Baselworld 2014

Brands have been feverishly reissuing heritage references over the past few years, and I’m a sucker for a good resurrection that, while crafted with modern materials and today’s tastes in mind, stays true to its roots. BaselWorld blessed us with some great ones this year. In no particular order, here are my three favorites:

Longines Heritage Conquest 1954-2014 Limited Edition

On April 3, 1954, Longines filed for the patent of its Conquest collection, and 60 years later they are celebrating one of their most important watches by releasing a limited edition Conquest. This isn’t the only reissue of the Heritage Conquest that Longines has released; however, this is undoubtedly the most faithful one yet. I reviewed the Conquest Heritage in depth, and its primary deviation from the original Conquest released in the mid-1950s is its case size at 40mm. Original Conquests featured a case size in the 35mm range and that’s exactly the size of this Limited Edition. In addition to a mid-century wrist presence, Longines did away with the date aperture, which results in absolute perfection.

Longines Conquest Heritage 1954-2014 - Stainless Steel

Longines Conquest Heritage 1954-2014 – Stainless Steel

You can pick up the Limited Edition Conquest in stainless steel, rose gold or yellow gold, but there will be four versions in total: 1) stainless steel case with a sunray silver dial; 2) yellow gold with a sunray silver dial; 3) yellow gold with a sunray gilt dial; and 4) rose gold with a sunray silver dial. The stainless steel version will be limited to 600 pieces while each gold variation will run for 60 pieces. All four versions feature a domed Hesalite crystal and black alligator strap with a buckle in the matching metal. These limited editions will all  be powered by Longines L633 movement, which utilizes a base caliber ETA 2824-2, just like the Conquest Heritage in 40mm. The price is incredibly attractive, especially for a limited run. The stainless steel model retails for about $2,300 and all three gold models will go for about $5,000.

Longines Conquest Heritage 1954-2014 - Rose Gold

Longines Conquest Heritage 1954-2014 – Rose Gold

Tudor Heritage Ranger

I am impressed with the Heritage Black Bay and the Heritage Chrono from Tudor, but they weren’t true reissues. They combined elements of several historic references to arrive at (incredible) watches that are vintage-inspired but not direct descendants of any models in particular. Nonetheless, both models are heralded by collectors as not only successful comebacks for the brand but strong entry- to mid-level luxury watches in general. This year at BaselWorld, Tudor actually resurrected a specific model with the Heritage Ranger, which is a field watch inspired by the original models made in the late 1960s.

Tudor Heritage Ranger

Tudor Heritage Ranger

The Heritage Ranger features a 41mm satin-finished steel case that is a few millimeters larger than the 1960s original. On the dial are no applied elements, which is unusual for a luxury watch from a brand like Tudor but all the more faithful to its lineage. The dial is painted with arabic numerals at the poles and stick indexes marking the hours, all of which are luminous.

Tudor Heritage Ranger

Tudor Heritage Ranger

What’s interesting about this model is that you can pick it up on several strap variations: a bund strap, a steel oyster bracelet with straight endlinks and a calf leather strap with a deployant similar to what you’d find on the Black Bay. Oddly enough, a Camo NATO strap is included with all models, which features a purely woven pattern. It’s not your average NATO. Most NATO straps have patterns that are printed on the nylon whereas this one, made in France, is actually woven into the fabric. It’s potentially a little on the pricey side at $2,825 or $2,950 on a bracelet, but this is one handsome watch.

Tudor Heritage Ranger

Tudor Heritage Ranger

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial

It’s not easy pleasing watch collectors, but it’s especially difficult to win over both the vintage purists and the enthusiasts with modern tastes. One only needs to look at the Speedmaster line to know that Omega is an undisputed leader in this respect. The brand does such a great job reissuing and maintaining heritage models that show due respect for their ancestors while incorporating contemporary luxury at the same time. The Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial is no exception.

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial

The new Seamaster 300 is a faithful reissue of the original diver Omega Seamaster 300 CK2913 released in 1957. It’s available in a number of colorways and materials; however, the black dial and stainless steel version is the most true to the CK2913. You’ll find the classic dial layout on the Co-Axial version with SuperLumiNova that has an aged appearance that nods to its predecessor. As in the 1957 version, Omega used broad arrow hands. The bezel is also a faithful reproduction aesthetically but is made of Omega’s LiquidMetal so it’s virtually indestructible.

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial

Inside the 41mm stainless steel case is the Omega caliber 8400, a COSC-certified in-house chronometer which features a 60-hour power reserve, 15,000-gauss magnetic resistance and, of course, a co-axial escapement. Instead of a solid caseback, the Master Co-Axial features a sapphire exhibition case back that shows of the beautifully decorated caliber.  The Seamaster 300 Master comes on a stainless steel bracelet with polished center links and a convenient bracelet adjustment system that may just be Omega’s answer to Rolex’s GlideLock, enabling the wearer to achieve a comfortable fit without the use of tools. Retail price is $6,000 USD.

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial (credit: ablogtowatch.com)

Honorable Mention(s)

Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi – An absolutely stunning watch, I’m so glad to see its return but sorely disappointed it’s in white gold and not available in the more sensibly-priced stainless steel case and bracelet. It’ll retail for about $40,000 USD.

Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Bezel

Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Bezel

Longines Heritage 1935 – It’s a beautiful piece and a stellar reproduction of the Longines CAF we covered here, although I would have preferred a no-date version. On the bright side, however, the date aperture’s placement is pleasingly symmetrical. It’s reasonably priced at $2,300 USD.

Longines Heritage 1935

Longines Heritage 1935