Manufacture Royale’s ADN And The Realizations Of A Monoglot
Acide désoxyribonucléique est un mot drôle dans n’importe quelle langue.
The French language sentence above means, “deoxyribonucleic acid is a funny word in any language.” And this is true at least for people who don’t normally use the names of chemical compounds in conversation. Deoxyribonucleic acid is the long form of a more familiar term: DNA.
“DNA” is created by using each of the first letters of the main three words, which will be different in other languages. For example the French use “ADN,” while in German, Desoxyribonukleinsäure becomes DNS, and in Croatian deoksiribonukleinska kiselina provides the short form DNK.
Ruling out languages that use other alphabets and characters, the most common variant beside DNA is ADN, which comes from the romance languages based on Latin that put the word for acid in front, altering the order. French is acide désoxyribonucléique, Spanish is ácido desoxirribonucleico, and Italian is acido desossiribonucleico.
English speakers might think of the DNA abbreviation as immutable and fixed, but even in science words can change between languages, and abbreviations that are thought to define what something actually is no longer mean anything.
Of course, thanks to people speaking multiple languages and so much science being discussed in English terms, many non-native English speakers may still know what DNA is, but with my limited foreign language skills I was surprised to learn the variations of “DNA” around the world.
This is why when presented with the Manufacture Royale ADN I didn’t know at first that it was supposed to be an evolution of and return to the brand’s DNA – or in this case, ADN. I quickly figured out that was the intent as the piece was being described, but it took actually being told that ADN was the French variant of DNA to finally get the whole picture.
Oh, the struggles of being a monoglot (a person who speaks only one language).
Getting back to roots
The Manufacture Royale ADN is a return, in a way, to where the brand began: a crazy case with an interesting tourbillon movement. Unlike the Opera, this watch features no chiming mechanism, and so it is more in line with the original Androgyne, both of which were the inspiration for the new ADN. As previously mentioned, ADN is French for DNA, and this represents a statement from Manufacture Royale that the brand hasn’t forgotten where it came from.
Based on the Androgyne, the new case is a bit trimmed down with smaller lugs that are rounded instead of having tapered tips, with the cutouts for the screw heads also taking a rounded shape versus the hard chamfer of the original.
The screw heads are smaller in height and inset for a much less chunky profile, and the crown is rounded instead of squared off. The bezel is a single thinner ring instead of two, making it appear leaner and increasing the visual size of the dial opening, providing the watch with a much bigger presence. Of course, the ADN is also three millimeters bigger, so many of these changes may have been made to offset the increase in size.
Still, it is clear that the ADN is an evolution of the Androgyne and Opera without losing any of its industrial mechanical charm.
While the case is clearly of the same DNA of earlier pieces, the movement is entirely new. Granted, it takes the visual cues from what has come before, but Caliber MR09 is a dual time zone, jumping hour, tourbillon-filled piece of awesome. The 1770 Haute Voltige is also a dual time zone watch, but it lacks the flying tourbillon and my favorite complication, the jump hour.
This is something I have been waiting to see ever since the introduction of the Micromégas Revolution, which I even commented on during a visit with the brand: how awesome it would be if a jump hour mechanism was added to the regulator-style dial. Not that I inspired the brand to create this, but at least it proves that Manufacture Royale is thinking along the same lines as me, one of the reasons I continue to love the brand!
Continuing mechanical mastery
Caliber MR09 is really the new star of the show with its jumping hour and second time zone. Many of the previous pieces from Manufacture Royale have had a tourbillon (the Voltige models being the outlier), so the tourbillon is a familiar and welcome sight. After the development of the Micromégas Revolution, the MR09 feels like it truly is an evolution of the “DNA” of the brand.
The MR09 features two time zones, one at 12 o’clock for the local time and one at 4:30 for the home time. The two different time zones are set independently from the crown, allowing the minutes to display any odd time zone that is offset by 15-minute increments. The home time is a floating subdial with a simple ring for the indications and two blued steel hands. Opposite that at 7:30 is the flying tourbillon, creating a base for the local time above.
The local time is the more interesting one, as the minutes are displayed by a disk with a sword-shaped hand machined into it and the words “Manufacture Royale” counterbalancing it. The minutes are indicated on a white ring with ten-minute sectors visually created by the five-minute hash marks. The hours are indicated outside in a secondary ring, one that is covered except for the current hour.
The hour is shown in a window on a brushed disk that jumps at the top of every hour, matching where the hours are located on a normal dial, making it a very easy jump hour to read. The large local time dial is the action centerpiece (for me) of the ADN. It also hides the jump hour mechanism underneath, which is partly visible from the rear of the watch.
When you flip over the ADN, the awesomely simple-looking movement is on full display with its skeletonized circular bridges and clean construction. The view into the jump hour is my favorite part, though it’s only a peek with the actual jumper components are still concealed. The mainspring is in the center with a skeletonized barrel providing a window into the 80 hours of power reserve, also visible from the front of the watch.
The flying tourbillon is supported from the rear of the movement on a set of micro ceramic ball bearings, known for durability and smoothness of operation. Finally, the finishing is fantastic, and with the skeletonization and large dial opening everything is easily appreciated. There are variations with case material, though: in the DLC-coated stainless steel and forged carbon version of the case the rear crystal is tinted red with red details elsewhere (like the hands and underneath the hour disk for the local time) and for both forged carbon versions the movement has a dark NAC coating.
Overall the choices are rather different, but each one comes from the same place of creativity and mechanical awesomeness. There is even an offshoot of the ADN called the ADN Street Art featuring a different movement and bridges coated via a water printing technique called hydrographics, but that is something for another day. The three styles of the Manufacture Royale ADN are incredible, clearly fitting within the DNA of the brand while also being an evolution of what has come before.
If Manufacture Royale continues with movement and design evolution like its recent creations, I think it is safe to say we are in store for many great things from the brand in the future. Until then, I’ll be drooling over the full stainless steel version of the ADN and dreaming of it on my wrist!
Oh, and giving you the breakdown, of course!
- Wowza Factor * 8.4 Most of what Manufacture Royale releases has some serious wowza factor to it, and the ADN is no different. And with the addition of the jumping hour, my personal wow increases even more!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 82.4 » 808.067m/s2 The ADN has some serious staying power in your psyche, enough to make you lust for multiple nights in a row!
- M.G.R. * 68.4 The construction and layout of Caliber MR09 is awesome, and the inclusion of a jump hour is always going to get a high rating from me!
- Added-Functionitis * Mild Second time zones are a rather functional complication, but jump hours still can’t be called an added function. Still, you’ll need some regular strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream for the evolutionary swelling!
- Ouch Outline * 11.6 Double calf cramps! Long hikes in the wilderness can take a toll on the body, and if you deplete your salts, then cramping is the next hurdle to deal with. Though if I knew I would be wearing the ADN, I would keep on trudging through the woods and admiring my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * One Hour! When you have a jumping hour mechanism, it never takes longer than an hour to realize you need to put a ring on it!
- Awesome Total * 720 Multiply the number of hours power reserve (80) with caliber number (09) for a jumping awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.manufacture-royale.com/collection.
Quick Facts Manufacture Royale ADN
Case: 46 x 11.72 mm, stainless steel, DLC-coated stainless steel/forged carbon, pink gold and forged carbon
Movement: manual winding Caliber MR09 with one-minute flying tourbillon
Functions: jumping hour, minutes; second time zone with independent hours and minutes,
Price: 86,000 Swiss francs (stainless steel); 93,000 Swiss francs (DLC-coated stainless steel/forged carbon); 111,000 Swiss francs (pink gold/forged carbon)
Also published on Medium.