JCK Exclusive Report from Basel: New Watch Breakthroughs

The second day of BaselWorld 2010 showed the fair’s many facets in action:

Technical breakthroughs. BaselWorld is always a stage for technical advances in watchmaking. This year Bulova had its groundbreaking Precisionist quartz technology, which it calls "the world’s most accurate watch," with a continuous sweep second hand, unusual for quartz watches. TagHeuer’s Grand Carrera Pendulum is a concept watch with the first mechanical movement in 250 years of watchmaking without a hairspring, which has been replaced by magnetic fields.

Seiko’s new Astron quartz watch (commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first quartz watch that changed the watch business worldwide), has advanced quartz technology that will be applied to other Seiko watches.

Gala gaiety. While not a "party town," BaselWorld rocks for its eight days with high profile private social events. This year movie star and climate change activist Leonardo DiCaprio appeared at TAG-Heuer’s 150th anniversary celebration; opera great Jose Carreras had a concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary of luxury watch and jewelry brand Chopard; and Bulova sponsored a performance by circus group Cirque du Soleil.

Good works. BaselWorld has a heart, and so do many of its exhibitors, as seen again this year with many new projects. They include a new project by the Damiani Group to bring watch to parched regions and peoples of Africa, Hublot’s financial support (and limited edition watch) for the African Wildlife Foundation; and Guess and Gc Watches’ support of the Brazilian charity "Cicade dos Meninos San Vincent de Paulo" which helps thousands of children in extreme poverty.

Movie star Leonardo DiCaprio spoke at an invitation-only gala for luxury sports watch Tag Heuer’s 150th anniversary March 18 during BaselWorld 2010. The event also launched the Grand Carrera Pendulum, the first¬-ever watch movement has no hairspring, and “Odyssey of Pioneers,” a 15-city around-the-world roadshow showcasing the brand’s watches. (Photo by William George Shuster)