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Rolex, Patek Philippe and Others to Leave Baselworld and Start New Watch Trade Show

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Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard and Tudor are among several prominent watch brands that have chosen to cancel their attendance at the rescheduled Baselworld 2021 in favor of creating their own event.

This year the COVID-19 pandemic has already led to many cancellations and postponements of prominent luxury-focused events around the world and organizers have been holding out hope to have things back on track by 2021 by working hard to reschedule events where possible.

Baselworld Watch & Jewelry Show Cancelled in 2020 Due to COVID-19
Previous years of Baselworld has included brands like Rolex, Hublot and Bvlgari. Credit: Baselworld

One such event that has been dealt an extra blow is the Baseworld Watch Show which has caught organizers MCH Group by surprise after it was announced that Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard, and Tudor would no longer be exhibiting at the newly scheduled Baselworld 2021 in January and would instead be creating their own watch show to be held at the same time as Watches & Wonder in Geneva.

In a statement released the same day as plans for the new show were revealed, Baselworld organizers MCH Group spoke of their surprise and regret at the actions of Rolex and accompanying brands given that they had supported the postponement to January 2021 and had made no prior mention of a desire to move to Geneva, concluding that these plans must have been well underway previously.

There were however financial issues already brewing as confusion surrounding the payments/refunds began to emerge from April 3 as it appeared that MCH Group would be withholding 85% of exhibitors fees for the 2020 Show on the grounds of those fees being applied to the 2021 event (with the remaining 15% being forfeited) or exhibitors given a second option to receive a 30% cash refund, have 40% applied to the 2021 event and forfeit 30% fees as part of the “out of pocket costs” costs associated with the canceled 2020 event.

Baselworld 2019
Forum with prominent watch brands at Baselworld 2019. Credit: Baselworld

In a previous letter addressed to Baselworld organizers MCH Group regarding the postponement of this years show, Rolex executive and Baselworld President of the Exhibitors Committee Hubert du Plessix asks for full refunds to be issued to the brands saying it would be an “elegant solution [that] would be the best way to encourage exhibitors to participate in a future edition of Baselworld…Otherwise, we fear that this will be the end, pure and simple, of Baselworld, especially since the dates chosen in January 2021 are not suitable for the jewelry, gemstones and pearls sector, and that coordination with Watches & Wonders (SIHH) no longer exists.”

With brands like Breitling and Grand Seiko having already left Baselworld and the LVMH family of watch brands holding their own Dubai based trade show, Baselworld is no doubt in an unenviable position and having previously committed to a substantial investment in the development of the event and additional digital platforms, MCH Group have said they will now be looking to make a decision in the coming weeks regarding the continuation of Baselworld and further development investments to ensure their long term future.

The new proposed show that Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard, and Tudor have all agreed to be a part of will be held April 2021 in Geneva at the same time as Watches & Wonder (previously known as SIHH) and created in collaboration with Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), who are also the organizers behind Watches & Wonder watch show.

Watches & Wonder (previously SIHH) held in Geneva
Watches & Wonder (previously SIHH) will be held in April 2021. Credit: Watches & Wonder

To complement the consumer-focused Watches & Wonder watch show, the new trade show will be a professional event primarily focused on retailers, the press and VIP customers.

Speaking on their decision to withdraw from Baselworld, Jean-Frédéric Dufour, Chief Executive Officer, Rolex SA, and Board Member, Montres Tudor SA, said: “We have taken part in Baselworld since 1939. Unfortunately, given the way the event has evolved and the recent decisions made by MCH Group, and in spite of the great attachment we had to this watch show, we have decided to withdraw. Following discussions initiated by Rolex, it seemed only natural to create a new event with partners that share our vision and our endless, unwavering support for the Swiss watchmaking sector. This will allow us to present our new watches in line with our needs and expectations, to join forces and better defend the interests of the industry.”

Rolex to join Watch & Wonder organisers new event in Geneva
Rolex’s exhibit at a previous Baselworld event. Credit: Baselworld

Likewise Thierry Stern, President, Patek Philippe commented, “The decision to leave Baselworld was not an easy one to take for me, being the fourth generation of the Stern family to participate to this traditional yearly event. But life evolves constantly, things change and people change as well, whether it is at the level of those responsible for the watch fair organization, the brands or the clients. We constantly have to adapt ourselves, question what we do, since what was right yesterday may not necessarily be valid today!

