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At the top end of G-Shock’s already premium MR-G series, the new G-Shock  MRGB2000BS3A is a limited-edition ode to a samurai commander spirit known as Hana-Basara. Working from this theme, G-Shock combines a series of ultra-strong materials with hand-worked techniques to create the new titanium-cased MR-G watch.

The new G-Shock  MRGB2000BS3A.

For example, G-Shock uses a titanium alloy called Cobarion to make the bezel on the new watch. The material, which G-Shock says is four-times harder than pure titanium, also features a facet-cutting technique as applied by polishing artisan Kazuhito Komatsu. He polishes the facets with varying angles, leaving a bright finish. His work frames curved indices meant to echo the curvature of a Japanese sword.

Likewise, G-Shock has forged the watch’s titanium case from DAT55G titanium, which is said to be three times harder than pure titanium. On the side of the case you’ll find a brown arc-ion-plated ring set with a commemorative plate engraved with “25th LIMITED” to mark the 25th anniversary of the MR-G line.

Brown arc ion plating is applied to the case along with this commemorative plate.

Samurai colors

The coloring across the watch’s dial and bezel also pay homage to the Hana-Basara. For example, G-Shock echoes the traditional Japanese hue kurogane-iro, or iron color, on the watch’s titanium band and screw-lock case back, paired with a newly developed, dark green DLC finish. G-Shock says that the color resembles the ironclad helmet and armor worn by Basara samurai commanders.

As expected with all MR-G models, G-Shock equips the new MRGB2000BS3A limited edition with its own Tough Solar Power, Super LED Light, Multiband 6 technology and Bluetooth connectivity (via the MR-G Connected app). This connection enables automatic time adjustment, world time displays and many other premium functions.

The new G-Shock MRGB2000BS3A (offered as a limited edition of 400 watches) is priced at $8,000.

 

Ulysse Nardin updates its already extensive dive watch collection with three dive models that add rose gold to existing favorites. Two of the updates include a new rose gold bezel atop a steel or a titanium case.  A third debut includes diamonds set in a rose gold bezel atop a 39mm rose gold case.

Diver 42mm Grey and Rose Gold

The new Ulysse Nardin Diver 42mm Grey and Rose Gold.

This latest 42mm steel-cased PVD-satin-finished ‘shark grey’ dive model boasts a 42mm case with nicely contrasting rose gold and gray rubberized, unidirectional rotating, concave bezel.  

Beneath the clearly domed sapphire crystal Ulysse Nardin offers a dial with a contemporary sandblasted finish. Ulysse Nardin has engraved its logo on the solid grey PVD back.

Inside you’ll find a Sellita-based automatic UN-816 movement (outfitted with a silicon escapement wheel and anchor) protected down to 300 meters under water. Finally, Ulysse Nardin secures the watch’s gray alligator strap with a stainless steel grey PVD buckle. Price: $10,400.

The new Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm.

Diver Chronometer 44mm

With a larger (44mm) case, the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm, with a classic ocean blue dial and blue PVD-coated titanium case, offers a more feature-filled option for nautical adventurers.

Its rose gold unidirectional bezel is appropriately easy to read with gold markers and luminous 0 at the top to mark dive time. The dial, itself well lit with SuperLuminova ands and markers, displays a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock and a substantial small seconds hand in a subdial at 6 o’clock.

Inside, Ulysse Nardin fits its own Caliber UN-118, which boasts a Diamonsil (a diamond-silicon alloy) escapement wheel and anchor and a silicon balance spring, much of which is visible through a see-through sapphire caseback.

And despite the clear back, Ulysse Nardin assures us that the Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm, like the full Diver Chronometer 44mm collection, is built to withstand up to 300 meters of water pressure. Price: $13,300.

The Ulysse Nardin Caliber UN-118 Manufacture movement.

Lady Diver Rose Gold

Set with forty diamonds, this glittering 39mm watch may be a fashion-forward mother-of-pearl dial watch, but inside it’s all business.

The Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver Rose Gold, on an alligator strap.

Within the full rose gold case Ulysse Nardin fits its automatic UN-816 movement, the same one powering the Diver 42mm Grey and Rose Gold described above. That sharp-looking dial glows with eleven diamonds; the white alligator strap is held in place by a rose gold buckle. If you’re sporty, opt for the model with the white rubber strap.  Price: $25,800.

