Baselworld 2017: The hottest timepieces to watch this year

Releases from brands as diverse as Baselworld stalwarts Hermès, Longines and Breitling indicate we're in for a bumper crop of wrist-works at next month's Basel fair.

A new icon

Hermès has revealed a refresh of the iconic Cape Cod range originally designed by Henri d'Origny in 1991 and based on a square inside a rectangle. The new masculine models not only look contemporary but boast considerable watchmaking expertise thanks to in-house movements, cases and dials.

If the Hermès Cape Cod models take care of elegance, taking care of the tool-watch category is Breitling with a fresh take on the Avenger Hurricane. Cased in ultralight, ultra-sturdy Breitlight – a material more than three times lighter than titanium – the 50mm watch launched last year with a 24-hour dial and now comes with a yellow or black dial in 12-hour mode.

That makes it easier to read and its numerous other qualities such as exceptional resistance to scratching, traction and corrosion, thermal stability, along with anti-magnetic and non-allergenic properties remain.

Ambassadors of elegance

It's past-masters Longines who you'll find ticking the 'classic' box, this year celebrating the 60th anniversary of its first Flagship collection with the accordingly named Flagship Heritage – 60th Anniversary 1957-2017.

Recessive and refined, the watches in the collection were supposedly inspired by a Flagship model in the Swiss watchmaker's headquarters, said to be favoured by the brand's 'Ambassador of Elegance', Kate Winslet.

That aside, the numbered and limited-edition models, cased in steel, yellow gold or rose gold, speak for themselves and would compliment a male or female wrist.

Something for sweethearts

If you're looking for something more striking and a little different, Jaquet Droz never disappoints, witness its suggestion for St Valentine's Day. The Petite Heure Minute Astorite (it spans 35mm) has an off-center hours and minutes subdial at 12 o'clock featuring a hand-polished astorite, on a pink background sparkling with gold and silver inclusions and black flecks and veins.

Astorite is a gem named after entreprenneur and mine-owner John Astor who perished on the Titanic – a slightly more interesting story than Longines could manage for their offering.

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With competition for your wrist stronger than ever, such watches – and stories – are just a taste of what's around the corner at Basel. The show commences March 23.

Check out the gallery above to see the most anticipated watches at this year's Basel.

This article first appeared on Watch-Next