The Musée international d’horlogerie (MIH) announces a new version for the Gaïa watch introduced in 2019. Here is the new MIH Gaïa watch II – with a black sunburst dial.
Press Release information with commentary in italics
The MIH was founded in 1974, and is currently the world’s largest watch museum, with some 10,000 artifacts. The museum aims to present the history of time measurement from the beginnings to the present day. The museum not only exhibits horological artifacts, it also documents and researches its subject and restores antique pieces.
The first series was released in 2019, and was a limited edition of 200 pieces. Released initially as a subscription series, had a price of CHF 2,400 rising to CHF 2.900 after the subscription completed. All 200 pieces are currently sold out, and hence the need to raise further funds with a new series. The new Series II is now pitched at the same CHF 2,900 price point, and is not a limited edition. Though funds from the first 75 pieces sold will be used for the restoration of the Tellurium by François Ducommun, a vintage complicated clock in the museum’s collection. We think this is an interesting and worthy project to support the restoration of a masterpiece to its former glory.
The watch remains the same as the Series I, but with a different dial colour – from blue to the new Black for this edition. As with the Series 1, the case on the Gaïa II is in 316L stainless steel, 39mm diameter (9.74mm thick), with a water resistance of 30m. The movement remains the Sellita SW400-1 self winding movement with a special oscillating weight engraved “Musée international d’horlogerie”.
Time display is via two rotating discs, one for the hour is shown through an arc shaped window at the top of the dial, and the minutes are indicated through an opening in a rotating domed disc in the center of the dial– a reference to the Gaïa trophy. Both versions will come in a buckle with tool-free removal system, engraved with “MIH” and featuring the museum’s geographical coordinates (47°06’03” N / 06°49’48” E).
New: MIH Gaïa II
Following the success of the MIH Gaïa watch, put up for subscription in 2019 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Gaïa Prize in a limited edition of 200 pieces, which is now sold out, the MIH is unveiling, on the occasion of the Gaïa 2021 ceremony on Thursday 16 September, the MIH Gaïa II watch, with a black sunburst dial. This new version was also entirely designed within the MIH and produced with the help of local craftsmen and companies. It pursues the same objectives as its predecessor, namely the restoration and study of major pieces in the MIH collection. After the completion of the restoration of the Grand Magicien des Maillardet, the marketing of the first 75 pieces of this MIH Gaïa II will enable the MIH watchmakers to tackle the Tellurium by François Ducommun.
The selling price of this watch made in La Chaux-de-Fonds is set at CHF 2,900.-.
On 19 September 2019, during the presentation of the 25th Gaïa Prize, the MIH launched the MIH Gaïa watch, a synthesis of the spirit of the place that saw its birth. Original in its shape and design, it is inspired by the architecture of the museum, combining a tangle of curves and straight lines. Its domed dial recalls the spherical shape of the Gaïa Prize trophy. In an attempt to break with the tradition of analogue display without affecting the simplicity of reading, the hours and minutes are not indicated by hands but by two discs. Finally, the back of the watch hides a secret: the winding oscillating weight on which the name of the museum is engraved.
Encouraged by this success, the MIH is continuing the experiment by creating a non-limited series in deep black, the first 75 pieces of which will enable the restoration of François Ducommun’s Tellurium. Built at the beginning of the 19th century, this rare piece, emblematic of the museum and of the watchmaking know-how of La Chaux-de-Fonds, has an astronomical mechanism consisting of the Earth and the Moon revolving around the Sun. The cylindrical gilt bronze cabinet is decorated with garlands of roses, leaves and ribbons. An oval medallion, painted on enamel, representing an allegory of Astronomy appears under the white enamel dial with Roman numerals. The case is surmounted by the planetarium and a silver circle with the following astronomical indications: date, month, leap year, age and phases of the moon. The signs of the zodiac are represented in medallions painted on enamel. The clock movement has a recoiling anchor escapement and an hour and quarter chime.
This first version with a blue dial, produced in a limited series of 200 pieces, received extraordinary support from the specialised press and collectors who elevated it to the rank of a watchmaking icon. This Series II – Noire remains fundamentally the same in technical and design terms, but its display is now a deep black with a subtle sunburst dial.
The MIH Gaïa II watch is produced thanks to the close collaboration of craftsmen and companies in La Chaux-de-Fonds, all experts in their field and recognised worldwide for the quality of their work. The Atelier XJC imagined the design; Sellita breathed life into it with its movement; Singer fashioned its dial; Stila offered it a made-to-measure case; Brasport dressed it in a leather strap; Cornu & Cie made the buckle; and the Laboratoire Dubois contributed to its reliability by applying a series of tests. In partnership with the MIH and the craftsmen of its antique watch restoration workshop, each of these experts redoubled their efforts to create a resolutely unique aesthetic and performance watch.
Although not limited, only 75 examples of this series II will be sold at the MIH boutique and on the www.montremih.ch website, to allow for the restoration of the Tellurium. Delivery is scheduled between November 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.