< HARRY WINSTON >
The two parallel diamond chains in Opus 9 are not just decorative but an intrinsic part of time telling. Hiren Kumar Bose
Designed with purity and defined by precision, Opus 9 distills fine watch making down to its absolute essentials. Optimising their function and form, classic timepiece technologies are impeccably reengineered and refined to show a different reading of time. True to the Harry Winston Timepiece DNA, technical innovation is combined with the highest-quality diamonds. Unequivocally modern, unmistakably Opus, the result is a new, abstract expression of time: Linear driven time, captured in diamonds.
In Opus 9, diamonds are not merely a decorative element, but the functional element of time telling. Replacing the traditional watch hands and cyclical dial, time is displayed by two parallel diamond chains, for hours and minutes. Sleek and scintillating, each chain is adorned with 33 baguette-cut diamonds, Harry Winston’s signature shape. Vivid mandarin garnets are strategically positioned to indicate the hours and minutes. Meticulously calibrated, each stone is perfectly set into the links, to ensure movement, while maintaining their brilliance. Crafted in brass, the chains are designed to maximise mobility while minimising friction. Recalling Harry Winston’s iconic, invisible settings, the gemstones appear as floating lines of light, seamlessly unfolding across the dial.
Maintaining the minimalist style of display, the chains are powered by a strong automatic movement, concealed within the case. Transforming rotational time into linear time, a rack and pinion mechanism creates the lateral drive needed to propel the continual gliding movement. Though seemingly simple, extreme balance and mechanical precision are essential to mobilise the weight of the diamond chains. While chain mechanisms have been explored before, the added weight of diamonds presents a new technical and functional challenge.
A stunning feat of architectural engineering, Opus 9 marks the first time that Harry Winston has partnered with two, independent pioneering forces in haute-horlogerie. Both long-time Harry Winston designers, watch maker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, and Eric Giroud, have contributed to some of Harry Winston’s most significant timepiece innovations. Opus 9 is the first time that the duo has joined forces to develop a Harry Winston timepiece design.
Wiederrecht, awarded the Grand Prix 2007 Best Watchmaker Designer, first partnered with Harry Winston in 1989, to develop its first timepiece, the Excenter Perpetual Calendar. An integral part of Harry Winston’s watch making DNA, the retrograde movement and excenter dial helped to establish Harry Winston as a leading innovator in haute horological design. A master of mechanical modules, for Wiederrecht, this original innovation would provide the unique inspiration and conceptual challenge behind Opus 9 – to create a new incarnation of linear time.
With a background in architecture, Eric Giroud has partnered with Harry Winston to develop some of its most aesthetically acclaimed timepieces, including the award-winning Tourbillon Glissiere. Combining aesthetics and architecture, Giroud’s structural savoirfaire provides the necessary frame work to bring conceptual designs to functional reality. Says Eric Giroud, “I was told: You’ve made many retrogrades for us. We are a diamond company. We want you to merge the two. I had to start from scratch. It was not easy to make.”
Stark and sophisticated, the sculptural case is designed to emphasise the functional beauty of the diamonds, while supporting the movement. Crafted in white gold, the frame is defined by a structural bridge, which lends both technical and aesthetic stability to the design. The central vertebrae of the watch, the bridge, forms a lynch-pin lock that secures the mobile components of the watch in place, creating additional stability and shock resistance. Encased in transparent sapphire crystal, the case and movement of the chains remain visible at all angles – a beautifully poetic view of time elapsing.
In the tradition of Opus, the names of all three partners-Harry Winston, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and Eric Giroud-are marked on the bottom of the case. Combining precise engineering, inspired architecture and the world’s finest diamonds, this collaboration creates the perfect trifecta to accomplish the extraordinary. Pushing the innovative extremes and challenging perceptions of time, the resulting design is a groundbreaking accomplishment that is the essence of The Opus Series.