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BaselWorld 2017 brings new watches by Tissot, Grand Seiko, Zenith and more

With just three days left for the annual watch fair to come to an end, we take a look at some of the timepieces that have cuaght the eyes of the WOW team

Mar 27, 2017 | By Ashok Soman

Tissot Heritage Banana Centenary Edition

News events on the first day of the world’s most important watch and jewellery fair did not obscure the fact that this is the 100th edition of BaselWorld, by the official count. As far as we can tell, only one brand is deliberately paying tribute with a watch and that’s Tissot with the Heritage Banana Centenary Edition. The historical piece shares a birthday with BaselWorld. Celebrating its birth this year at the fair is none other than Grand Seiko, which has been spun off by parent Seiko as its own independent brand.

On the contemporary front, Zenith (which Jean-Claude Biver declared to be his priority in 2017) revealed its new Defy 21 line, which is a chronograph able to measure elapsed time down to 1/100th of a second. More importantly, this watch will feature an entirely new movement that uses two escapements, both using a never-before-seen hairspring made of a new material called carbon matrix carbon nanotubes. It is no understatement to say that this may be the most significant material development in escapements since CSEM, Swatch Group, Patek Philippe and Rolex began research into silicon possibly as early as the 1990s (Ulysse Nardin worked in parallel). Speaking of Patek Philippe, the Geneva brand has unveiled its own developments from its Advanced Research team but we will have more to say on this (and carbon nanotubes) later.

On the business side, Corum announced surprisingly positive – and welcome – news that its turnover increased by 38% in the last financial year, bucking trends in the watch trade across the board. Over at the Kingdom Swatch Group, Omega tells us that the limited Trilogy offering (Seamaster, Railmaster and Speedmaster) of 557 sets is well on its way to being oversubscribed. Nevertheless, the reality is that Omega makes many models and references every year and it is how those fare that will shape the year to come. Still, it looks like a good crop overall and we’ll be bringing more highlights to the fore in the coming days