Baselworld 2017: Highlights from Day Two, Part Two
We talked about the big brands we visited on day two in yesterday's post. Now we'll have a look at the independents we visited. Emmanuel Dietrich comes from a design background, and his watches reflect that, particularly the lug design. His straps are easily interchangeable and require no spring bars. His new watch design is kind of mind-blowing, especially when you think about the technical ideas and achievements that are coming from someone without any formal watchmaking training. The new Perception is quite large, but there's a good reason for it. Under the architecturally stepped dial is a 24-hour star wheel complication, whereas most star wheels show 12 hours. On the left portion of the dial, we see the hour indication along with the minutes on the far left. The hour marker moves up along the minute track to indicate the time. In the lower right section we see the variable speed seconds indication, which is where this watch goes into really new and interesting territory. The hand moves faster and slower as it moves along different parts of the oblong seconds track. It's mesmerizing to watch, and we predict that if you own one you'll spend most of your time just staring at it. There's a complicated linkage that is visible on the dial side moving the hand at its variable speeds. The white dial watch shown here is the first working prototype and had us gawking at the second hand for far too long. The approximate price will likely be around $12,000 Euros, which is a pretty awesome price for a star wheel complication.
Manufacture Royale introduced their 9th caliber in their new ADN, which has a jump hour disc and an independent dual time zone. Not content with just those two features, they put in a flying tourbillon for good measure. I'm a fan of the articulating lugs on their Androgyne model, and the ADN keeps that design element, making the 46mm case wearable on a number of wrist sizes. Add in forged carbon in the case, and you have a light and surprisingly comfortable watch with some really cool complications.
Fiona Krüger has introduced two new versions of her skull watches, this time taking the colorful dial of her original Celebration Skull and marrying it with the smaller size of her Petit Skull version. I enjoyed the original Celebration but found it too big to comfortably wear on my small-ish wrist, but the Petit Skull is much more wearable. The two versions out now include a matte black PVD case or a steel case with 7 colors of inset gemstones around the bezel, which were inspired by the eternity ring her grandmother used to wear. Both watches have hand-decorated dials and skeletonized movements. If you like skulls, this is the watch to get.
It's always a delight to visit Kari Voutilainen. He has a mischievous smirk on his face as he hands you his latest masterpiece, and they are masterpieces. He can control every aspect of his watches down to the craziest dial designs (owning a dial factory doesn't hurt). His latest bespoke creation, Aki-No-Kure, which means "the scene in late autumn", he created this new piece for Baselworld with the theme of the circle of life. This piece was done in partnership with Japanese lacquer studio Unryuan, who put more than a thousand hours into lacquering the dial, bridges, and cover of the case back. The movement contains a new direct impulse escapement with two escapement wheels.
If you are going to be near a city where Kari is going to be exhibiting his craft, we encourage anyone to go and talk to him. He is humble and kind and an innovator. There's something to be said for an independent watchmaker who can decide to do literally any design or color they want simply on a whim to create beautiful horology.
We always enjoy visiting our friends at Christiaan van der Klaauw so we can get lost in the intricacies of their astronomical complications. (Also, they're really nice.) They had a few photo challenges for Atom, including photographing details from one of their unique pieces with a bronze dial and the smallest planetarium complication in the world, as well as the Real Moon Joure Horizon, which features an abstract oil painting on the dial, but the real challenge was capturing the colors in the Real Moon Stella Nebula. The Nebula is a limited edition of 5 pieces that incorporates ammolite, an opalescent organic gemstone that is comprised of the fossilized shells of Mesozoic-era ammonites. Ammolite can contain many colors of varying brightness and chromatic shift, and can be incredibly hard to capture in a photograph due to the way it reflects light. The watch of course incorporates the brand's Real Moon 3D moonphase complication. I'll let you be the judge of whether Atom was able to photograph it well.
More to come from Baselworld 2017.