mechanical watches


Greubel Forsey plans to nearly triple the size of its manufacturing facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds with an investment of 20 million Swiss francs. Set to be completed by 2026, the expansion is aimed at strengthening the watchmaker’s research and development, heighten its watchmaking autonomy and gradually increase production capacity.

Expanding from 2,000 square meters to 5,460 square meters, Greubel Forsey intends to build a new building that will encompass the existing structure (which dates from 2009) while retaining the architectural features specific to this site. Work is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2024, marking the brand’s 20th anniversary.

The underground level of the new facility will include storage areas and an employee wellness room, while the ground floor will house production, logistics, quality control and R&D areas. The upper floors will be dedicated to assembly, hand finishing, clean rooms, laboratories, product development with research and design offices, as well as after-sales service, administration and other related areas.

The adjacent 17th-century farmhouse, a symbol of Greubel Forsey’s traditional roots, will be transformed into a VIP area, a lounge, a museum and a restoration workshop.

The Greubel Forsey GMT Balancier Convexe.

“This new facility will enable us to integrate new skill sets, create new workshops – especially in R&D Innovation – and push the boundaries of hand finishing excellence with a team dedicated solely to hand finishing R&D,” says Greubel Forsey CEO Antonio Calce. He adds that a number of workshops will be set up, including one dedicated solely to mastering the regulating organ (balance spring and balance wheel) and another to making complex cases.

Greubel Forsey’s 30˚ inclined balance wheel, seemingly suspended in mid-air, is held by a beautiful flat black polished and barrel polished steel balance wheel bridge on polished steel pillars.

Greubel Forsey reports that in 2022 it manufactured 260 timepieces, all of which were delivered to collectors and enthusiasts. Look to the watchmaker launching new timepieces and an 8th Fundamental Invention this year.

Source: Greubel Forsey 

The new exhibit “Pocket Genius: The Watch Collection of Alex Ku at the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) headquarters in New York explores the evolution of timepieces through an extensive collection of pocket watches. 

On view from June through December 2023, the exhibit features more than fifty time-only pocket watches, inventive escapements, gem-encrusted cases and highly complicated pieces. 

The exhibit, with watches on loan from California-based watch aficionado Alex Ku, highlights timepieces dating from the 1690s to the 1990s, examining the role that watches have played in society, from their use in navigation and timekeeping to their use as status symbols and works of art.

From the exhibit, a George Graham work, London, c. 1740, No. 6091, key-wind movement with brass-wheel cylinder escapement and fusee, engraved pierced dial with rotating hour disk and single stationary hand, 45mm.

Highlights include a dumb quarter-repeating jump-hour pocket watch by Abraham-Louis Breguet, a co-axial escapement by Charles Fasoldt, complicated timepieces like Louis Chanson’s skeletonized perpetual calendar with a lunar indicator, and enameled masterpieces by Patek Philippe for Tiffany & Co.

A 55mm pocket watch made by Jean -Antoine Lepine, c. 1780, 18K gold case, quarter-dumb-repeating Lépine-caliber movement with wolf tooth wheel train and a lateral lever escapement.

The exhibit is currently on display at HSNY’s Jost Bürgi Research Library, and is divided into four sections: “Historical Watchmakers,” “Escapements,” “Complications” and “Aesthetics.” In addition, the HSNY has added a ‘bonus’ display: a George Daniels co-axial escapement model, on loan from British independent watchmaker and Daniels protegee Roger W. Smith OBE.

“To carry a pocket watch crafted by a historical master watchmaker is to feel that you hold a piece of horological history in your hand,” says Ku. “For many pieces in my collection, the mission to discover their stories really began only after acquiring them. I’m proud to share pieces from my collection for all to view and learn from, as I have. 

HSNY is offering a a fully illustrated catalog for the collection that includes macro photography by Atom Moore and Collector Notes from Ku. The catalog is available for purchase in-person and online. Proceeds from the sales go towards meeting HSNY’s mission of advancing the art and science of horology. 

Pocket Genius is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free. HSNY is located at 20 West 44th Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10036.

By Steve Huyton

The Mr. Roboto from Azimuth is one of my favorite watches. Essentially this watch is the reason I fell in love with the brand in the first place.

Azimuth’s Mr. Roboto R1 Original.

Over the past twenty years, Azimuth has really established itself as a big player on the horological landscape. In particular the Azimuth avant-garde SP-1 collections have gained enormous critical acclaim. For this reason the brand has become synonymous for exceptional design and Swiss quality normally associated with more expensive watchmakers.

In fact it’s fair to say their progressive approach to watchmaking has led the pathway for many micro brands. 

Over the last few years, I’ve frequently communicated with Chris Long and got to learn what makes him tick. As a brand owner, you can essentially invent a title and Chris playfully describes himself as the Chief Product Visionary. This perpetuates his approach to watchmaking, which is mainly inspired by childhood fantasies.

The Mr. Roboto Artist Series with rat and gears.

Ultimately this was the catalyst for iconic creations like Mr. Roboto that pay homage to the Golden Robot of the 1950s. The Mark I variant was originally released in 2008 and measures 42.6mm x 49.5mm. For the price, there was nothing comparable at the time and it instantly became collectable with watch enthusiasts.

What originally impressed me about the original Mr. Roboto was the meticulous attention to detail. This watch has a sophisticated geometry and several bespoke sapphire crystal windows. The eyes display the hours (left), and GMT/second-time zone (right), with his red triangular nose featuring seconds and minutes in a retrograde format.

Certainly, in 2008 it was an ambitious project for a small independent brand. However, for Chris Long, this became a perfect springboard. 

