Style Watches

An amphibian on your wrist, and 3 other wonders of modern watchmaking

Four masterpieces of modern horology dissected
Rheea Hermoso-Prudente | Nov 24 2018

MB&F HM°3 Frog

What word other than playful can capture the essence of the HN°3 Frog? Looking like a croaky amphibian peeking over your wrist, this watch is an exuberant celebration of horological artistry and micro engineering. You and the frog can see eye-to-eye on time, really. One of its sapphire-domed eyes tells the hours, while the other tells the minutes. A teardrop-shaped “H” and “M” on top of each aluminum dome tell you which is which, in case you missed the 0-60 scale on the minutes and the 1-12 scale on the hours. The pointy ends of the teardrop also act as the minute and hour hands. The interesting part is that the hands don’t turn; rather, the aluminum domes do. The date display ring runs along the top half of the watch, and an arrow on the case points out the correct date.

The Moonmachine used the 1 HM3 Frog as a base; created by Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva, it has his moon-face moon-phase indicator, the first new complication added to a Horological Machine.

It takes skill and creativity to come up with a movement that powers the elements in this unusual configuration. Jean-Marc Wiederrecht of watch house Agenhor designed the three-dimensional engine, which uses a Girard-Perregaux oscillator and gear, and has a 22-carat, rose gold, battle axe-shaped, mystery automatic winding rotor. The case is a toss-up between Grade 5 titanium with the 22-carat gold rotor in blue, or black titanium with a green 22-carat gold rotor (limited to 12 pieces only). Sapphire crystal covers the dome and the caseback, and everything is held onto your wrist by a black, hand-stitched alligator strap with 18-carat white gold and titanium custom-designed deployment buckle.


Urwerk UR-202S Full Metal Jacket

The Full Metal Jacket—named because it’s the first from Urwerk to have a metal bracelet—features Urwerk’s patented Revolving Satellite Complication. Think Space Odyssey whenever you want to tell time, and you’ll appreciate the spinning, turning hands even more. The minutes are lined up along the bottom edge of the asymmetrical case in three vectors: 0-14, 15-44, and 45-60.

Urwerk’s popular “Hammerhead” model is reborn, with a new metal body and bracelet. The bracelet, created by highend manufacturer Maspoli, gives the watch a solid, substantial feel.

The hour markers are blocks revolving on the satellite, through which the telescopic minute hands pass. The hands retract and extend, hitting the edge of the minute indication just so. Above the minutes are a moon phase indicator and a day/night indicator. And the detail that the watch house is so proud of: the metal bracelet, each of the 22 links painstakingly made in-house in collaboration with top-of-the-line bracelet manufacturer, Maspoli. The automatic caliber UR-7.02, with its unusual twin turbines (which is meant to act as a shock absorber as well), can be seen through the caseback. The watch is available in red gold, white gold, steel, and AlTiN (titanium aluminum nitride).


Cartier ID Two  Concept Watch

Energy efficiency is the name of the game for this watch. It claims to use 50 percent less energy and store 30 percent more. It uses glass microfiber instead of metal for the twin duo-level barrels’ mainsprings (a first in horology), giving it the 30 percent energy gain. Next, it maximizes the energy transmitted from the barrels to the oscillator with a differential gear train made of ultra-light components with no need of lubrication, thereby minimizing energy-wasting friction.

The Cartier ID Two Concept Watch is the only luxury watch whose case is sealed by vacuum, and not by screws. The case is made of Ceramyst, which is a polycrystalline ceramic.

The escapement is made of carbon crystal, which adds about 15 percent transmission gain. Finally, the watch minimizes the oscillator’s energy consumption by 37 percent by cutting down air friction by vacuum-sealing the case. About 99.8 percent of the air is pumped out, and the caseback goes on without screws, held in by air pressure. The ID2 is so efficient that it has a power reserve of 32 days. The case itself isn’t made of metal, but of a transparent polycrystalline ceramic material Cartier calls Ceramyst.

Sadly, for the enthusiasts dying to get the ID2 on their wrist, this concept watch is a one-off. An exercise in what Cartier can do in terms of horological innovations. One can only hope—or expect—that the technology will make it to other watch models that will be made for consumers.


2LMX Luxury Watch

Obviously breaking free of the classic tradition he had to be surrounded by as the head of the Geneva Patek Philippe Museum, Arnaud Tellier has launched his own watch brand 2LMX and its very first eponymous watch model. The manually wound movement is vertically constructed, with six drums that tell the time in 24-hour format. It has a lever escapement with a one-minute tourbillon regulator and compensation balance. It has a 120-hour power reserve.

Each 2LMX watch is evaluated against the company’s Charter of Quality, which has more stringent criteria than those used in the Swiss watch industry.

While the case and the sapphire crystals may remind you of Snow White’s glass coffin, any sense of morbidity will fade once you see the gorgeous movement running inside. 2LMX will only produce five watches a year (each one takes over 1,000 hours to put together), and this debut model will be available in titanium, platinum, and pink gold.


This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 7 2012.