Our Favorite Heritage Releases From Baselworld 2019

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Heritage watch releases, or watches that are essentially reissues of old designs from a brand’s back catalog, have been a mainstay on the watch scene for years now. There’s no doubt that watch buyers find the mix of classic and proven design with modern reliability appealing. Thinking through the most interesting heritage releases of the Baselworld fair, it occurs to me that perhaps we’re a bit light on this type of release this year. It makes sense when you consider the Swatch Group’s decision to sit out this year, as Omega, Longines, Hamilton, and other Swatch brands can be relied upon to offer several new models annually in this category. Still, if we look at the releases from the brands that did attend, there are some notable new (but old) watches to consider. Here are our top picks.

Did your favorite heritage release make our list? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.


Seiko Ref. SLA033

For the past few years there has been a certain pattern to Seiko’s Baselworld releases in that we typically see a high-end, over-engineered, and finely finished version of a classic sports watch from their back catalog. This year, we have the SLA033, perhaps most notable as the watch worn by Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. The reissue has a beautiful Zaratsu polished bezel (normally found in higher end Grand Seiko watches) and a high-end movement with a 50-hour power reserve. It also has a retail price over $4,000, likely making this the target of only the most die hard Seiko collectors (and Apocalypse Now fans). Seiko

Read more about this watch here.

Zodiac Aerospace GMT

It’s no secret — I love this watch. It does exactly what we want a heritage release to do: reissue a much loved design, add a cool new color while also maintaining the original, increase the size marginally for modern consumers, and slap a modern workhorse movement in there for maximum reliability. About the only thing this watch didn’t do was get a serial production run. If you haven’t placed your order yet, then you’ll likely have a hard time tracking this one down as they seem to be sold out online. Zodiac might be able to help you track one down, but definitely keep an eye out on the secondary market. Zodiac

Read more about this watch here.

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Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition

This reissue of the OG Navitimer is a hyper accurate recreation of the original. Not only are the case sizes and colors exactly the same, the little details are thought through as well. Those tiny little beads on the bezel? Same number in the new one as the original. The crystal? Both use tried and true plexiglass. Radioactive luminescent paint? Well, ok, Breitling’s Super Luminova won’t make you sick if you’re exposed to it, but other than that, and the modern movement, this is a hardcore carbon copy of an iconic and increasingly hard to acquire watch. Breitling

Tudor Black Bay P01

Not all heritage reissues are of watches that were actually put into production. Tudor, if you hadn’t heard, made a wave or two at this year’s fair with the release of the Black Bay P01. The inspiration here was basically an urban legend: a secret military dive watch with a locking bezel mechanism. Well, Tudor brought out the original prototype for display in their booth, taking this out of the myth category and squarely into history. Love it or hate it, it’s a part of the brand’s past that, at some level, they hope their customers connect with. Tudor

Read more about this watch here.

Bulova Joseph Bulova Swiss Made Collection

Bulova regularly dips into their archives for inspiration, and with the Joseph Bulova Swiss Made collection they’re going way back with some classic dress watch styles. What I think is most interesting about these watches are Bulova’s willingness to give us some old school case design that you just don’t see much in modern watches. The Tank and Tonneau reissues, with their art deco dials, are time machines for the wrist. Bulova

Junghans Max Bill 100 Jahre Bauhaus (100 Years of Bauhaus)

The Max Bill by Junghans one of the most design forward watches on the market, and this heritage release celebrates not just the watch (which has been available in one form or another consistently for years) but the Bauhaus school’s centennial.

The little flourishes of color on the dial, and the truly cool case back that prominently features the school’s facade in its design, make this piece stand out, and fans of the style, the brand, and contemporary art in general will be pleased with this release. Junghans

Read more about this watch, and the Chronoscope also part of this series, here.

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Oris Big Crown Pointer Date with Red/Burgundy Dial

There is something incredibly cool and old fashioned about a pointer date complication. Seeing the entire month at a glance, and how much progress we’ve made toward its end, is a totally different experience than just “checking the date,” and I think Oris knows this, and has put a lot of thought and effort into their Pointer Date line over the last few years. This latest version, not based on any particular reference, is still a great expression of a vintage style. A burgundy dial, when done right, is beautiful on the right watch, and this new variant is a great complement to the black and green dialed versions that are already part of the collection. Oris

Bulova Computron

I didn’t know I needed a Bulova Computron in my life until this year’s Baselworld, but now that I’ve seen what they have coming to us later this year, I don’t know that I’ve ever been more excited to drop $300 on a quartz watch with an LED display. This watch may have a somewhat niche appeal, but with its low price tag, and the enthusiasm of watch nerds who can remember the 1980s, I have a feeling Bulova is going to have a hit on their hands. I’m not normally into the black on black look, but something about that black case and rubber strap with the bright red LED display is irresistible. Bulova

Read more about this watch here.

Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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