Delving Into Different Designs

This article was originally published in the Design 2023 Issue of the WatchTime print magazine.

More than just a bit different, these new watches venture light- years beyond everything we thought was normal.

Musical: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Self-Winding Music Edition

Audemars Piguet transforms music into a colorful lightshow with this exciting new version of the Royal Oak Offshore (Ref. 15601BC.44.D343CA.01). The aventurine dial of this 43-mm-diameter white-gold watch reproduces the motifs of an equalizer with the 10 rainbow-colored columns of a sound filter’s display represented by invisibly set rubies, peridots and tsavorites, as well as green, blue and orange sapphires. The same varieties of colored gemstones decorate the bezel, giving the watch a total of 230 jewels with a total weight of 6.15 carats. The crown guard on the side of the case was inspired the faders on mixing consoles. Those who prefer an even more colorful version can detach the dark blue rubber strap and replace it with one of three interchangeable straps, which are available in turquoise blue, yellow and green. The colorful dial, which dispenses with a date window in favor of its appearance, conceals automatic manufacture Caliber 4309, which amasses a 70-hour power reserve. The finely decorated movement has an oscillating weight made of 22-karat red gold and can be viewed through the window of sapphire crystal in the caseback. Price on request.

Transparent: Cyrus Genève Klepcy’s Vertical Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire

As a further escalation of its disruptive design, this Geneva-based watch brand is releasing its vertical tourbillon in a new version (Ref. 539.506.2G.A) with a case crafted from sapphire crystal. Even more exciting than the transparent case, however, is the “standing” escapement at the center, which transmits its power to the gear train at a 90-degree angle. The hands for the hours and minutes are retrograde, which means that each hand suddenly jumps back to its zero position at the end of its journey. First used in 2018, hand-wound Caliber CYR625 amasses a 100-hour power reserve and is the brainchild of master watchmaker Jean-François Mojon, who is technically responsible for all of Cyrus Genève’s creations. A rotating ball at the 12 o’clock shows how many hours of the four days remain in the power reserve. The gold bridge is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s self-supporting bridge. Only 10 pieces of this very special transparent version of the Vertical Skeleton Tourbillon will be built. Each will be offered for CHF 245,000.

Moonstruck: HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue

The Swiss brand HYT is known for its innovative time display, in which a dark liquid in a capillary tube gradually displaces a light-colored liquid. The time is shown where the two liquids meet. The lighter-colored liquid is pumped back into the tube at 6 o’clock, when the cycle begins again. Under the aegis of new CEO Davide Cerrato, who was formerly Managing Director at Montblanc Watches, HYT is combining this unconventional double-fluid technology with a calendar for the first time. Needless to say, the astronomical indications are likewise anything but ordinary. The date, month and an additional moon-phase display rotate in the center of the watch. A motionless hand in the lower half of the dial shows the date and the month. The moon’s phases are shown by a partly blue hemisphere in a central circle. A triangle for the minutes completes the ballet of indicators. Movement developer Eric Coudray conceived hand-wound Caliber 601-MO, which amasses a 3-day power reserve. The image pictured here was taken when the Moon Runner Supernova Blue was showing full moon at 10:09 a.m. on March 28. This unusual presentation is priced at $126,190.

Chivalrous: Roger Dubuis Knights of the Round Table Monotourbillon

In 2022, Roger Dubuis again introduced a watch model dedicated to the 12 knights of King Arthur’s Round Table. Twelve miniature figures in rose gold represent the knights on the face of the Knights of the Round Table Monotourbillon (Ref. RDDBEX1025). The knights are fabricated by a 3-D process and subsequently refined by hand. Each figure embodies a different knight of the legendary Round Table and each wields a different weapon. They are gathered around the central tourbillon and a miniature Round Table made from Murano glass in different colors. The broad hour hand and minute hands, each crafted from several gold elements, rotate under the table. The 45-mm-diameter rose-gold case encloses automatic manufacture Caliber RD115, which like all of Roger Dubuis’s movements, bears the Hallmark of Geneva as a sign of its workmanship and finishing. Roger Dubuis is building only eight pieces of this model, each of which costs approximately 590,000 euros.

