After visiting more than 60 brands in back-to-back meetings over eight days, I’ve had more than enough time to reflect on this year’s crop of new watches and the state of the industry in general. With nearly a hundred different articles published on WorldTempus over the duration of the show (not to mention countless posts on our social network platforms live from Basel), it is clear that there is no let-up in the pace of development within the industry.

 

“The prices on the tiny labels attached to some of the watches at Baselworld were refreshingly low.”

Paul O'Neil

As every year, there are the ironies of discovering some of the most avant-garde and technically accomplished timepieces in a large tent with temperamental air conditioning and the palatial stands of giants such as Omega and Rolex that are there to be admired, but not entered, by the general public. Add to this the competition to present watches whose prices defy any reason Graff scooping this year’s record at a cool $40 million dollars for the Fascination and you have a typical Baselworld.

Or do you? Everything may seem the same at first glance but the prices on those tiny labels tied to the watches are dropping. On the opening day of the show, TAG Heuer announced price reductions of between 8 and 13% around the world, at the same time pledging not to increase prices in euros. Other brands set some very aggressive benchmarks with their 2015 collections: Frédérique Constant’s “horological smartwatch” costs under 1,000 Swiss francs, Bulgari’s luxury Magnesium models also available in a “smart” version with an in-house mechanical movement, are 4,000 Swiss francs and Raymond Weil is even offering a tourbillon at an unbeatable 39,000 Swiss francs.

 

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