Precision in Clock Craft
Rooted in the art of mixing tradition, technological skills and incredible design, the luxury watch/timepiece industry sports some fantastic designs and feature sets. Produced in limited runs, most are sold to wealthy collectors well before they're even built (much like exotic supercars). These watches are obviously not affordable for the masses and prices are often a well kept secret, or at the very least completely through the roof.
Warp HMS Automatic: Star Date: Awesome
When Arny Kapshitzer, industrial designer and hardcore Star Trek fan, challenged himself to create an exceptional watch, we got the Warp HMS Automatic. This spaceship-themed series is a mix of carbon fiber, acid resistant perfluorinated rubber, titanium and, depending on the model, can include red gold, palladium gold or ceramics.
Cabestan Nostromo: Drums and Conical Gears
The name Nostromo, a watch from Swiss manufacturer Cabestan, is inspired by the 1904 Joesph Conrad novel and the Earth ship from the movie "Alien". The Nostromo is a product of the collaboration of Jean-François Ruchonnet and the master clocksmith Eric Coudray. Its made of vertical gears, drums and articulated cadrants in a titanium shell. The conical drums can be admired through the glass panels located on the sides of the frame. Some pieces of this series are treated with Superluminova, a photoluminescent non-radioactive product illuminates when the light is dimmed. The cost? About $150,000.
The Key of Time: At your own Pace
Who doesn't like the idea of beating time by speeding it up or slowing it down on command? That's what the "Clef Du Temps," or Keys of Time allow for, thanks to a 3-speed crown mechanism. In first gear, the pace of time is cut in half, only displaying half an hour of conventional time, so 30 minutes on your watch is indeed 1 hour of real time. While the second gear is what we would call "standard time," the third gear adds to the pace of standard time, displaying one hour for each half of real time. This very Posh wristwatch is made of a streamlined frame, a slick rubber bracelet and a tricky mechanism that looks a lot like a styled sketch of the human brain. One of the 24 unique pieces of this line was auctioned for USD $410,000 in 2009.
Moon Dust DNA: Moon Rocks on your Wrist
The Moon Dust DNA series from Swiss designer Romain Jérôme is a limited edition of 1,969 time pieces inspired by the year man first stepped on the moon. Rest assured that space conquest does not end there; the watch glass is partially made of real material recycled from the Apollo 11 mission, and the steel claws are from a Soyouz shuttle. Meanwhile, the frame is a mix of minerals including real moon dust and the bracelet fiber are from the International Space Station (ISS). Of course this is all packaged with a certificate of authenticity.
Titanic-DNA: The World's Great Oceanliner on your Arm
Also from Romain Jerome, the Titanic-DNA collection is inspired by the famous transatlantic passenger ship, which vanished in 1912 in the North Atlantic. The top of the watch is made of a combination of authentic stable oxidized steel collected from the Titanic wreck still laying on the ocean's depths, as well as from steel supplied by Harland & Wolf factories in Belfast, Ireland, where the original ship was assembled a century ago. The gears are inspired by the cargo anchor and the deep dark color of the frame was achieved by rubbing coal residue from the wreck on the watch.
Cabestan Titanic-DNA : Five Oceans, One Wreck
This limited series is the fruit of the collaboration of Cabestan, maker of the Nostromo, and Romain Jerome who produced the Titanic timepiece on the previous page. While keeping the exceptional shape and design from the Cabestan Tourbillon Vertical, it incorporates oxidized steel from the Titanic to create a hybrid of sorts. All six models in this series are unique and each has materials and colors inspired by one of the five oceans on the planet, like bronze for the Pacific, copper for the Indian ocean and a dark black for the 6th one named "1°43’ 55’’ N ET 49°56’ 45’’ W" after the location of the Titanic shipwreck.
Horlogical Machine N°3 : Moon Axe and Lateral Vantage.
The HM3 by MB&F, nicknamed "The Frog" thanks to the two cones that rise on top of the frame like the amphibian's protruding eyes, is one in a line of watches that offers a "lateral" vision of time. Along the same style you can also check out the HM4 Thunderbolt and the Bugatti Super-Sport.
The inside of the watch is equipped with an moon axe-shaped rotor and two ceramic gears for power. The finish is very fancy, and check out the clover design on the screws to prevent scratches on the gold plating during maintenance or assembly.
Hysek's Colosso: Watching The World
This was understandably one of the smash hits of the 2008 Baselworld Show (the worldwide watchmaking and jewelry expo). The Colosso is one of the most complex watches ever made on a 12 hours/3 dimensional plan. It's like watching the Earth's rotation, which is set to Greenwich Meridian time on the small globe on top.
Volnatomic Liquid Tourbillon: Nuclear Winter
The Volnatomic limited series is the product of Soviet watchmaking heritage mixed with the Swiss craftsmanship. The series serves as a reminder of the threat of nuclear war that was present in the lives of so many during the Cold War. The two tanks at eight and ten o'clock contain a central tube dipped in a luminescent blue matter, like the water pools in which the uranium is stored in nuclear power plants. If you try to adjust the time the crown is triggered and lights up. For those who forget the dangers of this efficient but potentially deadly source of power, a radiation leak icon also lights up.
UR-202: Under Pressure
Besides a futuristic design, the UR-202 from Swiss watchmaker Urwek has the particularity of a hybrid mechanism with two pressurized air turbines and kinetic energy produced by the wearer movements. The display is also unique since it uses three spinning plugs for the hours wheel and microscopic needles for the minutes. All that could seem complicated, but have no fear, as Urwek created a short video, resembling a sci-fi epic, that simulates the assembly and operation of the UR-202.
The Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon : Precision, Horseshoes and Diamonds
Being a centuries-old connoisseur of fine Swiss watchmaking while appealing to wealthy gamblers is not a stretch, judging from what this limited series of Vintage 1945 by Girard -Perregaux (renamed "Jackpot Tourbillon") is trying to achieve. It integrates the mechanism of a roulette table (sans chips and excited high-rollers) in a very efficient way. The top includes a row of three symbols that can be activated with a lever on the right of the cadrant, similar to slot machines before the age of touchscreen LCD machines. But before you can hit the Jackpot, it will cost you roughly USD $600,000.
Bugatti Super-Sport : The Veyron Homage
The latest product of the collaboration between automaker legend Bugatti and Parmigiani-Fleurier, one of the Swiss watchmaking industry's finest, only 30 Bugatti Super Sport timepieces exist in the world today, which is even fewer than the amount of actual Veyron SS supercars! Each is thoughtfully made to remind you of the Super Sport's land speed records, holding four wheels relative, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport logo, and plenty of carbon fiber in the frame. And we can't forget six glass panels that let you see-but-don't-touch all 337 components of this inspired speed demon.
Horlogical Machine N°4 « Thunderbolt »: Launch is a GO!
Like the frog (HM Number 3), this machine was created by Maximilian Busser & Friends (MB&F). The Thunderbolt is inspired by the famous Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II "Tank Buster," which you could probably guess judging from the jet-turbine-inspired design. Rumor has it that Maximilian Busser wanted to pay tribute to one of his childhood passions: building miniature planes.