When can a watch be both digital and mechanical? When it indicates its hour by numerals on an instantaneously jumping disk rather than a traditional hand. Here are five watches that include this jumping hour display in their timekeeping repertoire.
Bulgari Gérald Genta 50th Anniversary Arena Bi-Retro Watch
Legendary watch designer Gérald Genta gave the world such icons as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus before establishing his own eponymous brand in 1969. Bulgari, eventual owner of the Genta brand, paid tribute to its founder, who died in 2011, with a special edition in a 41-mm platinum case. The 50th Anniversary edition has a blue lacquered dial with a jumping hour numeral in a round window at 12 o’clock, and the minutes and date on two retrograde hands, a distinctive timekeeping configuration that was a hallmark of pre-Bulgari Gérald Genta watches. The watch, which sports the vintage Gérald Genta brand logo on the dial, contains the self-winding BVL caliber. Price: $59,000.
Chronoswiss Sirius Flying Regulator Jumping Hour
Lucerne-based Chronoswiss offers a variety of novel takes on the classic regulator dial, based on the designs of vintage observatory clocks and traditionally displaying hours and seconds on subdials and minutes on a large central hand. In the Sirius Flying Regulator Jumping Hour model, the hours subdial is replaced by a digital indicator, with hour numerals in a curved aperture at 12 o’clock. The dial features a distinctive, 3D guilloché pattern designed by the brand. Inside the 40-mm case, with its prominent onion crown, is the self-winding Chronoswiss Caliber C.283 with a 42-hour power reserve. Price: $4,945.
IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”
IWC’s Pallweber revives a legendary historical pocketwatch developed by Salzburg-based watchmaker Josef Pallweber, who pioneered a digital timekeeping system with hours and minutes displayed by large numerals on rotating disks rather than by hands. The modern wristwatch version, in a 45-mm rose-gold case, has a white, lacquered dial and a blued seconds hand to complement the digital hours-and-minutes display. Inside is the manual-winding Caliber 94200, which improves upon the toothed cogs that moved the hour and minutes disks in the original pocketwatches by adding a separate wheel train, with its own barrel, that provides the impulse that advances the single-minutes disk. Price: $36,600.
MeisterSinger Salthora Meta X
Germany’s MeisterSinger, renowned for its single-hand watches, unveiled its Salthora collection in 2014, which added a jumping hour numeral in a window at 12 o’clock to the hallmark center-mounted hand indicating the minutes. The sporty Meta X model — a winner of the Red Dot Design Award — has a 43-mm stainless steel case, water-resistant to 200 meters, and a unidirectional bezel whose 60-minute scale is inscribed on a ceramic bezel inlay. The watch is powered by an automatic movement — either an ETA 2824-2 or a Sellita SW 200-1 — with an in-house module for the jumping hour. Price: 2,990 euros.
Reservoir Hydrosphere Air Gauge
Rservoir’s first divers’ watch uses the unconventional dial layout that has come to define the iconoclastic brand: a retrograde minute hand stretching over the upper two-thirds of the dial, a jump hour underneath the central axis, and a power reserve display that transitions using a satellite indication from red (empty) to blue (full). The watch has a professional-grade water resistance of 250 meters and a helium release valve for saturation diving. The 45-mm, brushed steel case has a lug-free design and a screw-down crown coated in rubber. The dial is fully coated in luminous material. The ceramic bezel features double 15-minute indicators that enable the wearer to read dive times recorded by the retrograde hand. Price: $4,300.