Let the show begin This week we're going to get straight to the point. No window dressing, no weak jokes, no finding tenuous ways to criticise Wings-era Paul McCartney (actually, anything post-Beatles). Baselworld, the world's biggest watch trade show, opens in less than two weeks, so I won't dawdle, instead I'm all about the "bidness" as the kids say. You won't catch me getting sidetracked, no sir. Laser focus. Maximum effort. Actually, that last sentence is from Deadpool. Anyone seen it? It's rather good, I must say. Really does prove that with good writing you can make a smart, enjoyable and original R-rated comic book movie that will also make buckets of cash. Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, laser focus.
So yes, I've been sampling some of the pre-Baselworld pieces and one watch that caught my eye is the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman (right). A real attention grabber, the Frogman is a wonderful mixture of old-school dive watch and sharp modern styling, and it's incredibly practical too, that is, if you actually wanted to take it out into the water it would do the job and then some. Based on a 1951 design, the Frogman comes in a hard-wearing 46mm titanium, so it's a hefty and sturdy watch. Inside is an H-10 automatic movement with an impressive 80-hour power reserve. Like all good dive watches, the dial design is clean and legible in low light and functions are kept simple, in this case with just a date indication. Where the Frogman really stands out is with its helium valve, unidirectional bezel and 1,000-metre water resistance, so even the most ardent diver would be impressed. Best of all, the watch isn't all that expensive, priced at under HK$12,000, with a 42mm version going for less than HK$9,000.
Another early Baselworld gem is the Alpina 4 "Full Black" Manufacture Flyback Chronograph (left). I am currently a sucker for watches that are predominantly in black, so, obviously, this would take my fancy but more so as it's not something one expects from Alpina. The colour scheme makes the watch more masculine and modern, but this isn't just a gimmicky fashion watch as it features an in-house movement, the AL-760, which was introduced last year and is a rather innovative flyback chrono movement. As this is an Alpina 4, it has the four stock features of anti-magnetism, anti-shock, water resistance and stainless design. The steel case is sized at 44mm and the sporty leather strap comes with beige stitching. Prices have yet to be announced.
Finally, we have an update of a watch released last year - the Sevenfriday P2B/03-W limited-edition "Woody" (right). What's new is the wooden case, or what Sevenfriday calls the "animation ring", which is, as the title suggests, distinctly woody in nature, made as it is of layers of American walnut, beech and cherry. To compliment the wood, there's an overall chestnut brown colour scheme. The watch features the P2 dial, the reliable Miyota 82S7 movement, and Sevenfriday has added "near field communication" chip technology, which can send and receive information between devices and allow contactless payments. The watch is sized at 47mm by 47.6mm and comes with a brown leather strap. Limited to 450 pieces, prices for the Woody are available upon request.