By Nirja Dutt
Innovative to say the least, the world of horology is known for its undeniable ability to reinvent the wheel when it comes to time. But the fact is there is so much more that runs deeper than just a tool to witness time, here’s what’s currently on my radar.
For an industry that thrives on the ‘precious’ factor of its products, the world of horology has come far and wide. From noble metals to rare planetary substances, gemstones from far off lands to limited edition alloys, today the focus has shifted to so much more than just the evaluation of the material itself but to the value it actually adds to the product.
Hirsch Vegan Straps
As a brand that embodies making every watch your own, Hirsch has been known for its iconic straps for over 50 years. Now managed by the fourth generation, Hirsch is known for their patented ‘Rembordé technique’ which ensures the durability of a watch strap for much longer than expected. As leaders of the market, innovation is still very much a part of their ethos and one of their latest inventions is the ‘Leaf Strap’.
Already a best seller, the Leaf strap is made from natural leaves and is completely animal-free. In an effort to make products that promote a sustainable future, the beauty of the strap lies in its fine texture and variety of textures and shades, all derived from the natural source. The special organic Fibre Tech core adorned with real leaves from Austrian organic vineyards is treated for extra flexibility and durability and applied to a special carrier layer. The result is the strikingly uncanny appearance of authentic, natural green leaves upon the wrist, while still being endowed with the reliable construction typical of a Hirsch strap. As the leaves used in the making of this strap are a finite byproduct of the winemaking process, these straps are a limited edition, as only a certain number can be made per year. There is even a rose petal variant, a natural leaf edition, a birch adaptation, and this is just the tip of the iceberg, the house plans to expand their range to newer novelties as well.
Roger Dubuis Lume
While lume is a function of visibility, it’s always interesting to see how brands use it to aestheticize the look of a watch. Roger Dubuis’ Excalibur has gone to the next extreme with its glow-in-the-dark tourbillon. Three world premieres in one, this watch is a futuristic take on the watch manufacturer’s signature skeleton.
Crafted in their in-house rose gold alloy, the house has bejeweled the skeletonised dial to complete its day to night look in a sweep of lume. The most fascinating part is definitely the bezel which features 60 baguette cut diamonds placed in an invisible setting and have SuperLumiNova filled amidst its grooves, the result, a jewelry light show everytime you hit a dark spot. Matched with the hour markers, skeletonised bridges, perimeter of the tourbillon, the ‘Roger Dubuis’ and ‘Swiss Made’ all illuminated, the watch has an identity of its own that is a polar opposite from its daylight twin. The house plans to patent the luminized diamonds and shall use it in future creations.
Bovet Raw Sugar Crystals
When Mr Pascal Raffy took over Bovet 1822 two decades ago, he promised to take the legacy of the house forward with utmost care and devotion. Under his aid, the label has grown back to be the niche coveted brand it once was. In addition to reigniting the bequest of the house, he has also been responsible for launching future-forward creations that appeal to a younger audience. One of which is named and inspired by his daughter Audrey Raffy (today, she is also the Vice President of Bovet) called Miss Audrey Sweet Art.
True to Ms Raffy’s personality and carefree desire for confections, the dial of the watch is made completely from raw sugar crystals. Crafting such a volatile substance is no small feat, each crystal is handpicked and then treated to ensure that light or heat will not melt them. Then they are set on the dial and hand painted by the in-house artisans resulting in a gradient of textured sparkle. The process of creating these by default makes each piece unique. The finishing touch of the Sweet Art are the hands that pivot midpoint to meet once every hour in the shape of a heart.
De Bethune Chronometry Service
While today the challenge is constantly how to make a watch truly your own, it seems like De Bethune has cracked the code on how to do just that. No, this is not based on color, straps or material, in fact it’s on movement. It is clear that most of us don’t have the same schedule, lifestyle or movement pattern so how can we expect our watches to be unified?
Presenting the Sensorial Chronometry Project by De Bethune, the new service requires the client to wear an electronic, sensor-filled test watch for two weeks to record the wearer’s environment and arm and wrist actions. The data is then compiled and analyzed at the De Bethune Chronometry Workshop in Switzerland for the owner’s specific type of wear. The house has built the robot arm inside its manufacture and using its state-of-the-art technology, the device will recreate the wearer’s movements in their specific environment. The watch is then modified to meet all the details that have been recorded over time and be attuned exactly to its wearer. This service is currently available for purchasers of the DB28GS Grand Blue.
But these are just a few of the many prototypes that are still within the confines of endless manufactures around the globe, but that’s what’s wonderful about horology isn’t it? There is still so much innovation to look forward to.