SIHH 2018: Ressence Unveils Revolutionary Electronic Setting Mechanism for Mechanical Watches

Help from the 21st century for old school mechanical movements.
Ressence Type 2 e-Crown Concept 3.1

Exhibiting at SIHH for the first time, Ressence has just unveiled the ingenious Type 2 e-Crown Concept. The minimalist watch brand founded in 2010 by Belgian industrial designer Benoit Mintiens combines new and old, with an electro-mechanical addition to a mechanical movement that’s capable of keeping time without manual adjustment.

The Type 2 e-Crown Concept uses the same automatic movement as the Type 3 and Type 5 watches, with the electronic setting mechanism being an additional module. Consequently the time is displayed in signature Ressence style: a nested set of rotating discs showing the time as well as an e-Crown function selector, all driven by planetary gears below the dial. The time display module is proprietary, while the base movement is an ETA automatic.

Ressence Type 2 e-Crown Concept 4.1

While an ordinary Ressence watch requires a lengthy setting process via the rotating case back each time the watch stops, here it just needs to be set once via the lever on the rear. Comprised of 87 components on a circuit board, the e-Crown system then remembers the time and continues running autonomously without further manual adjustments. It is controlled by simply tapping the crystal of the watch; double tapping awakens the electronic system, which then sets the hands to display the correct time regardless how much time has passed, while a single tap pilots the function selector which is displayed on the sub-disc.

Ressence Type 2 e-Crown Concept 6.1Ressence Type 2 e-Crown Concept 5.1

Best of all, the watch can operate in three different modes, each indicated by a colour band on the function selector sub-dial: full e-Crown mode where the watch paired with an e-Crown smartphone app via Bluetooth and is accurate to the second, in semi e-Crown mode where the watch is set manually and adjusted to the minute, and in mechanical mode where the watch runs the old fashioned way without any help from the electronic setting mechanism.

Ressence Type 2 e-Crown Concept 1.1

The e-Crown system is powered by solar cells as well as a “kinetic generator”. Equipped with its own barrel, the kinetic generator is essentially a rotor of sorts that encircles the base movement, generating energy for the electronic mechanism. The solar cells are hidden under 10 micro-shutters located around the selector sub-disc. These shutters are closed when light is not required and open automatically when power is low.

The watch can also display two time zones, which is set manually via the lever or the accompanying e-Crown app. The app offers a geolocation, a drop-down menu of cities, and switches to daylight savings time automatically. The cherry on the cake is the service interval function: the e-Crown system monitors the accuracy of the watch and notifies the user when the watch is due for servicing.

Pricing has yet to be announced.


 

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SIHH 2018: Romain Gauthier Introduces the Insight Micro-Rotor for Ladies

The superlative time-only watch jazzed up with mother-of-pearl and diamonds.
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While Romain Gauthier has created gem-set versions of his timepieces in the past such as the Logical One Secret Ruby, the Insight Micro-Rotor Lady that’ll be launched at SIHH 2018 next week is his most pared back and elegant timepiece geared towards the fairer sex.

Measuring the same 39.5mm across and 12.9mm high as the men’s model, the watch is mechanically identical to the Insight Micro Rotor introduced at Baselworld last year. It is equipped with a bidirectional micro-rotor winding system, double barrels coupled in series to offer a 80-hour power reserve and a free-sprung variable inertia balance wheel.

The watch is available in two iterations – a red gold case with either a Tahitian black mother-of-pearl dial or Australian extra white mother-of-pearl – in a limited edition of 10 pieces each.

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In each variant, the hour-minute subdial and small seconds are crafted from one piece of mother-of-pearl, while the main plate inlay is a thicker slice taken from another shell of the same type, which lends a subtle contrast of textures.

Romain_Gauthier_Insight_Micro-Rotor_Lady_1_red gold_black_dial diamond

The gold oscillating weight is snow set – meaning the stones are of varying sizes – with 45 brilliant-cut diamonds and is held in place by two bridges fitted with a friction-minimising ruby bearing on both the front and back for greater stability.

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It almost goes without saying that the movement is impeccably finished with hand-polished bevels and countersinks, snailing, straight-graining as well as frosting. And as with all Romain Gauthier watches, the wheels of the movement feature circular spokes and screws have S-slots, an extravagance made possible by the fact that Gauthier makes his owns wheels and screws (and also sells them to brands like Chanel).

Price and Availability

Both the Insight Micro Rotor Lady with Tahitian black mother-of-pearl dial and Australian extra white mother-of-pearl dial are limited to 10 pieces each and is priced at SFr83,000, excluding taxes.