The Ulysse Nardin Lady Diver Rose Gold, here on a rubber strap.

If diving with the eye-catching Reservoir Limited-Edition Hydrosphere Bronze on your wrist isn’t enough of an inducement to buying the technically unique dive watch, perhaps you’ll be enticed by an invitation to dive wearing it alongside renowned diver and photographer Greg Lecoeur.

The Reservoir Hydrosphere Greg Lecoeur Limited Edition.

The new inducement means each buyer of the Hydrosphere Greg Lecoeur Limited Edition will be offered a half-day of diving with Lecoeur in the Port-Cros national park in Hyères, France, during a session in September (not including insurance, accommodation and transportation).

Lecoeur is also a supporter of coral protection, and funds from the sale of each special edition Hydrosphere Bronze will be donated to the replanting of a coral through the Coral Gardeners Association.

Reservoir and Lecoeur have teamed to design and produce the fifty-piece limited edition of the bronze-cased watch. Lecoeur chose a blue sunray dial for the limited edition, and each watch will be delivered with a package of photographs from one of his exploration notebooks, all placed into in a handy waterproof carrying case.

The new fifty-piece limited edition series also features a Greg Lecoeur engraving on the back and his name on the dial.  

Reservoir’s Hydrosphere stands alone as the only single-hand functional dive watch we’ve seen. And while we’ve seen bronze encase more than a few nautically themed watches in recent years, the Hydrosphere’s unusual retrograde minute display and jumping hour module set it apart from traditional dive models while still upholding a diver’s need for highly legible dive timing, unidirectional bezel, helium valve and strong water resistance (here rated to 250 meters).  Price: $4,850.

 

Specifications: Reservoir Hydrosphere Greg Lecoeur Edition (limited edition of fifty pieces)

Case: 45mm bronze with satin finish, unidirectional ceramic rotating bezel with double scale for reading the time at different diving depths before and after the retrograde minute hand’s return, helium valve, stainless steel screwed back, screw-down crown, water resistant to 250 meters.

Dial: Blue with sundial finish, white index, magnifier on the jumping-hour window.
Movement: Automatic with patented proprietary 124-piece module on ETA 2824-2 caliber, with retrograde minutes, jumping hour, power reserve of 37 hours, power reserve indicator.

Strap: Black rubber screwed onto the body, additional blue NATO strap provided, mounted on bronze stirrups.

Price: $4,850.

    

By Steve Huyton

My first experience of Meccaniche Veloci occurred several years ago when I visited a high-end boutique at Singapore Airport. I vividly remember seeing many of the brand’s QuattroValvole models and being mesmerized by the bold aesthetic. These distinctive watches have four different time zones and are unlike anything else on the market.

The Mecchaniche Veloci Icon Nerofumo, cased in brushed titanium with four carbon fiber dials.

At that stage, the company was owned by the Italian jewelry group Cielo Venezia, which had previously bought the brand from Marco Colombo. He was the visionary who originally designed the concept for the QuattroValvole, a particular four-time-zone model that was inspired by the four-phase engine pistons of Ferrari racing cars.

The Meccaniche Veloci Quattrovalvole with Tourbillon and carbon fiber dial.

The potential

Even though Meccaniche Veloci showed enormous potential, it was never realized under the control of Cielo Venezia. For example, the brand was oblivious that high-profile celebrities like Cristiano Ronaldo who actually purchased their watches. In a world dominated by brand ambassadors, this type of oversight seems inconceivable.

Fortunately, Swiss entrepreneur Cesare Cerrito could see huge potential in Mecchaniche Veloci and subsequently bought the brand in 2015. At this point, he also shifted the operation from Milan to Geneva to utilize the latest Swiss watchmaking technology. Now the headquarters (called MV House) is located in a trendy warehouse located in Plan-Les-Ouates.

Meccaniche Veloci CEO Cesare Cerrito

I discovered Meccaniche Veloci’s boutique during the 2015 Baselworld and was intrigued to view their new releases. Previously, I had contacted the brand numerous times without much success. That is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover Cesare Cerrito had acquired the brand. He was very charming and was keen to show me some exclusive pieces. My favorite was the collaboration they had done with Italian helmet manufacturer Suomy.

When Cerrito first purchased Meccaniche Veloci, the most expensive models in the range were capped at around $5,000. The only real exception was the phenomenal QuattroValvole CCM (Carbon Ceramic), which was die cut from a Brembo brake disc. This is still one of my personal favorite watches.

