Best of the Quirks

Best of the Quirks

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Watches come in varied and intriguing shapes. Shapes, only a watchmaker can think of! Interestingly, the shape is not just to attract attention but an integral part of what lies inside. Hiren Kumar Bose on the unconventional-shaped watches viewed at SIHH 2017

HYT Traditional  Skull Pocket

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Available in a limited release of 8 pieces, the fluid technology integrated into HYT’s Skull Pocket sits perfectly with all the lines of the traditional mechanical watch, bringing these into the 21st century. For the first time, the light source module developed for its Metropolis model has been combined with a Skull. This module has two LEDs positioned underneath the rider at 6 o’clock. The micro-generator which activates them has been integrated into the case. It works by converting mechanical power into electricity. A barrel spring is loaded when the dedicated push-button crown at 4:30 is turned. Pressing this push-button crown then releases the spring and turns the micro-generator at very high speeds, creating the electricity needed to activate the two LEDs. This bathes the Skull Pocket in a soft blue light and gives the green liquid its fluorescent glow. The light lasts for around five seconds, after which the mechanism needs to be reinitialised. No batteries or electronics are required for this function as the process is completely mechanical. Developing this patented assembly, which comprises no fewer than 82 components, was a particularly painstaking task due to its extreme miniaturisation and its curved shape. The assembly sits within a 59 mm case which was specially created for the Skull Pocket, made from titanium and black DLC titanium. In place of the lugs, HYT has developed an exclusive cover system to protect the dial. Articulated by a hinge at 12 o’clock, it is triggered by the iconic rider at 6 o’clock, which has become one of the brand’s aesthetic hallmarks. The cover features an engraved pattern with leather inserts and can be fully customised. When pressed gently downwards, this rider releases the cover, unveiling the Skull Pocket dial. At night, the light emanates instantly, producing a soft blue glow which floods the case and causes the coloured liquid charged with fluorescent dye to react. The time can be read intuitively around the circumference of the skull, via indices with Arabic numerals filled with SuperLuminova. The seconds are displayed in the left eye and the power reserve in the right eye. The piece is attached to a titanium chain specially designed for the Skull Pocket.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod

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The eponymous brand’s Horological Machine collection has a new sibling: Aquapod, the seventh in its series. The organic jellyfish-inspired design of HM7 Aquapod is counter-balanced by the very mechanical horology within: a central 60-second flying tourbillon tops the concentric vertical movement architecture, with indications radiating out from the centre like ripples in a pond. Like many jellyfish, HM7 glows in the dark: on the hour and minute numerals, around the inside of the movement and along the tentacle-like winding rotor. The 303-component, 72-hour power reserve HM7 Engine was developed in-house by MB&F. Spherically three-dimensional, all its mechanisms – from the winding rotor at the bottom, to the flying tourbillon on top – rotate concentrically around the centre. The curves of the high-domed sapphire crystal are mirrored in the shape of the time display rings.

ROMAIN JEROME Space Invaders™ Limited Edition

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RJ introduces a new collection with two models each limited to 78 pieces, the Space Invaders™ Pop, equipped with a Swiss Made mechanical self-winding movement. Available in either a 46mm titanium case or a 40mm steel case, the pair will be released simultaneously for the first time. The complex award-winning Moon Invader case features four functional ball-and-socket joints, cut like the pivoting « feet » of the lunar landing modules of the American lunar missions. These extremely sophisticated components, mounted on axles and anchored to the case, hold the lugs of the rubber straps and enable the watch to adjust to all kinds of wrist sizes. The pixelated 3D dial with bead-blasted and satin-brushed levels reveals the famous Space Invaders™ characters enhanced with stronger and brighter colours. The characters, in the form of a laser cannon and aliens, have been meticulously machined one by one then filled by hand with cold enamel in green, white, blue, purple, orange and yellow. These Pop colours are the game’s most representative colours used over time. New to the collection as well, the case back beholds a Space Invaders™ medallion standing in the middle of the stellar pattern extending to the back of the rubber strap. And to immerse completely into the Game universe, the watch box is designed like an arcade controller.

RESSENCE Type 5

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A natural continuation of its Type 1and 3, Type 5 is the first mechanical watch to be perfectly readable underwater regardless of the viewing angle. It is the diving watch whose ultimate legibility does not sacrifice the pleasures of a traditional mechanism. The watch is designed to meet the ISO 6425 standards and able to withstand extreme conditions. The organic design of the   46mm TYPE 5 takes its inspiration from nature, specifically sea turtles. Their distinct aqua-dynamic shape means they are best able to propel themselves easily through the water – so what better shape too for an amphibious watch, right down to its seamlessly integrated uni-directional bezel? Made from titanium it is also lightweight, just 87g. The hours, seconds and the oil temperature gauge sit in revolving discs, which in turn orbit inside the main disc of the minute display, which itself is continuously revolving – so this patented orbital display system is an integral part of the dial. The complication managing this refined mechanism – the Ressence Orbital Convex System, or ROCS – is a first in the history of watchmaking. It employs a specially-modified automatic calibre that gives the minutes, and hence the base calculation of time, from which is extrapolated all the other temporal indications on the dial.

URWERK UR-T8

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The UR-T8 (60.23mm X 48.35mm X 20.02mm) which has a series of precise actions unlocks the case from its cradle, flips it over and returns it with a satisfying click to protect the time beneath a titanium shield. It then becomes a mystery object on your wrist. From its shape and its intriguing, highly textured pattern, it is impossible to guess that it is, or even could be, a wristwatch. Squeeze again the two buttons on the side of the case to release it, lift it vertically, rotate it 180° about its axis and click it back into its cradle to return to the present time. There you discover a new version of Urwerk’s trademark wandering-hour indication — the most intuitive way of telling the time.  The 12 hours in groups of four on a three-armed carousel successively sweep across the scale of 60 minutes to show the time both digitally and analogically. A complex planetary gearing transforms a tangle of wheels, screws and jewel bearings into a meticulously orchestrated ballet. A gilded spinning vane connected to the winding rotor absorbs any sudden and violent movements of the rotor without compromising its winding efficiency. The UR-T8 features all the characteristics that the Manufacture has made its own: the huge crown, the organically shaped Sapphire-Crystal glass, the textured case that invites your touch, a strong personality and a recognisable visual signature. The UR-T8 is available in an initial series of 60 watches in natural titanium or with a black PVD coating.

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