Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari
Within minutes of the wraps being pulled off the scene-stealing LaFerrari at the Geneva show in March, official Prancing Horse watchmaker Hublot announced that it would soon be unveiling a suitably radical and expensive wrist watch to go with it.
Enter the Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari, a £225,000 timepiece that looks almost as far-out as the car it complements. A titanium framework surrounds a complex sapphire crystal top based on the LaFerrari silhouette, beneath which sits a 637-part, laterally positioned movement incorporating a remarkable 11 spring barrels that will enable the watch to run for 45 days without being re-wound.
The hours, minutes, seconds and power reserve are indicated by a series of revolving cylinders, while the winding crown is concealed behind a titanium and carbon insert at the top of the case. Just 50 examples will be made, making it almost 10 times rarer than the car itself.
IWC AMG Petronas
The partnership between IWC and the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team announced back in May 2012 came into effect at the beginning of this year. It was an occasion celebrated by the launch of a whole new family of IWC’s legendary Ingenieur ‘tool’ watches. The line-up comprises nine different models, starting with a dual-time watch with a titanium case at around £6,500 and rising to the range-topping Constant-Force Tourbillon seen here.
A 46mm platinum and ceramic case surrounds IWC’s hand-wound, 94800 movement, which contains a tourbillon with an integrated constant-force mechanism. Twin barrels provide the power to drive it and the ‘double-moon’ display and full-moon countdown indicator. Seen through the transparent case back, the movement is intended to resemble an engine block and is perforated to reveal moving components. All yours for £205,000.
Hermès has collaborated with Jaeger-LeCoultre and glass firm Cristalleries de Saint-Louis to create the Hermès Atmos, a table clock that, quite literally, runs on air. Jaeger-LeCoultre perfected the Atmos mechanism way back in 1928 using a hermetically sealed capsule containing a mixture of gases that expand and contract as the ambient temperature rises or falls, acting on a set of bellows to continuously wind the mechanism. A mere one-degree change in temperature provides sufficient energy to run the clock for 48 hours.
Also pictured in our slideshow is the Hermès Arceau H-Cube with a dial made from unique straw marquetry.
Harry Winston Opus XIII
There are few serious watch enthusiasts who don’t make a bee-line for the Harry Winston stand at the annual Baselworld fair in order to see the latest crazy creation in the Opus series. Since 2000, Harry Winston has worked with a different, avant garde watchmaker or designer to create an entirely new way of telling the time. This year it was the turn of Ludovic Ballouard, who came up with the idea of a watch dial that somewhat resembles the turbine fan of a jet engine. What you are actually looking at are actually 59 individual hands that count every five-minute period by pivoting and turning red, only to withdraw in unison on the hour.
The hours, meanwhile, are indicated by 11 rotating triangles and, every 12 hours, a ‘trap door’ opens to reveal the Harry Winston logo, snapping shut again after 60 minutes. The Opus XIII, which is limited to 130 examples, incorporates 242 jewel bearings, the most ever used in a watch mechanism.
Also pictured is Harry Winston’s Premier Feathers women’s watch, which features a dial decorated by feather artist Nelly Saunier. Three designs are available, each in a 36mm white gold case decorated with 66 brilliant cut diamonds.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra Thin
The revered tourbillon complication, widely attributed to Breguet, was actually first conceived by Cornishman John Arnold, who died in 1899 without bringing the idea to fruition. Out of respect, Breguet fitted his first fully operational tourbillon into an Arnold pocket chronometer in 1808 and gifted it to Arnold’s son.
The Breguet name has been inextricably linked to the tourbillon ever since, so it is no wonder that the modern-day brand works hard to refine and enhance this most beguiling of devices in which the escapement is retained in a revolving cage to counteract the effect of gravity on timekeeping accuracy.
Its latest effort, the 42mm Reference 5377 Classique in rose gold, is Breguet’s slimmest tourbillon wristwatch yet. The case is just 7mm thick and houses Breguet’s signature, engine-turned dial and open-tipped hands. The distinctive, off-centre tourbillon features a titanium carriage and balance, while the balance spring and escapement are made from lubricant-free silicon. The watch beats at 4Hz (unusually high for a tourbillon) yet boasts a 90-hour power reserve, the state of which can be monitored on the indicator at the nine o’clock position.
Bulgari Commedia dell’Arte
Among the most technically impressive pieces unveiled at Baselworld, Bulgari’s Commedia dell’Arte watches will be made in three series of just eight pieces each. Based on 16th century Italian street theatre, each of the three designs features a celebrated performer of the art form as its centrepiece — Brighella, Pulcinella or Harlequin — situated in front of a different palazzo backdrop.
When the cathedral gong minute repeater is activated the articulated figures come to life, demonstrating a remarkably sophisticated repertoire. The repeater, meanwhile, sounds the hours, quarter hours and minutes in markedly different tones that resonate through a case made from white gold mixed with a material called Magsonic, which is designed to enhance the clarity of sound. The complex, trompe l’oeil dials were created for Bulgari by Vaucher.
H Moser Perpetual 1 and Nomad
If you admire outwardly ‘simple’, round-cased, three-handed watches that combine a superlative finish with impressive attention to detail, H Moser needs to be on your radar. Based in Schaffhausen (best known as the home of IWC) Moser dates back to 1730 yet remains a relatively low-volume producer: it currently makes around 1,100 watches per year, but aims to up this to 5,000 by 2017.
One of our current favourites is the Perpetual 1, a winner of the coveted Geneva Grand Prix d’Horlogerie, which features twin winding barrels affording it a seven-day power reserve. Its cleverest trick, however, is the method of displaying the month: a small, arrow hand in the centre of the dial simply points to the hour marker corresponding to the relevant month. So when it’s at four, for example, you know it must be April.
Also pictured is Moser’s first automatic watch, the Nomad, which features a day/night indicator below the 12 o’clock position.
Click HERE to read part one of Simon de Burton’s Baselworld / SIHH wrap-up.