Last week, we had the opportunity to visit what will certainly be the only major watch fair of the year in Europe, the Geneva Watch Days, gathering 17 brands representing the whole spectre of the industry. As the excitement generated by this event settles down, we take a look at four watches presented by independent watchmakers. Marked by bold creativity and beautiful mechanics, the independent watchmaking scene remains full of surprises.
Czapek Antarctique Abyss Edition
Czapek’s first luxury sports watch, the Antarctique, was successfully introduced under subscription during the confinement period this spring. The model is powered by the Calibre SXH5, a beautiful in-house automatic movement with micro-rotor. If the original series were subscribed within a few days, Czapek presented, on the occasion of the Geneva Watch Days, the Abyss limited edition featuring a bold blue, hand-lacquered dial inspired by the depth of the ocean.
Quick facts: 40.5mm steel case – hand-lacquered dial – automatic calibre SXH5 with micro-rotor – steel bracelet with folding buckle – CHF 19,000 – limited edition of 10 watches – www.czapek.com
De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels Saphir Tourbillon
This year, De Bethune celebrates the 10th anniversary of its signature watch, the DB28. Following the introduction of the beautiful DB28XP series, the independent watchmaker unveiled the DB28 Steel Wheels Saphir Tourbillon. Like the previous DB28 Steel Wheels, the idea is to reveal as much as possible of the movement’s technicality and decoration adding sapphire transparency and complexity in the form of a tourbillon. The 43mm titanium case retains its specific architecture with a round central container onto which the articulated lugs are attached. Positioned at 6 o’clock in full glory the tourbillon is an eye-catching fast beater, as we’re talking about a 30-second rotation and a 36,000 vibrations/hour (or 5Hz) frequency.
Quick facts: 43mm polished titanium case – open-worked delta bridge in blue sapphire – hand-wound calibre DB2019V5 – hours, minutes and 30-second tourbillon – 5-day power reserve – alligator leather strap with pin buckle – CHF 195,000 – limited edition of 10 watches – www.debethune.ch
Louis Moinet Space Revolution
Louis Moinet loves to create visually striking complication. Bold and mechanically fascinating, the new Space Revolution features twin planetary flying tourbillons rotating under a large sapphire dome. Two spaceships are used as counterpoints to the flying regulating organs. One spacecraft completes a clockwise rotation every five minutes, whilst a second vessel turns in the opposite direction, completing a counter-clockwise revolution every ten minutes. The hand-wound Calibre LM104 driving these spatial revolutions comprises no fewer than 470 parts, including 6 ceramic ball bearings and a differential to average out the rate of the two regulators. A selector on the back of the watch allows operating the crown either in winding or time-setting mode.
Quick facts: 43.5mm pink gold case – Vantablack dial – hand-wound calibre LM104, flying satellite double-tourbillon – alligator leather strap on folding buckle – CHF 360,000 – limited edition of 8 watches – www.louismoinet.com
Urwerk UR-210 Final Edition
The Geneva Watch Days also gave us the opportunity to go hands-on with one of the most iconic watches of Urwerk, the super-cool indie watchmaker, the UR-210 Final Edition. The satellite time display features wandering hours and three-dimensional retrograde minutes. In addition, a winding efficiency indicator (stop/reduced/full) shows the winding efficiency over the last two hours. This final edition is released in a limited run of 7 watches only and comes in steel and titanium with a matte black DLC coating. It is worn on a black alligator strap with a pin buckle matching the case.
Quick facts: 53.6mm x43.8mm steel and titanium with DLC coating case – Calibre UR-7.10, in-house time display module – automatic with winding efficiency system and turbine regulation automatic device – black alligator on pin buckle – CHF 137,000 – limited edition of 7 watches – www.urwerk.com