The best gizmos from Basel

Shilpa Dhamija | Updated on April 27, 2018 Published on April 26, 2018

Notes from Baselworld 2018, keeping an eye out for top innovations in watchmaking

Most dramatic

Watching the Zenith Defy Zero G in action is like witnessing horological theatre. The intriguing 3D object visible at 6 o’clock on the watch is a Gyro tourbillon or what Zenith calls a ‘gravity control gyroscopic module’. Its function is to negate the effect of gravity at the heart of the watch, or the balance wheel system. Zenith’s gravity control module rotates in its tiny orbit to maintain the healthy functioning of the balance wheel system, particularly when the watch is in horizontal position. Forces of gravity tend to have minor impact on small parts of the watch engine. Adding a Gyro tourbillon works against the disturbing effect of gravity on watch, which, in turn, results in chronometric precision or simply — more accurate time. This tiny gyroscopic carriage is made of 139 components!

A skeletonised movement and dial, compliment the beautiful 3D complication. Zenith Defy Zero G is a manual winding watch and can reserve up to 50 hours of power for smooth functioning. It is made in brushed titanium and rose gold metals.

The slimmest of ’em all

Bvlgari has set two world records by building the thinnest automatic watch and the thinnest watch with tourbillon. At 3.95 mm thickness, Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic feels like a thin, flexible slice of titanium around the wrist.



Bvlgari launched record-breaking slim watches in 2017 as well. The Roman brand has used the same old machinery in Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic. So what has changed that makes it the slimmest of them all? Bvlgari has changed the winding system from manual to automatic. A slender slice of peripheral oscillating weight made of gold and aluminium now charges the watch.

The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic uses a flying tourbillon equipped with a ball bearing system that takes little space in the dial. The 42 mm diameter case of this paper-thin watch is matched with sandblasted titanium bracelet. Bvlgari will produce only 50 pieces of world’s slimmest wristwatch.

The all-knowing

A minute-repeater and GMT (world timer) in one timepiece is a rare combination of watch functions, especially in a Patek Philippe creation.


Founded in 1839, the Patek Philippe’s vintage watches are among the most wanted at auctions. A Patek Philippe supercomplication pocket watch was auctioned for US$24 million in 2014.

A new grand complication has been introduced at Baselworld, one that can tell the time in 24 time zones. Additionally, a minute repeater function plays sweet acoustics, accurately to the second. Most world timer, minute-repeater watches chime at hours of just the home time zone. What makes the Patek Philippe grand complication different from the rest with similar function combinations is that it allows the watch to chime at a local time zone, thus making more practical sense than the minute-repeater function in a GMT.


The attention seeker

It is unusual to find two tourbillons in one watch. Well, because there is no need for a watch to have two tourbillons!

One alone can do the job of correcting the effect of gravitational force. Yet Jacob and Co., a watchmaker to the Beckhams and several Hollywood and football celebrities has found a way to add two tourbillons in one watch just because they can. Jacob and Co. Twin Turbo Furious watch also houses the monopusher chronograph and the minute-repeater function. The minute repeater chimes with a cathedral-gong sound. It sounds the hours, minutes and seconds, just how we would read the time. At 57x52 mm, it is unussually big for the wrist, screaming for attention with its super busy dial.


The football fan

There were quite a few smartwatch hybrids at Baselworld this year. This one, however, stood out from the crowd for its distinctive purpose.

Hublot FIFA watch

 Hublot has launched its first ever smartwatch in partnership with FIFA. Introduced under the brand’s popular Big Bang series, Hublot FIFA watch is made especially for football referees and football fans with several customised applications for soccer lovers. It will show notifications of matches 15 minutes before their kick-off, player changes and goals. All referees will be wearing the smartwatch during FIFA matches. Those worn by the referees will be connected to goal-line technology, an electronic video assistance system that shows all the trajectories of the ball and determines if and when the ball crosses the goal line. It will be compatible with Android 4.4 and above or iOS 9 and above. Hublot FIFA watch runs on Wear Operating System by Google. Only 2018 pieces of the smartwatch will be made and will sell in stores from May 1, 2018.



Shilpa Dhamija is the editor of

Published on April 26, 2018
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