Montres DeWitt, the eponymous “micro-manufacture” founded by aristocrat, entrepreneur and Napoleon Bonaparte descendant Jérôme de Witt, announced at SIHH that it will be going back to basics after several years of line expansion and experimentation. “Basics” for DeWitt means the type of innovative, high-complication, mostly male-focused timepieces that defined its early years — and the highlight piece unveiled in Geneva, the Academia Hour Planet, certainly fits that bill.
The watch’s signature element is the eye-catching, textured three-dimensional globe at 6 o’clock that displays the time in a second time zone while the local time is indicated in a subdial above it, with sword-shaped, rhodium-plated hands, at 12 o’clock. Crafted by hand and made up of no less than 192 components, The globe is bordered by a tiny chain — crafted by hand and made up of no less than 192 components, a hallmark of past DeWitt watches on the high end of the haute horlogerie scale — which rotates the globe with the passing of the hours so that the sector indicated by the red pointer moves in sync with the red GMT hand in the subdial, and also displays whether it is daytime or nighttime in that part of the globe. Other noteworthy elements of the highly embossed, partially openworked dial include the two-row seconds subdial (1-30 and 30-60 semicircular scales) at 10 o’clock and the visible balance regulator at 9 o’clock, suspended and held in place by an elevated bridge.
The round, 46-mm case is made of blackened titanium and features the DeWitt Imperial Columns motif — another longtime aesthetic calling card of DeWitt timepieces that has been emphasized and de-emphasized over the years — on the sides and along the bezel. The crown is in polished black titanium, with a blackened insert emblazoned with a DeWitt “W” logo. The screwed exhibition caseback reveals the movement, the manual-winding Caliber DW2005S, under its sapphire pane. Made up of 428 total components, including 29 jewels, the movement oscillates at 21,600 vph and stores a power reserve of 55 hours when fully wound. The DeWitt Academia Hour Planet is mounted on a black alligator strap with a folding buckle made of blackened steel. It will be priced, in this black titanium-cased iteration, at $80,000, while another version in a gold case will retail for $120,000.