Precise & Precious: Wempe Introduces Marine Chronometers designed by Tim Heywood

The production of marine chronometers is part of Wempe’s watchmaking tradition. Since 1905, the Hamburg-based company has equipped seagoing vessels with these special timepieces, whose great precision is unaffected by rough seas and ever-changing temperatures. Wempe’s “unified chronometer,” housed in a classic case, has been manufactured (and continuously refined) for the last 80 years. In the latest edition, Wempe now brings nautical tradition and state-of-the-art yacht design together thanks to renowned British ship designer Tim Heywood, who has created two striking new marine chronometers.

Tim Heywood at the Wempe Glashütte I/SA production site in Glashütte.

The base movement of this unified chronometer — Type 05 — has proven itself for decades thanks to continuous improvement. For the current Type 06, every component was redesigned and adapted to cutting-edge manufacturing techniques implemented between 2017 and 2021. This is a major reason for the chronometer’s maximum rate variation of only 0.3 seconds per day while maintaining 56 hours of power reserve. This extraordinary precision is also due to the elaborate chain-and-fusée assembly that ensures that the energy supplied to the gear train by the mainspring as it unwinds always remains constant. The energy is transmitted via an intricate chain that slowly unwinds from a cone called the fusée

Type 07 three-bridge movement with chain-and-fusée assembly

The elaborately decorated Type 07 three-bridge movement represents the latest generation in the evolution of this legendary caliber. Here, each part of the movement was recalculated in Wempe’s workshops; for the balance wheel, for example, the engineers opted for a classic bimetallic construction, albeit with a galvanic coating. 

Now Type 07 sets sails in two chronometer models designed by famous British yacht designer Tim Heywood, who combined watchmaking heritage with modern maritime composition. 

The first timepiece, dubbed the Coco de Mer by Tim Heywood, features a bold blue dial distinguished by the style of historical chronometers. With a railroad-minute track, small seconds, Arabic numerals, and a power reserve indicator the dial is covered by a borosilicate glass cut from a solid block. Two openings at 4 and 8 o’clock respectively provide glimpses into the movement.

Radiating out from the center are twelve meridians, which continue on the wide, curved glass found on the back. The gimbal of the gold-plated brass case looks much like an abstract sculpture when the timepiece is wound with the movement facing upward.

Pricing for the Coco de Mer by Tim Heywood is marked at $57,460.

The Wempe Marine Chronometer Cube by Tim Heywood is presented in a dark brown case, which can be opened using its three folding doors. The solid corpus is created by laser sintering at Metrica, another specialist in individualized yacht fittings. The case includes a gold-plated time zone map in the lid as well as sixteen coats of varnishing and hand polishing to give the “Cube” a deep glow and make it seaworthy. 

Its triple-doored case is inspired by the shape of a coconut. The top of its lid is coated with bronze while the inside boasts gold leaf. Sixteen layers of varnish are manually applied to the body.

The Wempe Marine Chronometer Coco de Mer by Tim Heywood is a limited edition of 50 pieces with pricing marked at $91,825.

To learn more, visit Wempe, here.

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