The team-up with Harry Winston and Christophe Claret in 2004 necessarily had to culminate in a minute repeater. Christophe Claret is a renowned master of the genre and had already been supplying other brands with his minute-repeater complications before he established his own brand in 1989. The manually-wound movement (which offers a rather unusual power reserve of 53 hours) incorporates two cathedral gongs made of Swedish “Sandwik” tempered stainless steel, which is chosen for its flexibility, strength and excellent acoustic properties.
A number of other features set the Opus 4 apart as a truly exceptional timepiece. In addition to the minute repeater complication it also has a tourbillon and a moon phase display. But these are shown on either side of the watch: the moon phase side offers hour, minute and date hands with a large central moon phase display, while the tourbillon side, also with its own hour and minute hands, shows off the movement and its beautiful decoration, harking back to the Opus Two. An ingenious mechanism allows the lugs to be disconnected from the 44mm Harry Winston Premier case in platinum so that it can be worn either way around, according to its owner’s whim. Furthermore, Christophe Claret makes a point of ensuring that his minute-repeater watches are water resistant, which is extremely rare for this kind of complication.
When Greubel Forsey went to work on the Harry Winston Opus series, once again the outcome was relatively clear from the start. There was little surprise to find an inclined tourbillon in the Opus 6 when it was presented in 2006.. At its heart is a tourbillon that is inclined at an angle of 30 degrees which, housed in two tourbillon cages each rotating at different speeds (a larger cage rotating once every four minutes and a smaller one rotating once per minute), better compensates for the effects of gravity in the positions where the movement is most subject to its forces.
Like most Greubel Forsey pieces, the tourbillon is shown off to maximum effect, seemingly disconnected from the rest of the movement and raised on a bridge high above the base plate that is held by two imposing pillars. The time display is relegated to an almost pejorative position and displayed on discs in a small subdial at 2 o’clock. The case in white gold has the perfect blend of Greubel Forsey and Harry Winston design elements, with the characteristic graining of the former and the arches of the latter protecting the crown. Above all it is a magnificent three-dimensional animated work of art that also happens to tell the time.
Visit the new Harry Winston Opus website for more information on the complete Harry Winston Opus Series and the build-up to the Opus 14 launch