|A Watch World exclusive on Baselworld and SIHH 2006|
The Baselworld and SIHH 2006, which showcase the best of Swiss watches were dazzling and mesmerising, thanks to the innovation in technology, design, shape and material. At Baselworld the number of brands exhibited this year was 2127, of which 326 were watch brands, 614 jewellery brands and 1187 others, totalling a whopping 2127 brands in all. A total of 427 exhibitors were from Switzerland, followed closely by Italy (361) and Hong Kong (359). The total surface area used by Baselworld 2006 was 160,000 sq. mts. The 16th annual exhibition for haute horlogerie took place in Palexpo from April 3 to 9. SIHH exhibits 16 of the ‘greats’ of this world, namely Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Roger Dubuis, Jaeger- LeCoultre, Jeanrichard, Girard Perregaux, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Panerai, Parmigiani, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Alfred Dunhill and Montblanc. The 2006 collections reminded one how precious time is and the time machines too! Annual and perpetual calendars, chronograph counters, second time zones, and day, date and month windows were especially popular, as much for their usefulness as for the aesthetic appeal they add to the watch.
Changing fashions were evident with use of newer materials for dials, cases as well as straps. There were exciting use of steel, rubber, pink and rose gold, platinum and diamonds for the new launches. The combination of the brushed and the polished looks were very much in demand. The colour riot, which started last year continued this year as well. Many brands, including some high-end ones dropped their grey, black and white look to embrace colour in a big way. As far as the ladies watches go, the settings on the dials and cases defied imagination, while designs were nothing less than angelic. See-through components in men’s watches were an exclusive feature which one came across. Then there were the open or skeleton dials and the transparent sapphire dials which are considered the most priced possessions today. One did notice that a good number of models have been restyled to meet contemporary tastes.