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New hues and miniaturised dials: the five best women's watches at Baselworld 2018

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Rado True Thinline Nature

 

 

The biggest news to come out of Baselworld 2018 is… green. Yes, a colour. It speaks volumes about an industry still treading carefully around major technical developments, breaking ranks or launching anything drastically different, product-wise.

And so moss, olive, khaki, leaf, emerald, lime et al. played a major part. Green, diving watches and the retrograde complication. That’s Baselworld in a nutshell; and here are my top five highlights for women.

Rado True Thinline Nature
Rado’s True Thinline collection is one of the most elegant, affordable watches out there. With a quartz movement that’s only 1mm thick, its fairly large 39mm case is only 4.9mm – a mere whisper on the wrist.

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Rado True Thinline Nature in green mother-of-pearl with green ceramic case and strap, £1,585
A trio of new models form a capsule collection entitled True Thinline Nature: the brown dial is Earth, the blue is Water and the green is Nature. Ignore the names and opt (of course) for the latter, in a particularly beautiful green-coloured mother-of-pearl – both darkly rich and softly iridescent, all encased in Rado’s signature high-tech ceramic.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut
Patek Philippe doesn’t take any notice of colour trends, but that’s not to say the brand doesn’t have a finely tuned eye on the palette of its watches. One only has to remember the 2017 Ladies World Time ref 7130 (a dusky denim blue) to realise Patek’s ability to nail a colour you didn’t even know you loved.

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Patek Phillipe Ladies Aquanaut watch in stainless steel, with blue-grey embossed dial, diamond-set bezel and gold applied numerals, £12,420
This year the brand has ‘blued’ its ladies’ Aquanaut (brown, black and white versions already exist), thereby creating the ultimate summer timepiece. With a rubber strap and a bezel dotted with 46 diamonds, it’s perfect from pool to party and back again.

Tudor Black Bay 32
There is often a lot of eye-rolling around the idea that a man’s watch can be shrunk for a woman. Let the eye-rolling stop because sometimes it’s the best scenario, and not just by way of compromise; more often than not, traditional men’s watch brands don’t know how to design for women, so why should they hog all the design brilliance?

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Tudor Black Bay 32, £1,740 CREDIT: MARIAN GERARD 
Well rejoice, because now the iconic Tudor Black Bay comes in a wearable 32mm case size, with nothing lost from its big brothers (41mm and 36mm) in the shrinkage. The hand-wound mechanical movement, luminescent hour markers and flat lacquered dial all remain.

Opt for the new blue dial, deliciously midnight in hue on a fabric strap and you have a great, hard-working timepiece.

Bulgari Lucea skeleton
Bulgari is on fire – horologically, of course. With a slew of novelties and smashed records it’s hard to pick a stand-out, so I will settle for the Lucea Skeleton.

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Bulgari Lucea Skeleton, £6,150
Bulgari describes it as “the only skeletonised watch on the market made expressly for women”, which I find hard to believe. The other claim - that it’s the only watch to make its logo integral to the design of the skeletonisation - is totally believable and equally brilliant.

Look beyond the ‘BVLGARI’ emblazoned across the dial and admire the in-house automatic movement beneath.

Harry Winston Ultimate Marble Marquetry
If you’ve ever stepped inside a Harry Winston store, chances are you’ve been mesmerised by the showcases rather than looked down at the geometric black and white marble floor. Now this very design, specifically the starburst tile arrangement in the flagship NY store, has inspired a high jewellery watch that’s a total sensation.

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Sketch of the Ultimate Marble Marquetry by Harry Winston, in platinum with sapphires and diamonds
Fifty-two pear-cut Ceylon sapphires radiate from the dial and stretch around the wrist, amounting to over 23 carats. A smaller, repeatable version also exists: a perfect Art Deco expression of cocktail watch loveliness. Thankfully, some brands eschew any thoughts of trends, and sensibly look inwards for their inspiration.

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