Harry Winston launched its inventively named Project Z series of high-luxury timepieces in 2004 as a showcase for its exclusive, in-house alloy Zalium, a lightweight, zirconium-based material with exceptional corrosion resistance. The new Project Z15 watch, released this year as a headliner within the jeweler-watchmaker’s Ocean collection, combines the Zalium case with a sophisticated movement that offers a regulator-style time display and aesthetic elements distinct to the House of Harry Winston.
Sporting the matte, gunmetal gray tone characteristic of the material, the Zalium case of the Project Z15 measures 42.2 mm in diameter and 10.7 mm high, with a satin-brushed finish that extends to the emblematic crown guard, shaped in the style of the arches of the Harry Winston store in New York City. The dial, with its separate hands and scales for hours, minutes and seconds, takes its cues from early 18th century, pendulum-driven regulator clocks that were used to monitor and adjust other timekeeping devices. Distinguishing the Project Z from other wristwatches with these so-called regulator dials are its clever and subtle call-outs to the history and the home town of the brand’s eponym.
Among these references are the prominent use of the color blue — as on the hour and minute hands, the minute track and the seconds scale, and the “HW” applique at 12 o’clock — a signature color of Harry Winston recalling its founder’s most famous acquisition, the 45.52-carat blue Hope Diamond. Others include the octagonal curve of the openworked bridges spanning the dial and connecting the subdials, which recalls Harry Winston’s penchant for emerald-cut gemstones. The bridges are also reminiscent of the skyscrapers and suspension bridges that defined New York City, birthplace of Harry Winston, in the early 20th century. The regulator-influenced time display is comprised of a black hour disk with a central grid pattern, a central skeletonized minute hand, and a retrograde seconds display at 6 o’clock, with a red hand counting to 30 on a blue, bridge-shaped scale with white type, then snapping back to zero to begin again.
Behind a sapphire crystal in the caseback, the Swiss-made Caliber HW3207 does its duty in plain view, with automatic winding, a brisk 4-Hz frequency, and a 65-hour power reserve courtesy of its specialized, white-gold, openworked rotor. Composed of 226 components, including 34 jewels, the movement is regulated with the aid of a flat silicon balance spring and includes a number of haute horlogerie finishes including a radiating côtes de Genève motif. Presented on a black rubber textile-effect strap — with a central blue stripe that echoes the dial’s details and a Zalium clasp that matches the look of the case — the Ocean Collection Project Z15 will be limited to 300 pieces globally, with prices available upon request.