As time goes by

The wristwatch has come a long way from being a simple device that tells you the time. A look at the most elegant, accurate and complicated timepieces that emerged this year.
Anushree basu-bhalla and jimmy jacob         Print Edition: Sep 15, 2013

"Time is an illusion."

When Albert Einstein famously said this in the early part of the 20th century, a hundred million wristwatches across the world must have ticked away in a chorus of mechanical disagreement. Truth is, time is important, and so are the devices that showcase it.

In the watchmaking world, trends change with each movement of the scrawny seconds hand. BaselWorld 2013, this year's edition of the world's largest watch and jewellery fair, saw blue becoming the favoured colour for watch dials. Another trend that seemed at odds with the splendor of exotic timepieces was the use of denim, with Hublot and Guess unveiling denim dials that are informal but elegant. Regular straps could also be seen getting the cold shoulder, with bi-metal ones - especially the rose gold-and-steel version - finding expression in many a timepiece.

Breguet literally serenaded timepiece connoisseurs with a device that played Bach's Badinerie even as its diamond-studded dial rotated to life, creating a stunning spectacle of shimmering colours. While Blancpain dominated the complications arena with an elegant red-gold device that associated Carrousel and Repetition Minutes complications with a flyback chronograph, Breitling - through its stunningly orange Emergency II - demonstrated how a wristwatch can facilitate survival as efficiently as it tells the time.

BaselWorld 2013 went to show that personal timepieces have come a long way from the 1550 Nuremberg egg, with dozens of complex applications finding their way into a dial that once accommodated a single hour hand. We bring you the best from the world of watches.

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