Located in the town of Renaison, a five-hour drive south of Paris, Horlogerie V Remontet is named after its founder, Valentin Remontet. A young watchmaker who who spent three years at TAG Heuer and then Breguet before striking out on his own, Mr Remontet started his brand with conventional, round watches powered by ETA movements.
He has since moved on to watches that are inventive and modern in style and construction. Mr Remontet’s latest is the Time Capsule, a avant-garde watch that has an unorthodox regulator-style display along with unconventional hourstriker.
With the fashion of the day in niche independent watchmaking being classical watchmaking with a heavy Breguet numerals or a “sector” dial, Mr Remontet’s watch is decidedly bold – and also impressive.
Its aesthetic is highly technical, and matched by genuinely creative mechanics. The movement is clearly an original construction, even if it does use some components from common calibres.
The style is certainly not for everyone – I find it a bit too extreme – but the fresh, bold nature of the Time Capsule is impressive. And the €17,000 price, which is about US$21,000, is fair considering the work in both development and manufacture.
Preserving a memory
Mr Remontet works along, and fabricates much of the watch himself – including the gaskets for the case – with some components produced by a French micro-machining specialist in micro machining. As a result, Mr Remontet says about 90% of the watch is made in France. In fact, the only parts purchased from Swiss suppliers are the balance wheel, hairspring, barrel assembly, rubies, and Incabloc spring.
Despite the sci-fi nature of the watch, its origins are surprisingly sentimental. It is literally a time capsule – a robust container to preserve items from the past – with one of the movement bridges bearing a silver plate that is ready to be engraved with a dedication or image.
Although the starting point of the Time Capsule was simple, Mr Remontet clearly went far beyond the engraved plate. The hand-wound movement indicates hours, minutes, and seconds regulator-style, with each indication on its own register.
The retrograde minutes are shown in a fan-shaped scale, while the hours are displayed on a rotating drum located at 12 o’clock. And the constant seconds takes the form of a four-armed propeller just below the minute scale.
More unusual is the hourstriker mechanism. Instead of a conventional, resonant chime, the hourstriker relies on a bronze gong to sound a metallic tap once an hour [Mr Remontet has a short recording of the strike on his website].
According to Mr Remontet, construction of the movement connects the gong to the bridges and then the case back, allowing the vibration of the hourly strike to be felt with the watch on the wrist.
Both the bridges and main plate of the movement are steel, while the bridges have been open worked to reveal most of the moving parts within.
Time setting and winding are accomplished with the crown that sits at three o’clock on the front of the case, pointing towards the wearer.
Made of titanium, the case is sizeable, measuring 43.5 mm by 43.5 mm and standing 14 mm. The case back is slightly arched, allowing it to sit better on the wrist.
The case is a two-part construction made up of a case body and bezel. The movement is secured with screws directly to the case body, with each attachment point protected by washers that serve as dampers to absorb shock. And on the front, the bezel sits over the sapphire crystal to protect it.
The Time Capsule is made to order, with minor customisation possible. Besides the engraving on the movement plate, the client can also select the colour of the minute and seconds hands.
Key facts and price
Remontet Time Capsule
Diameter: 43.5 mm by 43.5 mm
Height: 14 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Time Capsule
Functions: Jumping hours on cylinder, retrograde minutes, a propeller seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours
Availability: Direct from Remontet
Price: €17,000 excluding taxes
For more, visit Remontet-watchmaking.com.
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