Baselworld 2014: Introducing New Dials for the Rolex Sky-Dweller Annual Calendar, Including White Gold with a Black Dial

Rolex is filling out the Sky-Dweller collection with new variants, including one in white gold with a black dial, the most modern looking version of the Rolex annual calendar yet.

Two years ago Rolex unveiled its most complicated watch yet, the Sky-Dweller, an extremely impressive and cleverly engineered annual calendar with second time zone function. A breeze to operate and adjust, the Sky-Dweller has a function selector bezel that allows everything to be done via the crown.

But the first three Sky-Dweller timepieces were large, shiny in a somewhat outdated ostentatious style. At Baselworld 2014 Rolex added three new Sky-Dweller variants to the line-up, fortunately including one in white gold with a black dial (ref. 326139) on a black alligator strap.

The new Sky-Dweller in white gold has Arabic numerals with luminous filling, which along with the red accents on the dial give it a clean and contemporary look.

The second new model is in yellow gold with a silver dial (ref. 326138), and the last is in rose gold with a matching bracelet (326935).

Prices have yet to be announced, but the current model Sky-Dwellers retail for US$39,550 on strap and between $46,150 and $48,850 on bracelet, so these new additions will cost about the same.

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Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT, the First 36,000 bph GS GMT (with specs and pricing)

Seiko has just announced the first high beat Grand Seiko GMT, equipped with the newly developed 9S86 automatic movement running at 36,000 bph, inside the larger, 44GS type case.

The flagship product of the Grand Seiko line-up at Baselworld 2014, the new Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT is the most complicated mechanical (as opposed to Spring Drive) Grand Seiko timepiece yet. It features the new 9S86 movement, which combines a second time zone function with the high beat escapement, combined with the 44GS style case unveiled last year.

Running at 36,000 bph, the 9S86 movement is tested to an average daily rate of -3 to +5 seconds and has a 55 hour power reserve. The second time zone hand can be adjusted in one hour increments, backwards or forwards, via the crown.

A moderate 40 mm in diameter, the steel case has the broad, polished flanks characteristic of the 44GS of 1967, which was just reissued as a limited edition last year. It is water-resistant to 100 m, with sapphire crystals front and back. Three models are available, all in steel on bracelet. The most classical is the SBGJ001 with a white dial decorated with a fine radial guilloche and a blued steel GMT hand. Slightly more sporty is the SBGJ003, which has a glossy black dial with red accents.

And limited to 600 pieces is the SBGJ005, which has a rich green dial sporting the same radial guilloche as the white version. This is inspired by the summer colours of the woodlands around the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in Iwate prefecture, where all mechanical Grand Seikos are manufactured. The limited edition also has a titanium rotor treated with an anodic oxidation process to give it a gold finish.

These will be available around the middle of 2014, with the standard models retailing for €6700 (~US$9210) and the green dial limited edition €7050 (~US$9700). And for those who value chronometry and prefer more formal designs, a limited production Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT regulated to the “Special Grand Seiko” test will also be available, but only in Japan. These are only available in gold, with production limited to only 200 pieces a year in all metals.

With blue steel GMT hands, the dials are classically styled, much like the classic Grand Seiko GMT, except the indices are slimmer and the GMT numerals are on a brushed circular track. The “Special” at six o’clock is the only indication that they are top of the line Seiko chronometers.

Each version has a solid gold Grand Seiko medallion set into the rotor of the movement.

These use the same 9S86 movement as the regular models, except they are adjusted to meet the even more stringent requirements of the Special Grand Seiko test, which is compared with the standard Grand Seiko criteria below.

The white gold model (SBGJ007) is priced at 2 million Japanese yen, equivalent to US$19,500. The yellow gold (SBGJ008) and rose gold (SBGJ010) versions are 1.9 million yen, which is about US$18,500.

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Baselworld 2014: Introducing The Hermès Dressage L’heure masquée, A Dual Time Zone With A Secret Hour Hand (with specs and price)

The latest from Hermès is the Dressage L’heure masquée, a novel timepiece with a secret hour hand as well as second time zone, both of which are revealed on demand, powered by the proprietary H1925 movement.

Three years ago Hermès presented the Arceau Le Temps suspendu, a watch that suspended time until the wearer demanded it. This year at Baselworld 2014 Hermes has introduced a watch with a similarly whimsical time display, the Dressage L’heure masquée. Both the hour hand and GMT display remain hidden until the crown is pressed, before disappearing when the pusher is released. Unless called upon, the hour hand sits directly beneath the minute hand, remaining hidden and travelling in sync with the minutes. Likewise, the second time zone window at six o’clock reads “GMT”, only revealing the second time zone on demand.

Time hidden (left) and time revealed

Both of these are revealed when the button co-axial with the crown is pressed, and remain visible for as long as the button is depressed. The H1925 hidden time mechanism functions similarly to a chronograph, with the hour hand linked to a cam that releases it when the button is pressed. The second time zone operates on a similar principle and is advanced in hour steps by the button at nine o’clock. Hermès has been gradually growing its timepieces equipped with manufacture movements, which started with the Dressage H1837. Similarly, the Dressage L’heure masquée is powered by the H1925 automatic movement. Like all of the Hermès manufacture movements, this was developed and made by Vaucher Manufacture, of which Hermès owns a quarter. 

The Dressage L’heure masquée has a 40.5 mm case, available in rose gold or steel. Both versions have stamped vertical guilloche dials.

The rose gold model is limited to 500 pieces and priced at US$44,000, while the 1000 piece steel edition will cost US$19,500.

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Baselworld 2014: Introducing the Tudor Heritage Black Bay in Dark Blue (with specs and price)

Tudor has just unveiled the second Heritage Black Bay in dark, muted colours, in stark contrast to the original model. The new Black Bay features a midnight blue bezel and black dial with silver indices.

Introducing the Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute Blacksteel (with specs and price)

Breitling has just unveiled the Blacksteel version of the Navitimer Cosmonaute. With its trademark 24-hour dial, the Navitimer Cosmonaute Blacksteel also features the in-house B02 movement.

Introducing the Chanel J12 Moonphase (with specs and price)

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