In 2016 Azimuth took on another partner, Giuseppe Picchi, who now runs the technical side of the operation from Neuchatel in Switzerland. This allowed the brand to experiment with more sophisticated designs and build on a solid reputation.

In 2017 Azimuth unveiled the Mr. Roboto R2, which is a larger more muscular version of the original. The primary objective was to give the watch an ‘Haute Horlogerie’ aesthetic similar to MB&F and Urwerk.

Mr. Roboto R2

In my opinion, they were very successful and this is an exceptionally fine watch. However, interestingly Long revisited the original version to create several limited editions constructed from bronze. 

Notable highlights include the Mr. Roboto Bronzo Artist Series, a collection of unique 1/1 pieces. These feature hand-engraved bezels inspired by steampunk, bitcoin and motorcycle themes.

Mr. Roboto Bronzo.

For those that prefer a natural finish there was also a 100-piece limited edition Mr Roboto Bronzo that’s long sold out. 

Recently Chris Long informed me of a very special 43mm x 50mm sapphire crystal model, which will be limited to twenty pieces worldwide (to commemorate Azimuth’s 20th anniversary). Certainly, it’s the most exclusive model they’ve created to date and visually the boldest.

Mr. Roboto Sapphire.

Not surprisingly Azimuth will be entering this masterpiece for a prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award.

Personally, I feel it’s a perfect recipient for this type of accolade and maybe a natural conclusion to Mr. Roboto’s story.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews


“Die Unerreichbare” (The Unattainable) is the name of this Tetra with a silver dial and a small seconds dial in pink.

Nomos adds four new models to its square-cased Tetra collection, each with a dial that includes a shade of pink, and each with its own quirky name.

One of the four new Nomos Tetra watches. Its name, “Die Wildentschlossene,” means The Fiercely Determined.

The English names for the four models are: The Unattainable (silver dial with pink small seconds), The Fiercely Determined, (pink dial, silver small seconds), The Mad One (light purple with a milled small seconds) and The Capricious (a ‘nude’ tone with small seconds dial in silver).

This is Die Fuchsteufelswilde (The Mad One). And for the first time, the Tetra now comes on a strap made of vegan velour.

Each model in the new Tetra quartet measures 29.5 in diameter and each one arrives a vegan velvet grey velour strap that Nomos is utilizing for the first time here.

Die Kapriziöse (The Capricious) is the name of this new Tetra.

All four watches come with either a clear sapphire crystal back or a solid steel caseback (suitable for engraving). 

The same manual-wind Nomos Alpha caliber power each watch, no matter which ‘quirk’ the buyer chooses. 

Well established within Tetra, this caliber offers a level of technical features well above what you would likely find in any other manual-wind movement watch at this price range.

These features include a stop-seconds mechanism, a Glashütte three-quarter plate, a regulation system adjusted in six positions, tempered blue screws, rhodium-plated surfaces with Glashütte ribbing, a perlage-finished ratchet wheel and a crown wheel nicely finished with a Glashütte sunburst pattern.  

Prices: $2,080 (steel caseback) and $2,320 (clear caseback).  

Starting April 1, Patek Philippe will display its new Rare Handcrafts 2023 collection during a public exhibition at the Patek Philippe historic headquarters on 41 Rue du Rhône in Geneva.

On display at the exhibition is this Leopard Pocket watch with wood marquetry, hand engraving and champlevé enamel.

On display until April 15, the collection will show nearly seventy one-of-a-kind or limited-edition watches and clocks made by Patek Philippe artisans showing their wide-ranging skills and creativity. 

The annual exhibit this year will display timepieces that demonstrate skill in Grand Feu cloisonné enameling, miniature painting on enamel, grisaille or flinqué or paillonné or champlevé enameling, manual engraving, micro-marquetry, manual guilloching and gemsetting. 

Patek Philippe’s Rare Handcrafts 2023 collection includes sixty-seven creations in total consisting of twenty-two dome clocks and miniature dome clocks, three table clocks, twelve pocket watches and thirty wristwatches. This exhibition is the public’s only opportunity to see unique pieces and limited editions before they are delivered to private collections.

The exhibits are divided into two main areas: natural beauty and human adventure.

To make the cat, the marquetry maker cut out and assembled 363 tiny veneer parts and 50 inlays, together spanning 21 species of wood of different colors, textures and veining.

Within the nature area, you’ll see, for example, the Leopard pocket watch (reference 995/137J-001) which combines wood marquetry, manual engraving and champlevé enamel.

The dial on The Leopard, in black-tinted tulipwood, presents applied Breguet numerals and leaf-shaped hands, all in yellow gold. A faceted yellow sapphire decorates the crown.

In the second area Patek Philippe gathers timepieces that pay tribute to arts, traditions and culture, with a particular set of timepieces dedicated to motor racing.

The 1948 Nations Grand Prix Calatrava wristwatch features a dial in cloisonné and paillonné enamel enriched with miniature painting on enamel.

One of these, the 1948 Nations Grand Prix Calatrava wristwatch (reference 5189G-001) features a dial in cloisonné and paillonné enamel and miniature painting on enamel.

This limited edition of ten watches shines a spotlight on the famous Nations Grand Prix, held in Geneva from 1946 to 1950.

This complete showcase also includes a selection of historical rare handcraft timepieces on loan from the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. 

The Rare Handcrafts 2023 exhibition requires no entry fee and will be open to the public from April 1 to April 15, 2023, every day except Sundays, from 11 am to 6 pm (last entry at 5 pm), at the Patek Philippe Salons on Rue du Rhône 41 in Geneva. Visitors are requested to pre-register online.