Hiren Kumar Bose picks up the watches which define new territories with their innovation and panache
HUBLOT Big Bang Unico Red Magic
Arguably one of the highlights of this year this 45mm Big Bang Unico in a patented red ceramic watch with just 500 pieces is world’s first.The coloured ceramic invented by Hublot is innovative both in terms of the material itself, and the manufacturing process. In addition to the vibrant colour it is also harder than conventional ceramics. The flange, indexes, minute and seconds counters, Arabic numerals and hands all match this hue, adorned in the same red to highlight the contrast with the mechanism of the Unico HUB124 manufacture movement and its column wheel, visible on the dial side through the sapphire crystal. This theme encompasses the entire watch, matched with a lined structured red rubber strap. With gleaming red ceramic, this Swiss luxury manufacture again underscores its expertise in the field of materials research.
Kari Voutilainen 217QRS
Setting the date could not be so easier. In this 39mm watch, one press makes the date hand one day. A special mechanism has been created for the return of the date of 31st to 1st, allowing the date to return slowly back to 1st. By doing this, the mechanism avoids bouncing or arriving at the first day. Made possible due to a retrograde date mechanism of a unique construction where it is fully integrated into the main plate. Finnish watchmaker Kari Voutilainen also shows his prowess through an impressive novel technique for the retrograde date indication. Instead of jumping back quickly, as retrograde hands ordinarily do, this one makes its journey back to the starting point in a slow-paced manner.
The movement has a very large balance wheel manufactured in-house, permitting perfect regulation of the watch to within strict tolerances. To equip such a rare timepiece, a very rare and unique balance-spring system has been used. The escapement makes this movement special. The escape wheels give a direct impulse to the balance through the impulse roller/jewel. This retreat is extremely efficient and requires much less energy than traditional leisurely retreats, providing benefits in terms of longevity and stability in day-to-day use. The balance-wheel bridge is sublimely elegant, offering an unimpeded view of the escapement and balance. It also allows the enthusiast to admire the synchronized movements of the escapement wheels.
H. MOSER & CIE. “Dring”
The Schaffhausen-based Manufacture pairs the contemporary design of the case (45.8 x 39.8 mm) with a complex flying tourbillon movement, fitted with one of the most challenging complications to produce: a minute repeater. Nestled at the heart of the Swiss Alp Watch’s rectangular case with its rounded corners, the C 901 movement is equipped with two gongs that required extreme dexterity to join them; making it very rare indeed. The case underwent extensive work; the case middle had to be widened to the maximum in order to obtain enough space to create a large soundbox. This amplifies the ring of hours, quarters and minutes emitted by two gongs, onto which fall two hammers that are raised based on information provided by different feeler-spindles. The minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock is certainly eye-catching. Visible behind a skeleton bridge, it is fitted to a bearing that improves the precision and chronometry. The tourbillon appears to float weightlessly on the dial stripped of both logo and indices.
Using a system based on gravitational force, the watch indicates the time only when required. The watch enters mechanical standby mode whenever the passing minutes are of no interest. With this model Hautlence introduces a new calibre to its collection, featuring an idiosyncratic reworking of the jumping hour mechanism that introduces a new time display principle. It all happens under the effect of gravity, using a mobile window supported on three bearings with an off-centre weight. On a mechanical level, a central wheel skeletonised in the form of the famous Moebius symbol, drives the blued minute hand, which is tipped with a white arrow. It also actuates the silvered opaline disc featuring the skeletonised hours. While the hours and minutes follow their inexorable trajectory, a mobile central flange with a blue DLC coating is driven by a snail, which performs a full revolution every 60 minutes. This weighted flange, which bears the brand’s logo, features the minute track numerals and a window that displays the time when desired by the wearer. The flange then moves to the correct location, bringing the window to the hour and the minute track opposite the hand. The movement is gentle; thanks to a brake that prevents shocks. When the wrist is in a random position, the time is not visible and the minute track is out of phase with the minute hand’s travel.
GRAND SEIKO Blue Ceramic Hi-beat GMT “Special” Limited Edition
This new Ceramic Hi-Beat limited edition speaks of both the past and the future and does so in the spirit of the 9S calibre that it celebrates. The inner case and outer bracelet links are crafted from the very light high-intensity titanium. The outer case and the centre links of the bracelet are made of the new Grand Seiko blue zirconia ceramic, a material that is seven times harder than stainless steel making it virtually impervious to scratches. Behind the sapphire case back, titanium and tungsten combine in the oscillating weight to resist distortion even when the watch is subjected to shock. The titanium section of the weight is treated with an anodic oxidation* process that creates a new, rich and vivid blue that complements the Grand Seiko blue of the ceramic and the dial. The hi-beat movement has been specially adjusted to the Grand Seiko “Special” standard and offers a precision rate of +4 to -2 seconds per day, a level even higher than the Grand Seiko standard itself. The “SPECIAL” mark on the dial and the 18-ct rose gold Grand Seiko lion insert in the oscillating weight bear witness to this high precision achievement. This watch is offered in a limited edition of 350 pieces.
OMEGA Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8
This 44.25 mm series of Speedmaster Chronos with a boldly open-worked edition to mark the 50th anniversary of Nasa’s Apollo 8 mission – in which the astronauts circled the moon for the first time and became the first humans to see the “dark side” itself. Omega has laser-etched the movement bridges to resemble the lunar surface itself, while the case-back is engraved with astronaut Jim Lovell’s words as spoken to ground control: “We’ll see you on the other side”
PATEK PHILIPPE World Time Minute Repeater ref. 5531R
It combines two grandes complications: the minute repeater and world time. As a result, this new timepiece boasts a world time minute repeater that always chimes the local time wherever you are, unlike other watches of this type, which chime the time in your home country. Equipped with the new R 27 HU calibre, entirely manufactured in-house, the wearer of this masterpiece can set the hour strike to the nearest second, using the 24-hour display of the world time mechanism.