The Icon Stardust.

Issues & In-House

Even though the concept of having a watch with four independent movements was very cool, it also came with issues. In my experience, some of the mechanisms lagged and then there was the inconvenience of servicing four Swiss ETA 2671 movements.

The caseback view of the Icon Rosso.

Fortunately, Cerrito had ambitious plans for the brand, and this involved creating a new proprietary single movement to replace the individual calibers.

After three fastidious years of extensive research and development, the company finally unveiled its first in-house caliber, an automatic model called the MV8802 that powers each separate display.

The dial side of Caliber MV 8802, exposing four separate displays.
The MV8802 movement from back. It features 4 independent time zones, instantaneous date, stop-seconds and date.

The Caliber MV8802 marked a new chapter for the brand. Even though Cerrito hasn’t got any formal design qualifications, he makes up for it with passion and enthusiasm. Under his guidance, Meccaniche Veloci has adopted a completely different marketing strategy.

The Icon Damascus, a 49mm titanium model with a Damascus steel bezel and four displays.

The timepieces are now far more exclusive and crafted entirely in Switzerland in small batches. Now there are predominantly two collections: the Icon and QuattroValvole. The Icon models feature four separate dials with four separate anti-reflective sapphire crystals. The QuattroValvole models feature a single dial with one large anti-reflective sapphire crystal.

Highlights include models like the Damascus, NiteLite Japan Edition, MoneyMaker, Mud and Nardi Edition. There are also a couple of extravagant tourbillon models with solid 18-karat pink gold cases.

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

iW recently spoke with Ferruccio Lamborghini, the son of Tonino Lamborghini, who founded  Lamborghini’s industrial design company in 1981. As the third generation leading a Lamborghini business, Ferruccio not only inherited his famous name from his father and grandfather, he also enjoys his family’s passion for motorcycles and high speed. His years of racing led to several championship titles in Italian motorcycle racing.

Tonino Lamborghini, president of his eponymous company, with his son Ferruccio Lamborghini, CEO and VP.

In our wide-ranging discussion, we learned more about brand’s latest lineup of Tonino Lamborghini Swiss Watches, especially the Spyder, Spyderleggero Chrono and Cuscinetto (Italian for ball bearing) collections. These collections are at the core of the brand’s timepiece offerings, and Ferruccio has redesigned them for 2021. The shield of the brand’s logo with its Miura raging bull, inspired the Spyder, which debuted in 2007. Lamborghini debuted its first Cuscinetto collections in 1983.

In our interview with Ferruccio Lamborghini, since 2018 the CEO of the Tonino Lamborghini luxury lifestyle and design powerhouse, he tells us more about how he views the company’s generational change, and details the importance of the watches within the future of the Lamborghini enterprise.

The Tonini Lamborghini Cuscinetto R automatic watch with orange accents.

iW: Can you describe what it is like to take over the family brand at such a young age? The challenges, the experience, and any surprises that you discovered along the way?

Ferruccio Lamborghini: I am proud of it and of the generational change process my father and I experience together every day. The challenges have been changing through the years and they are mostly linked to the different dynamics related to our wide products portfolio: each product and sector deserve a special attention and a dedicated strategy.

In the last five years I have worked hard to understand all the company’s processes to set the actual vision and define a strong re-organization of the business strategies.

As a lifestyle brand, Tonino Lamborghini offers a variety of products. How do you determine when it makes sense to apply the TL ethos and bring a new product on-board?

Our family’s DNA is characterized by great curiosity and resourcefulness, which has always stimulated our creativity and made Tonino Lamborghini a consistent lifestyle brand. Through the decades the company and customers’ needs have changed, therefore in the nowadays scenario we have a new approach towards the developments of new products: they have to perfectly fit in a coherent and consistent Tonino Lamborghini ecosystem.

We have branded accessories, furnishing and interior products, real estate and hospitality projects, food and beverages. It is a comprehensive Tonino Lamborghini lifestyle that you can wear, live, experience and drink.

The Tonino Lamborghini Spyderleggero Chrono Automatic.

How important are the wristwatches among the stable of Tonino Lamborghini products?

Watches are our core product. They represent the best combination of our family mechanical heritage with the lifestyle approach my father had since the foundation of his company. Today it is the same, considering that the recent strategy related to our new line of Swiss watches is the one for which I have recently invested most of my energy.

