airy openworked dial resembling a stylised propellar, of which the five blades mimic the Zenith star. It is all secured to the wrist by a black rubber strap with a midnight blue alligator coating. W

Rolex GMT-Master II with Meteorite Dial

Rolex makes a return with its GMT-Master this year, but with a very special dial. The timepiece itself is exactly as last year’s, measuring 40mm in diametre with a blue and red Cereachrom bezel and the COSC-certified automatic caliber 3285 movement, but the stand-out is a Meteorite dial that is from a piece of legit meteor that had fallen from space. Sure, it may be largely iron and nickel but it is housed in a white gold case and mounted on also white gold Oyster bracelet. This is the first time that Rolex has adorned a GMT with an unusual material (a habit more consistently seen with the Datejusts) and it’s an experiment that works, in our books. W