Today Patek Philippe is not in line with Baselworld’s vision anymore, there have been too many discussions and unsolved problems, trust is no longer present. We need to answer the legitimate needs of our retailers, the clients and the press from around the world. They have to be able to discover the new models from Swiss watchmakers each year, at one time, in one place, and this in the most professional manner possible. That is why, following several discussions with Rolex and in agreement with other participating brands, we have decided to create, all together, a unique event in Geneva, representative of our savoir-faire.“

Co-President of Chopard, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele also gave support to the new event saying, “Chopard first exhibited at the Basel fair in 1964 with a stand of some 25 square metres. After careful consideration, our family decided to support the Rolex initiative and retire from Baselworld – a painful decision. The creation of this new watch show in Geneva, in parallel to Watches & Wonders, will allow us to better serve our watchmaking partners and our customers. Through the alliance, these grandes maisons will also be able to collaborate in promoting the values and best interests of Swiss watchmaking.”

With several brands having delayed all new 2020 releases until next year, horological aficionado’s will be sure to eagerly descend on Geneva next April to view the latest pieces on offer from all the brands exhibiting at Watches & Wonder and the new show.

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Zenith’s New “Land of the Free” Chronomaster Revival Liberty Limited to 150 Watches

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The new A384 inspired Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty is only available in North America and will be limited to 150 watches in total.
Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty El Primero USA Limited Edition
The Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty edition. Credit: Zenith

Zenith has been in the watchmaking game for a while now (since 1865 to be exact), but it’s the 1960’s that have inspired the latest “Land of The Free” Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty watch.

Considered a pivotal decade in modern history, the 1960’s saw social norms broken, the expressions of fashion and design move in a bolder and louder direction, and events like the moon landing captivate a global community. Amidst all these societal changes, in the small mountainside town of Le Locle, Switzerland, Zenith was busy researching a new movement and looking to create their own revolution of sorts.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty El Primero blue dial
Red, white and blue for a special USA limited edition. Credit: Zenith

Taking more than five years to develop and revealed in 1969 as the El Primero caliber, this new design was the world’s first high-frequency automatic calendar chronograph movement and was used for the first time in the Zenith A384 watch.

Fifty years on from the first use of the El Primero movement, Zenith chose to celebrate the anniversary with a trio of celebratory “revival” editions known as the Chronomaster Revival watches. These were created by completely digitizing every single part of an original El Primero movement from 1969. This new movement was the El Primero caliber 400 and, like the original, offers 50 hours of power reserve.

A year later, Zenith has created a limited edition, especially for their North American clients, with the “Liberty” edition tastefully including the emblematic red, white, and blue colors of the American flag.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty El Primero USA Limited Edition Vertical
Featuring the exact same case design as the 1969 Zenith A384. Credit: Zenith

Featuring a 37mm angular tonneau stainless steel case that is an actual reproduction of the A384’s case from 1969, the Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty uses the original blueprints and production plans from over 50 years ago to faithfully bring the exact case back to life and sits on a Cordura-effect rubber strap finished in blue with a single red stitch on each side.

A favorite amongst chronograph collectors, El Primero powered watches with blue dials are especially highly prized, and this watch does not disappoint. Using a matte blue dial with a vignetting gradient effect, the chronograph counters are paired in white for a striking contrast and include an added pop of color in the form of the red and white striped second hand on the central chronograph.

Limited to 150 pieces in total. Credit: Zenith
Limited to 150 pieces in total. Credit: Zenith

Priced at USD$8,700 and limited to only 150 pieces in total, the Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty is available at US and Canada boutiques and retailers and online via Zenith’s US website.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty Details

Variants

  • Ref: 03.US384.400/57.C823

Movement

  • El Primero 400
  • Power reserve: 50 hours
  • Balance frequency: 5Hz / 36,000bph
  • Winding: Automatic

Functions / Indications

  • Time, date and chronograph

Case

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 37 mm x 12.6 mm
  • Water resistance: 50m / 5 ATM

Strap & Buckle

  • Textile strap with rubber lining on pin buckle

Price

  • Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty Price: USD$8,700
  • Limited Edition: 150 pieces
  • Only available in USA & Canada

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MB&F Celebrates 15th Anniversary With New Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO

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The new MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO is a sporty take on the classic Legacy Machine first introduced five years ago and the first 270ft water-resistant version. 
MB&F Legacy Machine EVO Collection
The MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO in black, atomic orange and blue. Credit: MB&F

It’s been five years since MB&F first debuted the iconic Legacy Machine timepiece, and while it has had several iterations over its lifetime, the EVO is an entirely new sporty edition and boasts several new “firsts” for the Legacy Machine Perpetual model. 

Featuring the bright new color option “atomic orange” and an ergonomic silicone rubber strap for the first time on an MB&F watch creation, the reimagined the Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO is the kind of watch you could imagine a horology loving, globe-trotting adventurer casually wearing as a “daily.” 

MB&F LM Perpetual EVO Orange Detail Lifestyle
First time a silicone rubber strap has been used on a Legacy Machine. Credit: MB&F

Powered by the perpetual calendar engine developed by Stephen McDonnell for MB&F, the robust Legacy Machine Perpetual calendar essentially turns the traditional perpetual calendar system on its head by using a “mechanical processor” instead of the traditional grand levier (big lever) system design. 