 

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H. Moser & Cie. Pokes Fun at Swiss Watchmaking with the Swiss Icons Watch

A satirical timepiece with a serious message to the powers that be.
H.Moser & Cie. Swiss Icons Watch_3804-1200_PR_Black Background

Having created the Swiss Alp Watch, a subversive dig at the Apple Watch and then the Swiss Mad Watch embedded with Swiss cheese, intended to stir debate about the “Swiss Made” label, H. Moser & Cie. has just served up yet another wisecrack at the high-end watch industry with the Swiss Icons Watch. Now at SIHH 2018 Moser protests against the tall-talking tactics of luxury incumbents.

“Many brands, even historical ones, create and produce nothing but substitute substance with artificial hype to stay relevant,” says Edouard Meylan, Moser’s chief executive, in the announcement, “Reinforcing their efforts with prestigious events and paying ambassadors who have no links to watchmaking; these tactics are just artifice that serve as smoke and mirrors. It’s all about who has the longest history, the most famous celebrity ambassador, or influencer with the most followers.”

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H.Moser & Cie Swiss Icons Watch_3804-1200_Lifestyle_1

The “icons” of watchmaking are unmistakable in Moser’s creation. Measuring 43mm in diameter, the Swiss Icons Watch features an octagonal bezel reminiscent of the Royal Oak that nonetheless has a serrated edge and “Pepsi” insert of the Rolex GMT-Master. And in a double dose of irony, the case is taken from Hublot, which itself has been faulted for being similar to the Royal Oak, featuring two pairs of H-shaped screws on the lugs.

The horizontal guilloche on the dial is definitely from the Nautilus, here combined with a Panerai-style sandwich construction, featuring cut-out indices. Moser doubles down on the Panerai references, with a Luminor-esque semicircular crown guard. An gold, arrow-shaped bridge is definitely from Girard-Perregaux’s Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, while Breguet lends its signature pomme hands, and IWC its “Schaffhausen” logo.

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Amusing as it is, Moser itself has done some of the very things it parodies, most obviously with being a resurrected historical name with a celebrity friend in the form of musician Brian Ferry. So perhaps it is self awareness that the Swiss Icons Watch has some Moser hallmarks, which include a Funky Blue dial – that’s nonetheless a dead ringer for the graduated blue of the Nautilus – and a double hairspring made from PE5000, a paramagnetic alloy developed by Precision Engineering AG, Moser’s sister company that makes movement parts. Also recognisable as a Moser creation is the the modular one-minute flying tourbillon with a characteristic V-shaped cage.

Powering the watch is the self-winding cal. HMC 804, which offers a three-day power reserve and is wound bidirectionally by an 18k red gold rotor. A one-off creation, the Swiss Icons Watch will sold at auction later in the year, with all proceeds going to the Fondation pour la Culture Horlogère Suisse, a body (on which little additional information is currently available) that supports watchmaking education.

Update January 11, 2018: H. Moser & Cie. issued a statement from its chief executive saying the Swiss Icons Watch would be withdrawn with immediate effect, and will “no longer be presented and won’t be sold”. The watch was “unfortunately sometimes misunderstood”.


 

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SIHH 2018: Introducing the Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon Skeleton

The modernist Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges gets the open-worked treatment.
Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon With Three Bridges Skeleton 2

Girard-Perregaux radically reimagined its signature Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges in 2014 with the Neo Tourbillon, a sleeker, cleaner and more affordable take on its iconic tourbillon watch. While retaining the signature movement layout, the Neo Tourbillon instead relied on skeletonised, arched titanium bridges, effectively ushering the original design that dates from 1884 into the 21st century.

And now just days away from SIHH 2018, Girard-Perregaux has turned it up a notch with the Neo Tourbillon With Three Bridges Skeleton.

The skeleton version is essentially an open-worked variant of the original, but with a few subtle twists. Evidently, the cal. 9400-0011 inside was more of an exercise in reduction than skeletonisation as the base plate has been reduced to two titanium bridges, one each for the gear train and tourbillon, mirroring the bridges on the front. The two bridges on the back are also arched, explaining the increased thickness of the watch. Above them, a skeletonised winding wheel is positioned at 11 o’clock next to the ratchet wheel with lyre-shaped spokes.

Once again in titanium, the case measures the same 45mm in diameter but is 1.4mm thicker than the original Neo Tourbillon, standing at 15.85mm high. That’s due to the “box-type” sapphire crystal case back that accommodates the reworked movement that’s now 9.54mm, mainly due to the arched bridges on the back. The thickness of the caseband, however, remains unchanged.

As with the original, the case has no bezel so the domed crystal sits directly on the case, giving pride of place to the movement. The movement is laid out in a linear fashion, with the barrel, gear train and tourbillon arranged vertically, held in place by three PVD-treated titanium bridges.

The movement offers a 60-hour power reserve and is wound by a white gold micro-rotor, which is positioned co-axial with the barrel. Notably, the tourbillon carriage is also made of titanium, weighing just 0.25g despite being a large 14.44mm wide.

Price and Availability 

The Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon With Three Bridges Skeleton (ref. GP 09400-0011) is priced at SFr140,000 or S$204,900.


 

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