Ferruccio has redesigned the Cuscinetto case in titanium with Torx screws and four different color variations, mounted a new movement, and inserted a branded deployant buckle.

Do you intend to expand the watch lines in the near future?

Yes, of course I do. Next autumn I will announce new models, which will increase the Tonino Lamborghini Swiss Watches collection selection for both quartz and automatic movements. I also would like to highlight that, among the new models, a lady’s watch is coming.

 

What are the key elements and/or identifiers customers can expect in a Tonino Lamborghini timepiece?

Our customers choose our accessories to be out of the ordinary because they look for something new to experience and love and to feel part of the Tonino Lamborghini lifestyle, an approach that we always follow when we develop our ideas and new products.

The Spyderleggero Skeleton automatic watch with red accents.

 

When breaking into new markets around the world, what strategies do you employ to promote your brand to the industrial members as well as the end consumers aware of your watches?

In such a competitive business field where the major brands have a years-long established presence, the key is to share a clear vision and the core values of the brand/products.

From an industry point of view, we still believe in the importance of the exhibitions, physical or digital, and I personally love to meet the press and explain my watches or strategies. Besides, regarding the distributors, we directly support our partners, and we always are open to define jointly the strategy in accordance with each market demand/request and its related customers behaviors.

From a consumers’ point of view, we are still investing in the press both nationally and internationally, but we are every year more digitally oriented. In the digital world it is easier to target a specific prospect and make him feel part of an exclusive club of people that share the same attitude and lifestyle.

Do you co-brand with any other companies? 

It happened in the past and it is still happening nowadays for some niche accessories, like a co-branded line of massagers in collaboration with the Chinese company Breo Technology or the recent capsule with the Italian Venini for high-end art glasses and chandeliers. Soon something new will be announced.

 

What is your own opinion on the dynamic between traditional third-party retailers (brick and mortar and e shops) versus the direct-to-consumer sales from your own site or those of your distributors? Do you have any type of hybrid strategy to maximize the potential for both platforms?

It is common sense now to affirm that the post pandemic outcome in sales will force every brand to reinforce their direct-to-consumer strategies and presence.

Nevertheless, consumer habits are very different globally and brick and mortar business will probably maintain a central role in showcasing the products especially for those active in the luxury field where purchase is driven not only by clicks and discounts, but mainly by one-to-one sales pitch and consistent evaluation from the consumer.

The Spyderleggero Chrono is an automatic watch with day and date complications. It is the top model of the Tonino Lamborghini Swiss Watches collection.

Our strategy includes both aspects. While we are building up a direct-to-consumer presence with the direct activation of flagship stores in the major marketplaces, we are now also finalizing the opening of mono-brand and corner stores thanks to local distributors and retailers.

By maintaining a direct control over D2C we also avoid prices conflicts locally with such third parties like retailers and we can moreover control the brand marketing investments strategies. This way we maximize both channels and we directly and carefully develop the brand identity.

De Bethune bills its new DB25 GMT Starry Varius as the smaller (42mm) alternative to the 45mm DB25 World Traveller, which debuted in 2016. For the most part, that’s true, though you won’t find a series of city names positioned around the dial on this new dual-time model to quickly display global times.

The new De Bethune DB25 GMT Starry Varius.

The new watch, however, adds a GMT function to the displays, which smartly retains the original model’s multi-level, concentric spheres and its unusual miniature gold and blued-steel orb, dubbed the ‘microsphere.’

In its smaller guise (42mm by 11.8mm), the new watch also retains other characteristics De Bethune builds into its entire DB25 Starry Varius collection. These include a polished grade-5 titanium case, a starry sky accompanied by its Milky Way and De Bethune’s characteristic integrated, open-worked lugs.

Reading the dial

With the date visible in the central disc visa a jumping hand, the two time zones can be discerned with a check of the blued central hands (local time) and the mysteriously circling dual-metal orb (second ‘home’ time). You’ll even know whether it’s daytime or nighttime at home thanks to the orb’s two halves: one blue (evening) and the other pink gold (daytime). For added realistic affect, the slow-rotating microsphere very gradually reveals both sunrise and sunset.

De Bethune’s microsphere is an unusual miniature gold and blued-steel orb that displays both a second time zone and daytime and nighttime.

