The 1700s really were the halcyon days of horological innovation and most of it was happening in the British Isles. In 1800, some reports say that Britain made half the world’s watches, around 200,000 a year. By 1900 however, production numbers had fallen to roughly 100,000, though worldwide consumption was by then in the millions. So what happened? And where does British timekeeping stand today?
Rising to the top
Another BaselWorld is in the books. Journalists, retailers and watch nerds alike are retreating as we speak to their blogs, stores and web forums to debate who the winners, the losers, the biggest surprises and the biggest disappointments were at this year’s show. Of course, all of the hype surrounding the biggest watch event on the planet is a sign of the times. Watches have become big business, and the launch of a new OMEGA or TAG Heuer attracts the same buzz as a new U2 album or Bond film. Watches are cooler now than they’ve ever been.
Our intrepid band of watch experts has elbowed past the hype and tirelessly pored over the onslaught of new watches shown this past week to distill a list of the most interesting, groundbreaking and just plain sexiest new timepieces of BaselWorld 2013.
British elegance and a seafaring tradition
Even a gear guy puts on a tux once in a while. The new HMS1 ($15,165) from Arnold & Son is just the watch for the occasion. It’s sleek and elegant in 18K rose gold, with an anthracite dial and hand-stitched alligator strap. The HMS1′s classic nautical styling is steeped in the 249-year history of…