The timepieces that watch lovers like Bruno Mars and Jay Z will eventually wear on their wrists are first shown to the world in Switzerland every spring at the enormous Baselworld fair. Dozens of brands - from luxury leaders Rolex (a favorite of Mars and Rihanna) and Patek Philippe (often worn by Jay Z) to smaller watchmakers like Romain Jerome (Elton John recently was spotted in one of their skull watches) show their newest offerings to retailers, press and clients.
To find the best upcoming watch styles, Billboard spoke with two top stylists: Terrell Jones, who works with DJ Khaled, and Keegan Singh, whose clients include The Kills and Courtney Love and is a creative consultant for shoe designer Tamara Mellon.
Raymond Weil's Bowie Limited Edition
The Raymond Weil Freelancer "David Bowie" celebrates what would have been the 70th birthday of the legend, who died in January 2016. Bold red details stand out on its sleek black dial: a lightning bolt from Bowie's 1973 Aladdin Sane sits at 12 o'clock, while a logo of the singer's name designed by Andy Warhol for 1974's Diamond Dogs rests above 6 o'clock. On the back of the self-winding 42-mm-in-diameter watch is an engraved image of Bowie shot by photographer Terry O'Neill in 1974. Singh is a fan. "Bowie is sort of like my inspiration in life," he says. "And red just seems really fresh. I'm putting a lot my clients in red right now. It's a power color." $1,595, in a numbered series of 3,000, available in October, raymond-weil.com.
Patek Philippe's First Open Dial
Jones thinks the new 40.8mm Patek Philippe Advanced Research Aquanaut Travel Time Ref. 5650G - the brand's very first watch to feature a partially open dial - would be perfect for client DJ Khaled. "He has some Pateks that are iced out. This is more of a relaxed version but still super luxury. The perfect timepiece for the man who is equally chic as he is sporty," says Jones. Advanced Research refers to an in-house R&D program, which in the case of this new timepiece, has developed an ingenious new system for adjusting the dual-time-zone mechanism; it uses no gears or pivots and thus provides increased durability. This new tech is what Patek has chosen to showcase in the exposed spot on the dial. $58,970, in a limited edition of 500, patek.com.
Hublot's Ferrari Fixation
The Hublot Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon was created in collaboration with Ferrari as part of a five-year partnership between the Italian race car company and the Swiss watch company (whose fans include DJ Khaled, Future, Jay-Z and Kylie Jenner). This new 45-mm manually wound piece celebrates Ferrari's 70th anniversary and comes in three versions: King Gold, titanium and PEEK carbon, each in a limited edition of 70. Ferrari designed the case - which includes a chronograph pusher and lug-release buttons in Ferrari red - at its workshop in Maranello, Italy. Other features include a flying tourbillon, a ruthenium anthracite coating on the exposed movement and a five-day power reserve. "Just the idea of a watch with the DNA of Ferrari - it's the perfect combination of strength, performance and style," says Jones. $127,000 in titanium, $137,000 in carbon (shown), and $158,000 in King Gold, hublot.com.
Rolex's 60s-Inspired Dive Watch
Pleasing Rolex fanatics who love the brand's vintage watches, the Swiss house released a new Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller dive watch, Ref. 126600, that takes its classic red lettering from a version released 50 years ago back in 1967. A replacement for the Sea-Dweller 4000, this ultimate tool watch includes the addition of a magnifying-glass bubble, also known as The Cyclops, that shows over the date (a much talked-about addition as the Sea-Dweller line has never had this), an increase in size from 40mm to 43mm, a new caliber, the 3235, a wider bracelet and an increased power reserve of 70 hours. "I like this because it's not too flashy. It's so classic," says Singh. Adds Jones: "This can work for anybody, including the music executive. It's timeless and ageless." The automatic steel watch is water resistant to 4,000 feet and features hour markers and hands filled with blue Chromalight lume for readability in dark waters. $11,350, rolex.com.
Hermes' Turn to the Dark Side
The 29mm Hermes Cape Cod Shadow, coming on the heels of the 25th anniversary of the line last year, is an unexpected surprise with its blacked-out styling. The watch features a black DLC-treated case, matte-black dial and a black double-wrap-around Barenia calfskin strap with red-burnished edges. "It's the perfect weekend timepiece. Having the band made of Hermes luxury leather with its original wrap-around style gives a combination of bracelet and watch all in one," says Jones. (Madonna has been spotted wearing a classic Cape Cod.) $4,300, available in May, hermes.com.