While the enormity of the enterprise at Baselworld is startling, shocking even, in terms of logistics alone, the exhibition shows an industry competitive as they come, nonetheless finding enough common ground to make this a must-visit, even if you don’t really know anything about horology.
Some of the most exotic timepieces made in the world over that past months are now being given the spotlight, and that is the tip of the iceberg. Brands such as Rolex, with a pretty comprehensive line of products, find each and every year some special pieces that draw attention from watch fanatics the world over. And they are not alone.
A highlight from our first day on the scene, other than assimilating the sheer size of it all, from the overall structure to the made-to-order boutiques themselves, was a visit to the stately manor known as the Louis Vuitton Villa. It is not on the Baselworld site, simply because it is a house, built in all its splendour in the 19th century. Across the river, not so far away from the fair, right on the edge of Basel Old Town, this is a place where the brand brings its clients to look at and experience the company’s latest offerings in a serene setting that, given the number of vintage Louis Vuitton cases and luggage, is a terrific emblem of what the company stands for.
Sets of watches are displayed in mini-trunks, to great effect. One of the real attention-getters this year is the Escale, completely hand-painted. Not a drive-by in the salon it is displayed in, that is for sure. Louis Vuitton has invested in artisanal workmanship, in creating real timepieces that still represent the brand in an almost effortless way. The Escale is just one of many new pieces to be found at Baselworld.