Fabergé’s Visionnaire DTZ: A Surprising Way To Display A Second Time Zone
Fabergé’s rebirth at Baselworld 2015 was quite a surprise for some. While it was hardly noticeable from the outside, Fabergé had undergone quite a transformation on the inside: the luxury brand rooted in Peter Carl Fabergé’s legacy merged with colored gemstone company Gemfields in 2013.
Gemfields is a specialist in the mining, processing, and sale of precious gems, in particular rubies and emeralds, responsible for 20 percent of the world’s supply of the latter. (And, most importantly, it is important to Gemfields to ensure ethical, sustainable, and traceable routing from mine to market.)
But if you had arrived at the Fabergé fair booth expecting to find only items made for female clients, you would have been very wrong. One of the main launches was the Visionnaire I, and it was engineered by Giulio Papi of Renaud & Papi.
Naturally there were also delicacies among the offerings for women, including the one that stole the show: the Lady Compliquée Peacock, which went on to win the award for Ladies’ High-Mech at the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (see Fabergé Inaugurates Rebirth With Exceptional Lady Compliquée).
The mechanics of this absolutely delightful timepiece were created by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and his team at Agenhor, who has graced the watch industry with his imaginative style of complicated mechanics for a great number of brands over more than 30 years. Both for men and for women.Fabergé Visionnaire DTZ in red gold
At Baselworld 2016, we are introduced to the next important men’s model with a freshly developed, highly imaginative movement: the Visionnaire DTZ (the latter stands for “double time zone”).
While Visionnaire I’s flying tourbillon movement was created by Renaud & Papi, the second Visionnaire timepiece was conceived and manufactured by Agenhor – and, as per usual with the company headed up by Wiederrecht, there are not only incredible mechanics involved, but mechanics that turn a complex horological concept into an intuitive and pragmatic reality while never forgetting the playful nature that modern luxury adores.
The Visionnaire DTZ is a GMT watch conceived to display two time zones using a multi-layered dial. But it does that so neatly and concisely that you hardly notice that there are two time zones showing on the watch when you look at it.
The local time zone is displayed using conventional hands that peek out from behind a decorated dome at the center of the dial. The second time zone is shown as a 24-hour jump hour in a window placed at the centre of this dome.
But how was this achieved without making the watch too high to wear comfortably? Agenhor has a patent on a movement concept based on a shape that resembles a wide ring. This allows the development of complication modules to fit in the empty center of the movement. Which means that any module Fabergé decides to use here does not increase the height of the movement, in this case a special second time zone.
Caliber AGH 6924
The team developing the new watch knew that the disk with the second time zone numerals would be relatively small and that some type of magnification would have to be called for.
Therefore, specialists in optics at the local university were consulted, and one surprising (to the watchmakers) fact emerged: the greater the distance between the subject and the magnifying lens, the greater the magnification effect can be.
So Agenhor placed the GMT disk as low as possible, eventually planting it not on, but under, the back of the movement, and the magnifying lens as high above the movement as possible.
And benefiting the wearer as much as possible, the second time zone boasts a 24-hour indication to eliminate guesswork as to whether the displayed time is AM or PM. The second time zone is really only very visible when it is looked at straight on, otherwise the domed center seems a lot like decoration. But once you see it, the numeral jumps right out.
Fabergé Caliber AGH 6924 features the following special elements: a central, instantaneous, jumping second time zone displayed by disk located under the movement; a magnifying lens located high above the movement; and mysterious automatic winding visible on the dial side.
The rotor is not immediately visible, either, and photos do not do it justice. So let’s describe it: the hour numerals are hand-painted onto a sapphire crystal disk. Underneath that disk, if you look closely, you will recognize the decorated rotor that oscillates when the wrist moves.
If you are wearing this watch, you – and anyone who see it – will be captivated by the motion of it.
Turning the watch over to view the movement through the sapphire crystal case back is a treat as the view is not blocked by a rotor: Agenhor Caliber AGH 6924 comes into full view with its robust bridges in traditional pocket watch style.
But there is one beautiful, playful element that you will struggle to see as it is buried deep within the movement: there is a fairly complex component within that activates the hour jump and links to a few different mechanisms, including a snail cam. As the snail cam rotates every 60 minutes, it slowly charges a spring lever that powers the instantaneous GMT jump.
Even though this critical component is largely hidden by the second time zone disk, Agenhor designed it in the shape of a peacock, a meaningful and symbolic animal for the Fabergé brand as it has very frequently appeared in Fabergé’s work over the century or so that is has been in existence.
Poetically, the peacock appears to be eating wheat from the snail cam – or at least pecking at it – as it operates.
But, unfortunately, the wearer will not have a chance to see it all in action. It’s like a secret insider “Easter egg” from the watchmakers.
While this watch is bold and definitely contemporary, it features enough artistic elements to let you know where it came from. A whimsical yet masculine design perfectly executed.
For a more in-depth look at this unique movement, please see First Look: The Surprising Movement Of The Fabergé Visionnaire DTZ(Dual Time Zone).
And for more about Fabergé, please visit www.faberge.com.
Case: 43 mm, titanium and pink gold or white gold and black DLC-treated titanium
Movement: Agenhor Caliber AGH 6924 with rotor on front and 50 hours’ worth of power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes; second time zone (24-hour jump hour)
Also published on Medium.