Now is a good time to wander off the beaten track, especially when said tracks are covered with snow. While the festive season is full of traditions, it also provides an opportunity to look at watchmaking from an unconventional, atypical angle.
Coin Watch type models are a grand classic. A number of brands have produced such watches and they follow certain fairly strict rules. While the very strength of the underlying concept – which involves replacing the dial by a gold, generally American coin – tends to limit the scope of creativity, Corum manages to things to another level with its Coin Watch Indian Head. This re-edition of one of the brand’s historical models features a tri-colour enamel-painted headdress adorning the Indian figure on the 10-dollar coin. Its small-sized case is however very much part of the tradition.
Despite its reference to the late 19th century, there is nothing outdated or classical about the Cvstos watch issued as a tribute to Gustave Eiffel. On the contrary, it pays homage to the visionary strength of the structures implemented by the French engineer. Trellis or latticework patterns are the key theme of this model belonging to the Challenge range. The openworked dial picks up the girder motif of Mr Eiffel’s famous Parisian landmark, while the textured case even features the same colour as the tower.
When Hautlence introduced its HLRQ model, one might almost have been tempted to think that the brand had lost one of its signature attributes: namely its domed rectangular case. Nonetheless, all essentials have been preserved and the round case of this model still houses the jumping hour with retrograde minutes complication that has forged the brand’s reputation. The case is now interpreted in a wide range of variations, including this one featuring a bold contrast and vivid orange colour, particularly as featured on the large lugs embracing the case.
Round, square, rectangular, cushion- or barrel-shaped… Once watchmaking breaks free from this formal repertoire, it enters entirely uncharted territory. De Bethune has pushed this approach to its absolute limits. Its Dream Watch 5 has been variously described as resembling a spaceship, a retro-futurist train, but can in fact be likened only to itself. This standout horological object in all-polished or blackened titanium versions manages to spark both desire and surprise, while also proving eminently wearable.
It looks pretty demure, which is what one would expect from a model belonging to this particular Hermès collection. Yet the Dressage L’heure masquée watch cleverly conceals its true nature. Only the minutes hand is visible, while the hours hand remains hidden beneath it, appearing only when the crown is pressed to restore the full time-telling function of the watch. As an added bonus, it also shows the time in a second time zone through a 6 o’clock aperture. This is not the first time that Hermès plays with displaying the hour, but this time it’s a game of hide-and-seek.
It might be taken for a playful gimmick if it did not involve such a serious issue. The EMC by Urwerk enables its owner to play the watchmaker-adjuster. The problem of precision is generally deemed too important to be left in non-specialised hands, but this watch has a function that is truly unique in its kind, since it is equipped with an electronic timing-rate monitoring system. A tiny laser analyses the precision of the watch in terms of its balance wheel rate and delivers the information on a small dial at 10 o’clock. According to the results, each wearer can slow down or accelerate the rate of the EMC in order to keep it as close to zero as possible. But take it easy nonetheless. Just because a concept is crazy doesn't mean you should work it like crazy.