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Luxury & Brands
April 03, 2018

Marvellous Mechanisms: Timepieces To Watch Out For

Text by Zaral Shah. Interviews by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena

Watches today do more than just tell us what hour of the day it is…We spotlight tickers that boast impressive features and functionality

Girard-Perregaux

With an all-black dial, the Constant Escapement L.M.’s 46-mm-diameter casing boasts a lengthy week-long linear power reserve. A classy design with only the seconds hand being centrally fitted, the look — available in pink or white gold — is rounded off by a hand-sewn black alligator leather strap, whereas the carbon-titanium composite version bears a rubber effect strap.

A. Lange & Söhne

The fifth sensation in the Pour le Mérite series, the Tourbograph Perpetual Pour le Mérite is a fine example of classic watchmaking. Its stunning platinum case encapsulates five complications — the perpetual calendar, chronograph, rattrapante function, fusée-and-chain transmission and tourbillon. The dial sports blued steel hands that tell time and rhodium-plated gold hands for the calendar. This timekeeper comes in a limited-edition collection
of 50 watches, and the cherry on the top is the cloverleaf arrangement of the subsidiary dials — a tribute to the brand’s famous pocket watches.

Officine Panerai

A dedication to Galileo Galilei, this timepiece will leave every aficionado wonderstruck. A quintessential melange of innovation and excellent watchmaking, if the intricate skeletonised movement on the face of the L’Astronomo – Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT doesn’t make you go weak in the knees, its stunning moonphase indicator definitely will. What’s special? Each watch movement is made according to the coordinates of a place chosen by the owner to ensure that the moonphases always relates to the sky above that place — and this makes the watch a perfect ode to the legendary astronomer.

Zenith

A transparent sapphire dial with two blue- and grey-tinted counters show the phases of the sun and moon on twin discs at 6 o’clock, on the face of the new Chronomaster El Primero Grande Date Full Open. Water-resistant up to a 100 metres, the El Primero-movement-integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph is available in a stainless steel or two-tone casing and beats at 5 Hertz — and allows for 1/10th-second precision.

De Grisogono

The crown, placed aesthetically and strategically at 12 o’clock on the polished pink-gold case of the New Retro Tourbillon No1, is one of the many things that make this limited-edition timepiece a keeper. Equipped with a hand-wound tourbillon movement and set with Dauphine hands, the watch comes with an open-worked barrel with volute patterns and a black rhodium-plated bridge decorated in gold.

Vacheron Constantin

Fifteen gorgeous artfully arranged complications adorn the slate-coloured opaline dial of the Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600. The timekeeper, set with 18-carat gold-applied hour markers and gold hands, houses an impressive array of 23 horological complications — including the precision moonphase, age of the moon, running equation of time, seasons, solstices, equinoxes and zodiacal signs, tide level indicator, sun-earth-moon conjunction, opposition and quadrature, transparent sky chart of the northern hemisphere with indication of the Milky Way, of the ecliptic and celestial equator, hours and minutes of sidereal time, and power reserve indicator!

Jaeger-LeCoultre

Replicating the sky chart of the northern hemisphere, the dial of the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication exhibits constellations including those of the zodiac. Circling the edge is a sun, which performs a full turn of the dial in exactly 24 hours. Additionally equipped with a mechanism sounding the hours, quarters and minutes on demand, this timepiece elegantly delivers a plethora of complex information.

Cartier

Powered by a Manufacture self-winding mechanical movement, this one bears a beaded platinum crown set with a blue sapphire cabochon. With a brass sunray-brushed dial and blued-steel apple-shaped, baton-shaped or hammer-shaped hands, the Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication skeleton watch melds attractive aesthetics with superior technology.

Her world of time
Jasmine Audemars, president, Audemars Piguet, on blending the past with the future

On being a woman in the world of watchmaking: “My gender was never really a problem. And it is no longer a men’s world; it’s changing very fast. Many women are now holding important positions in
watch groups. You just have to be a little patient — soon it will be more and more of a women’s business.”

On blending the old with the new: “Audemars Piguet has a long history and tradition in watchmaking. Tradition, for us, is inspiration but at the same time it lets us innovate and create new traditions. Personally, I am most excited about innovation.”

On being an independent watchmaking house: “Our knowhow goes from one generation to another. We’re all very passionate, very committed to the brand and committed to the region where
the company is based — we want to develop the know-how of high-end watchmaking in this region.”

On their association with the arts: “It is interesting and working with artists is inspiring. They have a special way of looking at the world. Our association is a two-way street. They come to Audemars Piguet to create works of art inspired by who we are, but at the same time they look at things with a new angle.”

On the brand’s long-term view: “We aim towards making exclusive watches which are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside — with a high level of quality.”

The magic of movements
Ramzi Naël, brand director, A. Lange & Söhne India, Middle-East & Africa, on tradition and innovation

On the one stand-out piece from the House’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève 2018 collection: “The Triple Split is undeniably our hero. This invention allows for the first time to exploit the full potential of the split-seconds chronograph. It features ajumping 30-minute rattrapante counter and — for the first time ever — a 12-hour rattrapante counter. This makes the application range of the rattrapante much more diverse and interesting.”

On staying true to the House’s identity while encouraging new developments: “We strongly believe that in order to be innovative we have to respect our DNA. Our tradition obliges us to innovate and discover uncharted territory, and that’s the fun of it. This attitude is perhaps best summed up in the words of the late Walter Lange who demanded of his employees and himself to never stand still.”

On the importance of aesthetics versus functionality: “At Lange, you cannot have one without the other. That is why the movement designers work hand-in-hand with the product designer’s right from the beginning. In the end, there must be beauty in the movement as well as on the dial and the case. On the other hand, the functionality of the movement should be reflected in the clarity of the design.”

On the watch culture in India: “The Indian market has been playing an important role for us ever since we opened our first point of sale in 2007. It is characterised by a rapidly developing watch culture and offers great potential for A. Lange & Söhne. We are constantly planning to further develop our presence to cater to our customers the best we can.”

On what an Indian watch aficionado looks for in an A. Lange & Söhne timepiece: “Our customers, collectors and watch enthusiasts in India are part of a global community that has a deep appreciation for the craftmanship, tradition, exclusivity and style of our watches.”

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