To add an even more poetic display to the dial, De Bethune places a polished pink gold sun in the dial’s center, just across from the beautifully blued and polished titanium miniature night sky dotted with white gold ‘star’ pins.

De Bethune powers its new DB25 GMT Starry Varius with its hand-wound Caliber DB2507, the independent watchmaker’s twenty-ninth movement.

De Bethune powers its new GMT Starry Varius with its hand-wound Caliber DB2507, the independent watchmaker’s twenty-ninth movement.

Visible through the watch’s sapphire caseback, the movement operates by drawing on an extensive list of advanced features, all of which again underscore De Bethune’s well-earned reputation for technical mastery.

Just a partial list of these features includes: A titanium balance with white gold inlays, a balance spring with a De Bethune flat terminal curve, an escape-wheel made of silicon and a regulator held in place by a triple pare-chute system which combines a titanium bridge held in place by a leaf-spring system. The movement’s two barrels, which are partially visible from the caseback, boast an impressive five-day power reserve. Price: $110,000.

Through a new in-store digital application, Bulgari watch customers can now design their own Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia, a 44mm manual-wind watch with a tourbillon and eye-catching stone-set bridges and mainplate.

One of three base models of Bulgari’s Octo Roma Naturalia, showing malachite version in a rose gold case.

The Bulgari app, called Maestria, allows the budding watch designer/owner to choose from three decorative natural stones: onyx, lapis lazuli and malachite. Any of these three stones can be placed onto the Octo Roma Naturalia’s skeletonized bridges/markers and on the mainplate within a rose gold, titanium or platinum case.   

This version of the customizable Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia shows a black titanium case with onyx.

 

Available since April at Bulgari boutiques, and planned for the brand’s high-jewelry events in the future, the Maestria process starts when a Bulgari salesperson logs on and leads the customer through a series of steps that offer the customer a choice of stone, case material, case setting (including diamonds) and any engraving on the back.

Bulgari explains that once the design is chosen, its watchmakers will select the customer’s favored stone, which will then be hand cut and polished. When this step is complete, watchmakers will then insert thin slices of the same stone onto the skeletonized components as both markers and as the watch’s mainplate.

An additional slice of the chosen stone will also be inserted into the movement itself. All watches will be set with the Bulgari manual-wind caliber BVL206 with flying tourbillon.

In all, Maestria will offer the customer thirty customizable variations of the Octo Roma Naturalia. Base prices: $89,000 (onyx in titanium), $129,000 (malachite in rose gold) and $243,000 (lapis lazuli in platinum with diamonds).

The customizable Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia, with lapis lazuli and diamonds set within a platinum and gold case.

Zenith’s newest Revival, the Chronomaster Revival Safari, reinterprets the historical Zenith A384 chronograph from 1969, but instead of the original’s 37mm steel case we now have a micro-blasted 37mm titanium case.

The new Zenith Chronomaster Revival Safari

The watch’s deep matte green dial with contrasting black registers and tachymeter scale is new, while the beige SuperLumiNova on the applied baton markers and hands is distinctly vintage.

The rubber strap takes on the same khaki-green tone as the dial, and is fixed to a matte micro-blasted titanium pin buckle. Price: $9,000.

Specifications: Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Safari”

(Reference: 97.T384.400.57.C856, a boutiques & e-commerce edition.)

Movement: El Primero 400 automatic chronograph with column-wheel, frequency of 36,000 Vph (5 Hz), a power reserve of 50 hours. Functions: Hours and minutes in the center, small seconds at nine o’clock. Chronograph: central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at six o’clock, 30-minute counter at three o’clock. Date indication at 4:30.

Case: 37mm micro-blasted titanium, 50 meters of water resistance

Dial: Khaki green with black counters, tachometer scale, hour-markers and hands are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with beige SuperLumiNova.

Bracelet: Khaki green “cordura effect” strap and white stitching. Micro blasted titanium pin buckle.

Price: $9,000.

 

 

 

By Gary Girdvainis

Early diving watches were purpose-built instruments designed to tackle the rigors of our underwater environments. In the earliest examples the focus really was on function. The ability to withstand the static and dynamic pressures of submersion was joined by the need to register time under water at a glance as well as being able to tell that the watch was in-fact running.

These basic needs drove the form-follows-function groundwork for all diver types now homologated under the ISO 6425 standard.

During the early days of hard hat and SCUBA diving, these designs first came to life as underwater tools that have now (d)evolved to become themselves an iconic look that both SCUBA and desk divers alike have come to appreciate.