Benevolent: Urwerk UR-110 Bakelite

As the so-called “final edition” of the UR-110 collection, the Genevabased brand created this eye-catching one-of-a-kind timepiece, and sold it at auction for 120,000 Swiss francs to benefit the Swiss Red Cross. As a special feature of its design and materials, the titanium case has an inlay made from Bakelite, a type of plastic that was introduced in 1909 and frequently used in subsequent years. The movement powers Urwerk’s impressive satellite display, in which hour cubes rotate into the correct position and then progress along a minute scale. Those who look more deeply into automatic Caliber UR 9.01 will find a seconds and a day-night indicator, as well as an “oil change” alarm, which reminds the wearer when the time has come for the watch to undergo routine servicing. The case measures 47 mm by 51 mm and is 16 mm in height.

Ultra-Flat: Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari

This watch is not only the new world record holder in slim construction, but also an expressive design object, which suits Richard Mille’s partner Ferrari. The 51-mm by 39-mm titanium case is only 1.75 mm in height. It houses Caliber RMUP-01, a manually wound movement with the extraordinarily low height of just 1.18 mm. A pair of unconventional “crowns,” each integrated into the movement, are among the special features that enable this model to achieve its extreme slimness. One of these crowns is used to select the desired function of winding or setting the hands, and its counterpart is used to perform the selected task. The time display and the visible balance are covered by sapphire crystals, each of which is only 0.2 mm thick at its thinnest point. Thirteen Richard Millestyle screws secure the titanium cover plate. Ferrari’s famous prancing horse prominently immortalizes the brand on the front of the watch, where the logo is only slightly smaller than the time display itself. Considering the price of $1,888,000, the number of editions is surprising: Richard Mille plans to build 150 of these timepieces.

Air Permeable: Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross

The artist, filmmaker and fashion designer Samuel Ross, who has been a brand ambassador for Hublot since 2020, is now bringing his graphic language to watchmaking with a limited edition Big Bang Tourbillon (Ref. 428.NX.0100.RX.SRA22). He also brings his signature color scheme, his penchant for austere geometric shapes and his fondness for urban design to this model, which is 44 mm in diameter and 13.75 mm in height. The new watch features a distinctive, stylized hexagon, both in the honeycomb titanium mesh beneath the sapphire dial as well as in segments of the case and wristband. Ross chose orange for the case sides, parts of the crown, the tourbillon bridge and the rubber strap as a symbol of energy and optimism. These orange components also contrast well with the gray of the satin-finished titanium elements. The lightweight, openworked titanium parts combine with the supple rubber strap to ensure a comfortable feel on the wrist. In-house Caliber HUB6035 ticks inside the case, where a microrotor automatically winds the mainspring to offer a 3-day power reserve. Only 50 pieces of the Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross will be built. Each sells for $116,000.

Heroic: Kross Studio “The Batman Tourbillon”

Comics and complications are the specialties of the Swiss watch brand Kross Studio. The brand’s latest creative output is “The Batman” Tourbillon, a wristwatch inspired by the famous Bat-Signal used by the Gotham City police to summon the dark avenger for help. A central tourbillon rotates behind nine parallel protective bars, a minute ring rotates at the periphery, and the pointed “ears” of Batman’s mask serve as the hour hand. The image pictured shows how the dial looks at 10 o’clock. The 45-mm case is made of black DLC-coated titanium and has a domed sapphire crystal, which is why the overall height is a massive 20 mm. The watch is affixed to a leather strap, but there are two other rubber straps included, one with black stitching and a second with red stitching. Hand-wound in-house Caliber KS 7’001 will continue to run for five days after it has been fully wound by manually turning a D-shaped lever that folds out of the back. The time is set by pressing a large button on the side of the case and then turning the D-shaped lever in either direction. Ten aspiring superheroes who pay $100,000 for this watch can venture on to the night-wrapped streets of Gotham City wearing this model — or they can use the signal lamp, which is included with the watch, to summon the real Batman.

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