Each year, Baselworld brings with it some of the year’s most exciting luxury watch reveals. While this year’s show was somewhat more subdued than in years past, perhaps in large part due to the reduced number of exhibitors, the show still, as always, came with some thrilling luxury watch debuts. While many brands, including Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Tudor, showed only line extensions this year, other brands showcased exciting new developments. Ready to see the best of this year’s Baselworld? Read on to see our full Baselworld 2019 recap, highlighting the best debuts of the year.

Bulgari’s Finnissimo Chronograph GMT

Image Courtesy of Bulgari

Bulgari broke another world record with a new release revealed at Baselworld 2019. Their new Finnissimo Chronograph GMT is a mere 6.9 mm thick, making it the world’s thinnest mechanical chronograph. This sleek, minimal, and distinctive new model features a brand new movement, the Caliber BVL 318, which also sets a new record for thinness. At just 3.3 mm thick, it’s the world’s thinnest automatic chronograph caliber.

Breitling’s Navitimer 608 1959

Image Courtesy of Breitling

Breitling showed off a notable re-release at this year’s Baselworld with their Navitimer 608 1959, a faithful recreation of one of their legendary aviation watches. The re-release was a showstopper at this year’s Baselworld, with many visitors praising the great lengths Breitling took to stay true to the immaculate design of the original timepiece.

Citizen’s New Caliber 0100

Image Courtesy of Citizen

Citizen debuted an impressive new caliber at Baselworld 2019: the Citizen Caliber Eco-Drive movement. This new movement is accurate to an impressive plus or minus one second per year. Citizen’s remarkable new caliber is available in three limited edition watches: the White Gold Model AQ6010-06A, the Super Titanium AQ6020-53X with mother-of-pearl dial, and the the Super Titanium AQ6021-51E with metallic black dial.

Kari Voutilainen’s Vingt-8 Invert

Image Courtesy of Pikbe

While not particularly technically innovative, the Vingt-8 Invert from indie luxury watch maker Kari Voutilainen is particularly beautiful. This new model from Voutilainen is an inspired redesign of their Vingt-8. The redesign features a stunningly crafted visible movement, a first for the brand, which makes up the watch’s dial.

The Decline of the Major Watch Trade Shows

Of course, we can’t touch on Baselworld 2019 without mentioning the elephant in the room: the show’s noticeably smaller number of exhibitors and attendees. BaselWorld has been one of the biggest events in the world of watches for over a century. But over the last few years, the number of exhibitors and attendees at Baselworld has sharply declined, leaving many to wonder if Baselworld is dying. At Baselworld 2019 alone, the number of exhibitors declined from the previous year’s 1,500 to 500, largely due to Swatch Group’s decision not to attend the event this year, while attendees were down 22%.

Though Baselworld seems to have issues with exhibitors and attendees, these issues aren’t Baselworld’s alone. Attendance and exhibitor numbers have been declining for all major watch shows, including the other of the two largest shows, SIHH. Experts have wondered if the decline in attendance for these shows comes from a lack in faith in trade shows in general. Based on event attendance, many brands seem to be wondering if trade shows are worth their time. And more and more brands seem to be trying to market to customers directly, doing so through social media, email, websites, or small trade shows that are solely focused on their brand.

The future of Baselworld seems to be up in the air. While Baselworld has announced that they will be having a 2020 show, they have coordinated with SIHH to ensure their events take place back to back, whereas before the events have generally been months apart. It seems that these two mega watch shows are attempting to boost enthusiasm for the shows by making them, together, a nine day long event.

Watch trade shows have long been the most exciting place to see new luxury watch releases— but will watch shows like Baselworld soon become a thing of the past? Only time will tell.