The new Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver.

In the case of the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver series you can be assured that the sensual interaction with the watch confirms it is in-fact a well-built timepiece comfortable in or out of the water. And while some brands take the basic type into stranger waters with extraneous bells, whistles, and shocking palettes of color, the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark watch is, like the Lemon Shark itself, a subtler example of evolution.

The Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark won’t jump off your wrist and demand to be seen like the “porthole” watches from the early days of our universe any more than a Lemon Shark will jump fifteen feet out of the water to grab a seal like its bigger cousin, the Great White.  

The details

Playing with a luxury watch like the Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark is always a multi-faceted experience. The click of a unidirectional rotating bezel excites both aural and physical feedback and can quickly indicate the nature of the watch under it. Connoisseurs look for a smooth action paired with a subtle “snicking” of 120 (or 60) clicks with little to no backlash – as opposed to the sandy crunch of lesser watches that have rotating bezels that sound and feel like you’re working a peppermill over your Caesar salad.

Details like the easy-grip concave bezel (protecting the crystal), machined crown (easy to manipulate), and recycled netting strap (clean conscience) don’t necessarily leap out at you by themselves, but they combine to form a complete wristwatch that is well built, tough as nails, and easy on the eyes.

Even the touches of yellow are not overdone. Ulysse Nardin could have easily decided to place an all-yellow dial with black accents on the Lemon Shark – and few would argue that is not a great look, but that bold look has been done time and again. Credit to the brand for taking a more sober and refined approach to this 42mm black DLC beauty.

Under the recessed and slightly domed sapphire crystal is a matte-finish dial, wide stick-type hands, and applied markers with touches of “lemon” yellow and superior lume on the hands and markers.

Rated to 300 meters without using the superfluous helium release valve, the Lemon Shark is powered by the automatic winding mechanical caliber UN 816. The 816 will hum away at 28,800 bph for 42 hours when fully wound and benefits from Ulysse Nardin’s long history using silicium components in the escapement for both accuracy and longevity. Limited to 300 pieces, each Lemon Shark Diver features three sharks on the oil-pressed case back and retails for $7,300.

The back of the watch offers a Lemon Shark engraving.

Beyond the watches, Ulysse Nardin has partnered with Chris Fischer and the Ocearch research team as well as the Florida International University to sponsor research and conservation of lemon sharks as well as other marine species and also supports the Aquarius underwater research habitat for humans located 63 feet under water off of Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

Champion freediver and photographer Fred Buyle, with his Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver.

Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Lemon Shark Diver

(Reference: 8163-175LE/92-LEMONSHARK, 300-piece limited edition)

Movement: Automatic calibre UN-816, powering hours, minutes, seconds and date. Power reserve of 42 hours. 

Case: 
42mm steel, black DLC, inverted concave unidirectional rotating bezel, back with 
Lemon shark engraving, 300-meters water resistance..

Dial: Sand-blasted black with yellow accents.

Strap: Black R-STRAP, scratch closing, metal component in titanium is 100% recycled from the ocean from fishing nets
, collected in France.

Price: $7,300.

 

 

A small watchmaking venture started as an experiment continues to design watches that offer simple solutions and unorthodox displays for complex timekeeping functions.   

By James Henderson

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of one of the longest running experiments in the watch business. Back in 2006, Ludwig Oechslin (of Ulysse Nardin fame and until 2014 curator of the Musée International d’Horlogerie (MIH) in La Chaux-de-Fonds) and his fellow Ochs und Junior co-founders asked the watch world a contrary question – if you could buy a watch with complications that were distilled down to their most basic level, would you?

Dr. Ludwig Oechslin

Then they took it a few steps further. What if the case was not polished, but somewhat, well, basic?

In other words, what if you could buy a watch conceived by one of the most famous watch creators of recent times, one that possessed marvelous complications that apart from the dial of the watch, remained hidden away beneath a solid caseback?

In a world where watches are meant to be highly polished and eerily similar in look and feel, what if you went a different way?

The famed 39mm Ochs und Junior Annual-Calendar. Check out this video of Ludwig Oechslin explaining the date spiral for his perpetual calendar, which is also relevant for his moon phase watch.

Fast-forward to 2021. While the experiment continues, it appears to be a resounding success with Ludwig Oechslin and Ochs und Junior continuing to swim against the mainstream. Here’s a short, three-part history of the idiosyncratic watchmaker.

