We all know what a Rolex looks like, and you might be familiar with complications from the likes of Breguet and Patek Philippe, but they’re not the only producers of mechanical art. We’ve looked at six brands that are seldom seen in the flesh and hence don’t enjoy great recognition. Enthusiasts might know them, as they do an A.Lange & Sohne, Richard Mille or Greubel Forsey, but these 2015 releases reveal they deserve wider acclaim. We’ll let you judge just how impressive they are.
Over the moon: The Vicenterra Luna
Vicenterra is a brand started in the Swiss Jura by the entrepreneurial Vincent Plomb who’s turned to the highly respected Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier (think Hermes and Parmigiani) for the base movement of this stunning watch.
To this, an exclusive Vicenterra module is added. The lunar indication is an encased 6.5mm globe that reveals the phases of the night star quarter by quarter, while the 7.5mm earth globe indicates the geographical zone of the sun at its zenith. A pusher at 4 o’clock adjusts the earth, one at 8 o’clock adjusts the moon, and there’s a 24 hour day/night indicator at 12 o’clock. The watch is cased in steel and measures 43.5mm by 53mm – so you won’t miss it.
Velvety dial: The MCT Sequential S110 EVO
Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps (MCT) is an independent Swiss brand based in Neuchâtel since 2007 and has a unique approach to time telling. In the limited edition S110 EVO models, a velvety dial in either black or champagne contrasts with the exposed hand-wound movement and its highly polished parts. Both versions are limited to 25 pieces.
The cushion-shaped case – a signature of the brand – is crafted from titanium grade 5 with DLC coating for the anthracite version. A sapphire insert brings light into the heart of the movement, revealing the details of the micro-mechanical finishings.
On the reverse a sapphire crystal reveals more of the hand-finished movement which has a Côte de Genève motif and bridges and plates with graceful curves. The MCT-S1.0 movement is a caliber that was designed, developed and “perfected” in-house by MCT.
World beater: the Pierre DeRoche TNT Royal Retro
Pierre DeRoche is a young brand founded by Pierre Dubois, member of the Dubois-Dupraz family of watch movement fame. What makes the TNT Royal Retro different is a GMT display adjustable to the nearest half hour not via a corrector, but instead using the crown.
To avoid loss of precision during adjustments, the GMT hours and minutes hands advance in 30-minute increments to guarantee exact half hours, without the movement stopping. A third indicator appears on the white part of the subdial if it’s daytime in the second time zone, or in the black section if it’s night-time.
The TNT Royal Retro features four gear-driven retrograde seconds hands with strip-spring returns showing the seconds in four 10-second sections. The 47.5mm steel case has a black PVD-coated titanium middle section, and is water-resistant to 100 metres. The number that will be produced is 201.
Turning to water: the HYT H1 Air Black Pixel
HYT could properly be called hydro-mechanics given they mix mechanics and liquids in the creation of their unique timepieces. That fluorescent green strip you see on the left side of the dial is a hydro hour indicator, the coloured liquid pushed along a tube by the mechanically-driven bellows (those little cylinders) you can see at the 6 o’clock position.
There’s a hand for the minutes display, a seconds disc to the left and power reserve indication to the right. Look closely and you’ll see that the smoked sapphire crystal dial features a pixillated effect. The workings are cased in a 48.8mm brushed and diamond-like-carbon treated titanium case, and the bespoke movement is hand-wound. That’s some water-baby, and it’s limited to 25 pieces.
Millions of years old: the Louis Moinet Jurassic Watch
Louis Moinet’s Mecanograph is known for prize-winning precision and now boasts a dial made from 150-million-year-old fossilised dinosaur bone. The bone in question was discovered in North America and has been authenticated by geologists and the Aathal Dinosaur Museum in Switzerland. It’s from a family of large herbivores that also includes the Diplodocus, which at up to 50 metres is one of the longest, with an estimated weight of 50 tonnes. The dials have the feel of an abstract canvas and singular skills are required to produce each one, beginning with the choice of the right bone – it needs to be sufficiently dense to be worked on. Each dial takes one week of crafting, resulting in a decorative disc with a thickness of just 0.65 mm. Just 12 pieces will be offered, in a gold case spanning 43mm.
Contemporary complication: the Moser & Cie Endeavour Tourbillon
Moser & Cie produces just 1000 watches a year and this model brings a contemporary twist to the traditional tourbillon complication with its DLC-treated polished titanium case and fumé dial. There’s also a trick up its sleeve; the hour hand hides a third hand, which is painted red and indicates a second time zone. When not in use it sits out of sight adding to the piece’s striking simplicity. The case features satin-finished and polished surfaces enhancing the play of light, and is mounted on a black alligator leather strap with a carbon-effect finish giving an overall matte look. It houses a self-winding calibre with Moser’s one-minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock, secured by skeletonised bridges and equipped with a double hairspring. Just 20 will be produced with the number engraved on the solid gold rotor.