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Throwback Sunday: Six Watch Recommendations with a Sci-fi Theme, From Our Archives

Today, we are taking horology into a new dimension, and possibly out of this world.
by Robin Lim on October 29, 2017

Science have been always of interest to mankind. Even as a child, we are constantly amazed by how matters can change its state, or how chemical reactions occur with a concoction. And the interest in science fiction stem directly from an extension of of science and creativity. With this in mind, we look at recommendations for a Sci-fi theme watch.

This fascination is not strangers to the world of horology. Highly-creative manufacturers, such as MB&F or URWERK, are known to produces watches that makes one wonder if it was taken straight out from the future. They are conversational, and they do add an interesting dimension to any watch collection.

There are definitely many watches that can be considered in today’s selection. It will be very subjective – considering how difficult will be to reach a consensus for such a controversial theme. But nonetheless, we feel that this is going to quite interesting. So, what are some of the hits, in our opinion? Let’s find out!

 

Devon Works Tread 1

 

The Devon Works Tread 1. A forgotten timepiece, but an interesting one nonetheless.

 

We begin the article with an interesting but perhaps forgotten timepiece: the Devon Works Tread 1.

When the Tread 1 was first introduced in 2010, it certainly caught everyone by surprise. Never mind that it is a battery-operated timepiece; the Tread 1 was such a cool-looking timepiece that many people want to get their hands on one. The chunky timepiece was heavily inspired by industrialism and the steampunk movement, in which it is accentuated by the use of belts and steel in the design.

Driven by a series of motors and belts, the Tread 1 is a stunning sight to behold. It works similarly like a quartz watch, with the seconds belt “ticking” once every second. Additionally, whenever the belts move, it will produce a whizzing sound – which either gives a nice touch to this timepiece, or irritates the heck out of one. Mileage may differ.

Priced at US$15,000 (approximately S$20,476), the Devon Tread 1 is not inexpensive. However, this is a cool timepiece, and we highly recommend this to someone who is looking for an unusual timepiece.

 

Romain Jerome Spacecraft – Batman

 

The Romain Jerome Spacecraft – Batman, on the wrist.

 

In recent times, Romain Jerome has been known to produce interesting timepieces that play with our childhood memories. Games, such as Pacman, Pokemon, and Donkey Kong,  and most recently Hello Kitty! certainly hold a special place in our hearts.

Besides those watches, another piece that caught our eyes was the Spacecraft. Launched in 2013, the Spacecraft certainly took a leaf out of the 1970s. Featuring a futuristic design, the watch is also intriguing in its complication. The timepiece combines four different complication: lateral and linear time display, jumping hours, and retrograde indicator. The end result is rather spectacular.

More recently, the brand launched a new variant of the Spacecraft. Termed the Batman, the watch is produced in collaboration between Romain Jerome and Warner Brothers (on behalf of DC Entertainment). The main difference for this piece would be its PVD-coated titanium case, as well as the blue accents that are tastefully added at different parts of the watch. This limited-edition model is limited to 75 pieces, and it is priced at S$42,900.

 

Vianney Halter Deep Space

 

The Vianney Halter Deep Space. As its name suggests, this is something that is certainly out of this world.

 

The Deep Space, created by the legendary Vianney Halter, was the culmination of a project that had lasted for more than half a decade. Launched in 2013, the Deep Space was another masterpiece by the independent watchmaker, who had made a name for himself with both the Classic Janvier and Antiqua.

Inspired by Star Trek’s Deep Space 9, the centrepiece is certainly the triple-axis tourbillon. Looking as though it is suspended in space, the complication rotates on three different axes – each taking a different time to complete a revolution. Interesting, the triple-axis tourbillon represents the three physical dimension of space, and one dimension of time. In addition, the unusual time taken for the axes complete a revolution (40 seconds, 6 minutes, and 30 minutes) is also a deliberate attempt to disassociate the concept of time on Earth and Space.

The 46mm timepiece certainly does not come cheap. It is priced at US $199,800 (S$272,750), which is seemingly out of this world. However, this is a rather special timepiece, and we reckon that it is something that will attract many seasoned collectors with deep pockets.

 

Urwerk UR-T8

 

The Urwerk UR-T8 features a reversible case, which makes it a tad even more interesting.