The Foundation

 This period involves Ludwig Oechslin, Beat Weinmann and Kurt König (the owner of Embassy, the Lucerne-based jewelry store that Beat Weinmann was working for at the time). Ochs und Junior produced a very small number of esoteric watches. These were known to a small group of collectors.

The Ochs und Junior Two-Timezones Date with rose gold PVD.

The Growth Period

This was when Ulysse Nardin was brought in as a partner and Ochs und Junior set up shop in a studio space, a little bit off the beaten path in Lucerne.

The Ochs Period

In 2019, after a lot of thought and consultation within the family, Kornelia Imesch and Ludwig Oechslin bought all the shares of Ochs und Junior. But it is important to note that this was only done once it was clear that some of the “Junior Ochs” would join the company.  And to that end, it has been agreed that two of the younger Oechslins will be joining the team, which is now based in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Inside the Ochs und Junior Annual Calendar.

Ochs und Junior today is a family company, led by Dr. Ludwig Oechslin. The rest of the band includes Christian Gafner, who is head of brand and design, Violaine Baudouin, the marketing chief, and Louise Krank (a junior), communication designer. The company’s watchmakers are Jost Schlatter and Masaki Kanazawa, who is a Master Watchmaker for Ludwig Oechslin’s special projects.

Ludwig Oechslin’s ideas will continue to set the tone moving forward, which is really what has made Ochs und Junior what it is today. As the company evolves, it continues to grow through experimentation. Below are some of Ochs und Junior’s most recent designs.

All three Ochs und Junior Calendario Cent’anni models.

The Calendario Cent’anni

This 100-year calendar, designed by Ludwig Oechslin, features a dial with indication of hours, minutes and seconds in addition to correct date, month, leap or non-leap year. The 40mm watch is titanium and is powered by a Ulysse Nardin UN-320 automatic movement. The Arabic character or indices with hour/minute hands are coated with SuperLuminova.

The Calendario Cent’anni (CCAII), a 100-year calendar.

Here’s how it shows the time and date:

  • The dates (28, 29, 30 or 31 days of any month) are visible for 100 years, without needing correction for the length of any month (including February in leap years), and are displayed via a traveling, rectangular dot on the date spiral.
  • The month and leap years are on a central rotating disk. The leap year and the three following years are displayed on a decentralized disc, rotating together with the position of the month-display. Finally, the central hour and minutes with the seconds rotating are seen on a small disk at 6 o’clock.

    The Calendario Cent’anni (CCAI), or 100-year calendar.

Prices begin at CHF 15,230 (approximately $16,600).

The Settimana Limited

This watch is designed to help savor a favorite day of the week, allowing the wearer to set six “standard” days and one “extra special” one. It colorfully indicates hours, minutes and seconds, and all seven weekdays by clockwise rotating dot between 1 o’clock and 7 o’clock.

The trio of Settimana models. They colorfully indicate hours, minutes and seconds, and all seven weekdays by clockwise rotating dot between 1 o’clock and 7 o’clock.

The titanium-cased Settimama measures 36mm in diameter and is powered by a Sellita SW 200-1 automatic movement. The watch is available in three limited color versions of 11 pieces each. Prices start at CHF 3,046, or approximately $3,300.

The new Moonphase Trilogy. All are 39mm and cased in titanium

Ochs und Junior moonphase

This special edition of the Ochs und Junior Moon Phase is available for pre-order in three 39mm variations, and can be purchased as a trio or individually.

The 39mm moonphase Emerald Green model features a lacquered dial with black galvanized moon disk and golden markers and hands. It also features a jade-stone as the sun at the 12 o’clock position.

Option one features a black galvanized dial and red lacquer-coated moon disk with red markers and hands with a case of black PVD-coated titanium. Another option has a red lacquer-coated dial with black galvanized moon disk, black markers and hands in a titanium case. Option number three has an emerald-green lacquer-coated dial with black galvanized moon disk, and gold colored markers and hands. This emerald green watch will feature a jade sun at the 12 o’clock position. The straps are made from red or black textile with a titanium buckle. Prices: CHF 7,400, or approximately $8,100.

The Ochs und Junio Moonphase with black galvanic dial.

And there are more interesting developments to come, but suffice it to say after fifteen years Ochs und Junior is here to stay.