MB&F LM Perpetual EVO Orange Front & Caseback
MB&F LM Perpetual EVO in atomic orange. Credit: MB&F

The mechanical processor consists of a series of superimposed disks that utilizes a default 28-day month (because logically all months have at least 28 days) and adds extra days as required. This means that each month always has the exact number of days required; and removes the possibility of the date jumping incorrectly. Also, while the leap year can only be set on traditional perpetual calendars by scrolling through up to 47 months, the Legacy Machine Perpetual has a dedicated quickset pusher to adjust the year.

MB&F LM Perpetual EVO White Watch Face
MB&F LM Perpetual EVO in black. Credit: MB&F

The EVO sees a new addition to the perpetual calendar in the form of a new specially developed monobloc shock-absorbing system (known as the “FlexRing”). Designed as an annular dampener fitted between the case and movement, the FlexRing helps provide shock protection along the vertical and lateral axes and aids the EVO’s ability to undergo rigorous movement and still keep perfect time.

MB&F LM Perpetual EVO Blue Watch Face
MB&F LM Perpetual EVO in blue. Credit: MB&F

In another first for the LM Perpetual model, the EVO has been created with a 44mm case in zirconium. Lighter than steel, more durable than titanium, and offering hypoallergenic properties, the use of zirconium for a case is a feat in itself considering its propensity to spontaneously ignite in powdered form, making it highly dangerous when being machined and rarely used in watchmaking.

MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO Blue Lifestyle Boating
Water resistant up to 270ft (80m) for the first time. Credit: MB&F

The new EVO also differs from LM designs of the past with a new no-bezel case that fuses the domed sapphire crystal directly to the case, offering a seamless and uncluttered view of the moving watch face of the Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO.

MB&F Legacy Machine EVO White Front & Caseback
Black dial with a white silicone rubber strap. Credit: MB&F

It is also the first MB&F design to be rated water-resistance up to 270ft. By implementing a screw-down crown, the winding system disengages the crown from the winding mechanism when it’s pushed in and tightened, eliminating the chance of manually over-winding the mainspring barrel. 

MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO Orange Watch Face
Perpetual Calendar indicates the minutes, hours, day, date and month. Credit: MB&F

Available in three different PVD/CVD dial-plate color options – atomic orange, black and blue – the MB&F Legacy Machine EVO is a very limited series with only 15 of each color created to celebrate MB&F’s 15th anniversary. 

The Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO is priced at CHF 152,000 and available from MB&F direct.

MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO Blue Front & Caseback
Blue dial with black silicone rubber strap. Credit: MB&F

MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO Details

Variants

  • Zirconium case with atomic orange CVD dial plate
  • Zirconium case with blue CVD dial plate
  • Zirconium case with black PVD dial plate

Engine

  • LM Perpetual Calendar movement developed for MB&F by Stephan McDonnell
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Balance frequency: 2.5Hz / 18,000bph
  • Number of components: 581
  • Number of jewels: 41

Functions / Indications

  • Hours, minutes, day, date, month, retrograde leap year and power-reserve indicators

Case

  • Material: Zirconium
  • Dimensions: 44 mm x 17.5 mm
  • Number of components: 70
  • Water resistance: 270ft / 80m / 8 ATM

Strap & Buckle

  • Rubber strap with titanium folding buckle

Price

  • MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO Price: CHF 152,000 + VAT / USD$167,000 + tax / EUR 142,000 + tax

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MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Create Eight “Jules Verne Inspired” Legacy Machines

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MB&F has partnered with artisan engraver Eddy Jaquet to create eight limited-edition Legacy Machine watches inspired by the classic tales of 19th-century sci-fi author Jules Verne.
MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Limited Edition "Jules Verne" inspired Legacy Machine. Credit: MB&F
MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Limited Edition “Jules Verne” inspired Legacy Machine. Credit: MB&F

Independent Swiss watchmaker MB&F is no stranger to collaborations (especially with a name that is short for “Max Busser & Friends), and this latest limited edition set of 18K red-gold Legacy Machines Split Escapements created in partnership with master engraver Eddy Jaquet, only serves to reinforce the legacy of “art created by friends.”

Born in 1965, in a small village on the outskirts of Neuchâtel, Eddy Jaquet first learned his trade at the École d’Arts Appliqués in La Chaux-de-Fonds and has worked as an engraver from 1987 to this day. In 2011, he first became a Friend of MB&F, enlisted to hand-engrave the names of Kari Voutilainen and Jean-François Mojon on the movement bridge of the very first Legacy Machine watches.

MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Portrait
Master engraver Eddy Jacquet has reimagined the Legacy Machine. Credit: MB&F

As MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser explains it, “We’ve worked with Eddy for years, but getting Eddy Jaquet to engrave names on movements is like playing Für Elise on a Stradivarius violin — you couldn’t imagine a more modest use of such an amazing gift.”

MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Voyage To The Centre Of The Earth Legacy Machine
Limited edition “Journery To The Center Of The Earth” Legacy Machine Split Escapement. Credit: MB&F

It seemed only natural that the next step was to give Eddy Jaquet creative license to unleash the full extent of his imagination and engraving skill upon eight new Legacy Machine Split Escapement watches.

After a brainstorming session with Max Büsser (an avid science fiction fan), the team ultimately decided that the theme for the new watches would be based on the writings of 19th-century sci-fi author Jules Verne, a prolific writer of some of the world’s most captivating science fiction adventures known to readers.

MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Jules Verne Legacy Machine
MB&F x Eddy Jaquet “Michael Strogoff” edition. Credit: MB&F

Tasked with creating the individual designs to be engraved on each watch face, Eddy Jaquet threw himself into the world of Jules Verne as part of the research and design process, reading up to 60 novels and short stories by Verne, including the 54-volume series of bestselling adventure novels known as the “Voyages Extraordinaires.”

Eight final stories were then selected, including the more well-known “Around The World In 80 Days” and some of Verne’s lesser-known works like Michael Strogoff and The Adventures of Captain Hatteras.

MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Michael Strogoff Legacy Machine

During the process, Jaquet also researched significant secondary creative works such as original published illustrations and set to work to create his own initial sketches and engraved detailed key moments and characters from each story as a tapestry upon the individual watch faces.

MB&F x Eddy Jaquet “Jules Verne Inspired” Limited Edition Legacy Machines
  1. Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (top left)
  2. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (top right)
  3. Around The World In Eighty Days (second row left)
  4. The Adventures Of Captain Hatteras (second row right)
  5. Robur The Conqueror (third row left)
  6. Michael Strogoff (third row right)
  7. From The Earth To The Moon (bottom row left)
  8. Five Weeks In A Balloon (bottom row right)
MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Jules Vern Inspired Legacy Machine Watches

It’s important to note that although the Legacy Machine has some of the largest dial “real estate” of the MB&F designs, in order to truly bring the engravings to life, the Legacy Machine Split Escapement was redesigned, including a slimmer bezel and wider dial plate, to ensure maximum space to tell the stories as imagined by Eddy Jaquet.

MB&F x Eddy Jaquet From The Earth To The Moon Movement
Dial-plate engravings inspired by “From The Earth To The Moon”. Credit: MB&F

Designs like that of the “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea” allowed Jaquet to utilize the dial plate fully and depict the submarine Nautilus, drifting in the depths of the ocean and a pair of ruined pillars just above the power-reserve, reminiscent of the scene in which Captain Nemo and his crew explore the lost city of Atlantis.

Meanwhile, in the piece used to depict “Five Weeks In A Balloon,” Jaquet used the dial plate to imagine a trio of zebras visible at the date dial, quietly refreshing themselves at a watering hole on the African savannah. While not part of his initial concept sketch, the zebra’s were added late in the engraving process for a key point of aesthetic balance. This, however, required Jaquet to adjust the placement of two nearby hippopotami, highlighting the agility and adaptive skills essential to the delicate project.

MB&F x Eddy Jaquet From The Earth To The Moon Legacy Machine Front
18K red-gold watch with alligator strap. Credit: MB&F

Apart from the large amount of space afforded on the dial plate, the Legacy Machine Split Escapement also makes sense as the choice of watch for the special 19th-century Jules Verne inspired editions with MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser having initially created the Legacy Machine based on the musing “What watch would he have created if he had been born in 1867 instead of 1967?”

It would appear the answer to that is about as close to this watch as it comes.

Limited to eight pieces in total (one of each design), the MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Legacy Machines are reportedly sold-out.

MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Legacy Machine Split Escapement Details

Engine
  • LM SE movement developed for MB&F by Stephan McDonnell
  • Split escapement with the balance wheel suspended above the dial and the anchor and escapement wheel under the movement
  • Manual winding with double mainspring barrels
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Balance frequency: 2.5Hz / 18,000bph
  • Number of components: 296
  • Number of jewels: 35
Functions / Indications
  • Hours, minutes, date and power-reserve indicators
  • Push-button next to the date dial for quick adjustment of the dial
Case
  • Material: 5N+ 18k red gold
  • Sapphire crystals on top and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces
  • Dimensions: 44.5 mm x 18.2 mm
  • Number of components: 17
  • Water resistance: 30 m / 100ft / 3 ATM
Strap & Buckle
  • Dark brown hand-stitched alligator strap with 5N+ red gold folding buckle matching the case
Price
  • MB&F x Eddy Jaquet Legacy Machine Split Escapement Price: USD $162,000 (already sold out)

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