The latest Wilbur watch is out of this world.
While the Wilbur LEO is round and rests on the wrist like a traditional watch, its sculptural, multi-part titanium case does not enclose traditional hour, minute and seconds hands. The LEO instead displays the time in an unusual manner on a dial that looks like a satellite tumbling its way around Earth’s orbit.
At the center of this 48.5mm by 46mm titanium puzzle the LEO displays the hour prominently – and digitally.
The hour digit that appears in the LEO’s central aperture is actually a mash-up of two otherwise indecipherable symbols that meet once per hour.
One clear sapphire disks and another brushed-black sapphire disk rotate twice a day on either side of the hour display. When they meet, those ‘alien’ symbols form the correct hour digit at the dial’s center.
To display minutes and seconds, the LEO returns to earth, displaying each at the end of fixed bridges that double as hands.
Wilbur’s other-worldly method of creating the hour digit is put into practice by Swiss movement engineering company Concepto, and is a global premiere.
Jason Wilbur, company founder and chief designer, explains that the LEO took him seven years to finalize. The idea originated from learning about the Roswell, NM, ‘alien’ stories.
“I wanted to create something that sprang from learning in my youth about the Roswell incident with all its alien stuff,” he recalls.
For the LEO, Wilbur created a type of coded language to feed the unusual jump hour display.
“No one on Earth who saw those pieces would know what the Roswell symbols mean. So I created my own code. On the watch the hours come together with coded symbols,” he adds.
Wilbur will make fifty examples of the LEO in its initial JW 1.1 version, but he plans to eventually build three-hundred LEO watches in a variety of hues and with customized finishes and materials.
The LEO complements WILBUR’s existing lineup, which also includes the EXP watch and the Launch Edition, both of which are square-cased modular watches built with an artful mix of steel, ceramic and silicon components.
“We’ll make those in about 5,000 units per year,” he explains. “Two models are on the website now and two more are coming.” He notes that these modular designs offer him the creative leeway to create some ‘crazy’ Wilbur watches.
The Wilbur LEO JW1.1 is priced starting at $32,500.
Specifications: The Wilbur LEO JW1
Case: 48.50mm X 46.00mm X 16.50mm 8-part modular titanium (materials can vary by edition), sapphire crystals w/ anti-reflective coating, 30 meters of water resistance, hand finished , exhibition back.
Movement/Dial: In-house Engine One automatic jump-hour, made in Switzerland by Concepto,, hours displayed on proprietary sapphire & aluminum jump-hour disks shown under central window, minutes on hubless ring disc (fixed pointer on bridge) and seconds on small disc (fixed pointer on bridge). JW1 movement chassis,JW 1 rotor
Strap: Black silicone with Cordura option.
Base price: $32,500.