 

When one thinks of URWERK, the signature revolving satellite complication is something that would surely come to mind. The unique approach to time-telling is still pretty novel to many – even though URWERK had been using this complication for quite some time now.

The UR-T8 is fitted with a mechanism that allows the watch case to be flipped on its housing. On top of that, the revolving satellite complication is by far the biggest and most elaborate carousel configuration yet applied by URWERK. For this piece, each arm supporting a satellite carousel that bears four different numerals.

Powered by the self-winding UR 8.01 movement, the UR-T8 boasts a decent power reserve of around 50 hours. One of the cool features of the movement lies in the self-winding rotor, in which it has a gilded spinning vane connected to the winding rotor that absorbs any shock without compromising its winding efficiency.

The UR-T8 is currently available at S$176,800, with an initial series of 60 watches that are finished in either natural titanium or with a black PVD coating. This is yet another superlative piece by URWERK.

 

A. Lange and Söhne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

 

The Lange Zeitwerk Decimal Strike. The digital display on this watch is probably the coolest one that we’ve ever seen.

 

It would probably be surprising to see an A. Lange and Söhne timepiece here, considering that they are famous for their well-made and refined dress watches. But on the other hand, the Glashutte-based watch manufacturer had another truly spectacular party piece up their sleeves. Cue the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike.

The Zeitwerk is probably a pretty controversial watch to begin with, especially with its unconventional way of telling time. The timepiece uses a digital time display, which was inspired by the clock at the Dresden Opera House. What makes the watch even more special is the fact that this is a Decimal Repeater, which is a rather beautiful and enchanting complication.

Staying true to tradition, the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike is extremely well-finished. This particular piece, in addition to the usual high standards of polishing and engraving, also features the tremblage work on the time bridge, hammer bridges, and the hammer itself. The tremblage is usually reserved for the Handwerkskunst models, hence its appearance here is a little surprise for many.

The Lange Zeitwerk Decimal Strike comes with a price tag of €120,000 (approximately $190,177), and it is currently only available in honey gold. The watch is also limited to a production of 100 pieces, although we reckon that a non-limited edition might hit the shelves in the future. This is a timepiece that marries both traditional watchmaking and a contemporary approach to time-telling; taking the best out of the both worlds.

 

MB&F HM6

 

A mandatory wristshot of the HM6. It actually sits really comfortably on the wrist, thanks to the pivotal lugs.

 

Finally, we round up the article with another mind-boggling timepiece from MB&F: the Horological Machine 6.

MB&F is certainly no stranger to many. Ever since Maximillian Büsser had burst into the scene of independent watchmaking with MB&F in 2005 and with Harry Winston Opus prior, they have consistently added vibrancy into the horological industry with their take on contemporary and radical timepieces. The HM6, also termed the Space Pirate, is another timepiece that had blown our minds. Featuring an organically shaped case, the HM6 was inspired by one of Maximillian’s childhood memories: Capitaine Flam.

The titanium watch uses domed sapphire crystals to display its different functions, which include the minute and hour indicator, the tourbillion, as well as the aluminium turbine that aids in amplifying the self-winding mechanism. The design, which also combines biomorphism, gives it a rather life-like impression. It is simply brilliant.

The Space Pirate, understandably, is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some might find it interesting, while others definitely think that it is strange. Nonetheless, the watch is only limited to a production of 50 pieces, each with a retail price of US$230,000 (approximately S$313,978).

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

We actually have had great fun writing this article. It is always interesting to see watch manufacturers and brands coming out with unusual pieces. This is definitely refreshing, and it certainly adds a lot of vibrancy into an otherwise traditional and conservative industry.

Based on our simple observation, most of such interesting pieces are usually produced by independent watchmakers, or brands that are not under a conglomerate. Perhaps this is because the market for such pieces are very niche, and that only a small number of collectors are willing to fork out a substantial sum of money for a timepiece like this. The industry is still very much a traditional one, and the production of such atypical timepieces might not boil down well with collectors and stakeholders alike.

So, what are your thoughts on our selection today? We think that there are some other pieces that worth a mention as well – such as the De Bethune Dream Watch 5, Azimuth Twin Turbo, or some of the other pieces in MB&F’s Horological Machine series. Let us know in the comments section below!

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