Over the past 10 years, Rox has grown its network of Diamond & Thrills boutiques from a single outlet in Glasgow’s famous Argyll Arcade to six locations across Scotland and the north of England. Kyron Keogh and business partner Grant Mitchell have also shifted upmarket with the range of watches offered by Rox, and now offers prestige brands including Hublot, Tudor, Chopard and Audemars Piguet. Here, Mr Keogh lists the watches that most excited him at Baselworld.
The Spirit of Big Bang has gradually asserted itself as one of Hublot’s most iconic timepieces, and this new sapphire version will certainly make an impact, says Mr Keogh. The heart of this timepiece is the HUB4700 self-winding chronograph movement, which is visible through beautifully honed sapphire crystal. The dial has been painstakingly designed to give a real sense of depth, and to reveal as much detail as possible to the wearer. It is limited to 250 pieces worldwide.
“For me, the highlight at Baselworld 2017 was the Hublot party on Thursday night kicking off worldwide celebrations for the 70th Anniversary of Ferrari. An evening of fantastic entertainment was topped off with a private performance by Depeche Mode,” Mr Keogh recalls. “Since 2006 Charity: Water has been carrying out exceptional work bringing clean water to the millions of people around the world who lack access. Hublot and Depeche Mode have shown their desire to contribute to this goal by creating a new limited edition timepiece which will raise funds for Charity:Water’s projects around the world. The timepiece features a 45mm ceramic case embellished with thousands of pyramids and is supplied on a leather strap with detachable studded cuff and displays the Depeche Mode logo on its dial. This timepiece is limited to 250 pieces worldwide,” he describes.
Hublot and Ferrari knew they had to do something special to celebrate Ferarri’s 70th anniversary. The result is a brand new collection of watches – the Techframe Ferarri 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph. “Designed using the same approach Ferarri use to develop new cars, and making the most of the watch making expertise on tap at Hublot, these new pieces are truly incredible,” Mr Keogh states. The new manual winding tourbillon chronograph movement is made up of 253 components, uses 27 jewels and offers 115 hours of power reserve. This timepiece features a case made from “PEEK” Carbon and is limited to 70 pieces worldwide. It is also available in 18K King Gold or titanium – both also limited to 70 pieces.
Mr Keogh is another buyer bowled over by Tudor this year. The Heritage Black Bay Chrono was his favourite piece. “The first chronograph member of the Black Bay family was always going to have to be not only a fantastic timepiece, but an exceptional piece of engineering. The COSC certified chronograph movement in the Black Bay Chrono is the result of a new collaboration with Breitling, and Tudor have made their own improvements to the rotor, regulation system and balance spring resulting in truly exceptional performance,” Mr Keogh describes. “The symmetrical dial layout with counters at 3 and 9 o’clock, and date window a 6 o’clock, is clean and satisfying – and is right on trend. Swapping out the tradition Black Bay rotating dive bezel for the fixed tachymeter on the Chrono was a really smart decision, and the Chrono looks bolder, sportier and more masculine. It’s no wonder the Chrono is a Baselworld favourite for Gear Patrol, T3 and Esquire.”
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel was also a favourite among watch editors and impressed the Rox team as well. “The use of a brushed steel bezel seems like a relatively minor change, but the effect is remarkable,” says Mr Keogh. “Suddenly the watch has the classic feel associated with vintage timepieces, while the combination of red triangle and genuine pearl on the bezel, and the clean uncluttered dial, keeps it looking fresh and modern,” he adds.
French brand Bell & Ross also caught the eye of the Rox buyers. The Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Black Steel is a particular favourite that has come of age this year, according to Mr Keogh. “The phrase “third time’s a charm” leaps to mind when considering the newly released third iteration of the BR Vintage collection. Each time Bell & Ross have developed this collection they have increased its appeal by targeting specific features. For example, this latest model is flatter than the previous version – a change that is certainly in-tune with the times. The timepiece also features screw-down chronograph pushers, a crown protector and a black tachymeter bezel. The decision to pair this bezel with a matt-grey dial ensures that the V2-94 retains its classic charm – a tricky balance to achieve on a chronograph timepiece,” he explains.
Mr Keogh’s second Bell & Ross pick is the BR 03-94 in blue. “Of all of the various develop-ments on watch making over the last few years, nothing has proved as popular as the drive for blue watches. It sounds simple but blue timepieces often hit the perfect balance between dressy and casual, where black can look too formal and other colours tend towards the casual end of the spectrum. The BR03-94, part of Bell & Ross’ instrument collection features a beautifully finished steel case and the double whammy combination of blue calfskin leather strap and blue dial. The clean finish is completed by the symmetrical sub-dial placement, and the white hands and indexes,” he describes.
Finally, Mr Keogh could not finish his review without mentioning Chopard, which the Rox is offering for the first time this year. “Chopard is every inch the modern master of quietly innovative, classical haute horology. Just 20 years young, its L.U.C. Manufacture was producing its Lunar One moonphase perpetual calendar from as long ago as 2005. This highly masculine model is now reinterpreted in 950 platinum, limited to just 100 pieces. What’s particularly beguiling is the moonphase – not merely a disc rotating beneath the dial, but instead a complex set of components indicating the exact appearance of the moon,” he concludes.