Continuing the theme, three more brief highlights from SalonQP 2011.
|The HWM Tensus [Image (c) HWM]|
Four: There’s still more that can be done to the humble hand-wind. Heritage Watch Manufactory were showing two models at SalonQP – the Tensus and the Magnus – both of which contain highly modified manual wind movements that have but one aim – true perfection in the art of regulation. In this period of austerity, it’s refreshing to see a brand moving away from the tourbillon and instead focusing on other parts of the watch mechanism, such as the larger-than-normal, mass-regulated VIVAX balance. I won’t even pretend to understand exactly what HWM have done in order to register five patents on the Tensus alone, but it covers everything from the twin mainspring barrel to the fine adjustment mechanism. Oh, and did I mention the constant force drive and highly innovative (if bizarrely-named) Sequax escapement? Couple these technological advances with cases and dials designed by the near-legendary Eric Giroud (Harry Winston’s Opus 9, MCT’s Sequential One and the HM1 from MB&F) and you have something truly special. At c.EUR25k to 60k for the Tensus and Magnus respectively, these watches are certainly not cheap, but they are marvels of timekeeping.
Five: Air force squadrons get the best watches – and the best rides. Bremont were at it again, showing their squadron-only C-17 Globemaster watch with a rather fetching blue dial. Designed in conjunction with a few of the guys who actually drive this huge Boeing bus, the C-17 is based on Bremont’s ALT1-P chrono-GMT model, with a few nice touches:
|Bremont C-17 Globemaster|
- each of the twenty-four time zones represents a US Air Force base – well, almost all. I noticed RAF Brize Norton slipped in at 00/24
- the date window echoes the Head Up Display in the cockpit
- Bremont have tweaked their Roto-Clik internal bezel mechanism for 24 time zones, and
- the number seventeen is red. Okay, that last one might not be the most interesting thing on the watch, but I rather liked it.
The watch will be available in blue, grey and black versions and can be ordered from Bremont. If you have the right credentials.
|De Bethune DB25T|
Six: sometimes the best complications are the simplest. De Bethune’s DB25T hides a rotating silicon / titanium tourbillon behind its star-studded, blued titanium dial. The complication? Dead beat seconds – jumping seconds that mimic, of all things, a quartz watch. Sounds simple, but it’s notoriously difficult to do. In effect, it’s actually recreating a sound that is far older than quartz: the clocks of the 17th / 18th century often contained Huygen pendulums – with a natural rhythm of a second. The dead seconds (or seconde morte) complication stems from an effort to recreate such a rhythm and was probably most famously resurrected by F P Journe. What I like most about the De Bethune is perhaps a little perverse – the beautiful, rotating 30-second tourbillon is only visible from behind – unlike most modern tourbillon watches that proudly wear their hearts on their sleeves (so to speak), the DB25T ticks away merrily. You might never even know.