Carpe Diem By Agenhor And HEAD For Only Watch 2017 Is The Very First AgenGraphe Chronograph Delivered And The Only Agenhor-Branded Watch
by Ian Skellern
Regular Quill & Pad readers may know that earlier this year − February 20, 2017 to be exact − we broke the news of a revolutionary new chronograph movement called the AgenGraphe by Agenhor, a multi award-winning movement and complication developer based in Geneva.
You might get an inkling of just how impressed I was with this movement by my article headline: The AgenGraphe By Agenhor: The Most Significant Chronograph Since . . . Since The Invention Of The Chronograph.
To date, two brands have launched chronographs based on the AgenGraphe movement: Fabergé with the Visionnaire Chronograph (see A Coaxial Vision Of Time: Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph) and a new brand called Singer Reimagined with Track 1 (see Track 1 By Singer Reimagined Is The World’s Most Advanced ‘Flat 6’ Chronograph: It Might Not Sound Like An Air-Cooled 911, But It Sure Laps Like One!).
But the very first AgenGraphe movement heralding a new generation of chronographs off the Agenhor production line is not going to either of those brands: it is being dedicated to Only Watch 2017 in a very special one-off timepiece called Carpe Diem.
Carpe Diem is also the first − and likely only − Agenhor-branded timepiece as Agenhor specializes in making complications and movements for other brands and is not a brand itself.
What’s special about the AgenGraphe automatic chronograph movement?
Since their invention more than 200 years ago by Louis Moinet (see Discovery, Firsts, And The Louis Moinet Compteur De Tierces), chronographs have become one of the most popular and prolific complications.
However, until the Agenhor AgenGraphe all previous chronographs have suffered from most of the following drawbacks:
- Small subdial counters = poor legibility.
- Multiple dials = poor legibility.
- Analogue minute indications = poor legibility.
- Horizontal clutch = stutter.
- Varying power requirements when the chronograph is operating = varying power available to the regulator, so the amplitude of the balance is rarely constant, leading to reduced precision for both the time and the elapsed time.
- Vertical clutch = more expense.
- Excessively strong forces = increased wear.
- Strong reset force = shock.
- Automatic winding = conceals mechanical beauty.
- Automatic winding = noisy.
You can read more about the drawbacks and the AgenGraphe’s solutions to these issues in The AgenGraphe By Agenhor: The Most Significant Chronograph Since . . . Since The Invention Of The Chronograph.
Background to the Carpe Diem AgenGraphe
Agenhor founder Jean-Marc Wiederrecht has long thought to do something for Only Watch, a biennial auction of exclusively unique timepieces to support research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder primarily affecting young children.
But until recently, he had never felt that Agenhor had the right watch to convey the correct message.
However, with the launch of the AgenGraphe chronograph movement earlier this year, coinciding with the Only Watch auction (OW17) on November 11, 2017, the stars aligned.
While Agenhor has an international reputation in technical horological innovation and development as a supplier to watch brands that design their own timepieces, Agenhor has no expertise in design. And a very special unique piece for Only Watch deserved a very special design, one that both looks distinctive and conveys the message of hope and collaboration that Only Watch promotes.
HEAD: Geneva School of Art and Design
So Wiederrecht went to HEAD, the Geneva School of Art and Design (Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design) and asked Valérie Ursenbacher, Chair of Watch Design at the university, if she and her students might be interested in developing something together.
A competition was launched in which 14 2017 second-year watch design students worked in pairs to design a concept, timepiece, and presentation case around the AgenGraphe movement, with a jury selecting the winner to be created for Only Watch 2017.
While there would be only one winning team, the work done by all students participating counted toward their coursework.
The Carpe Diem concept and design by the team of Bérénice Noël and Florian Wicki was selected by a jury comprising Luc Pettavino (founder Only Watch), Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (founder Agenhor), and Valérie Ursenbacher (Chair of Watch Design at HEAD and previously one-third of now-defunct watch brand HD3). Serena Trabalza (designer and teacher of the packaging course at HEAD) helped design the presentation case, which was supplied by Technew SA.
Concept of the Carpe Diem AgenGraphe
Even with recent advances in medical research, those with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy have significantly reduced life spans, so the Latin term carpe diem − “seize the day” (meaning live for the moment) − is a very appropriate message to remind everyone involved with with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to make the most of every precious minute of every day. In fact, it’s a message that should resonate with us all.
The winning design student team of Bérénice Noël and Florian Wicki imagined a transparent ball magnifying the beauty of this next-generation chronograph movement. Their concept aims to highlight what’s normally hidden, an idea inspired by the vibrant minds and personalities of children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy that are often concealed by the the genetic disorder’s debilitating effect on their bodies.
A chronograph is a particularly appropriate complication with which to seize the day as it focuses the attention on the time being measured right now.
The very first edition of the world’s best chronograph movement amplifies the message even more.
And to further highlight the fleeting nature of time and to remind us to appreciate the here and now, unlike a normal watch dial where the full 12 or 24 hours are on display, the dial of Carpe Diem is largely blanked out so only the present time is seen – like it’s saying, “Don’t think of the full day in abstract, concentrate on making the most of the very hour you are in right now.”
Five coaxial disks display the time and chronograph elapsed time on Carpe Diem by Agenhor and HEAD for Only Watch 2017[/caption]
Carpe Diem: a unique timepiece with a unique display
The Carpe Diem for Only Watch is also unique in that it is the only AgenGraphe timepiece (at time of writing) to display all indications − hours, minutes, elapsed hours, elapsed minutes, and elapsed seconds − using disks. The Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph uses hands to display all five indications (see A Coaxial Vision Of Time: Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph) and the Singer Track 1 uses disks to display hours and minutes, and hands to display the chronograph elapsed time (see Track 1 By Singer Reimagined Is The World’s Most Advanced ‘Flat 6’ Chronograph: It Might Not Sound Like An Air-Cooled 911, But It Sure Laps Like One!)
The Carpe Diem AgenGraphe has no hands at all.
Spherical desktop presentation case
While Carpe Diem tells the time and is a fully functioning high-precision chronograph, it is neither a wristwatch nor a pocket watch, but rather a desktop clock.
The Carpe Diem AgenGraphe sits inside a translucent Plexiglas sphere, which can be rotated 360 degrees in any direction. An integrated magnifying lens ensures the legibility of the display.
For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com/the-watches/agenhor-x-head.
Quick Facts Carpe Diem AgenGraphe by Agenhor and HEAD for Only Watch 2017
Case: Plexiglas, 84 mm diameter
Movement: the first delivered AgenGraphe automatic winding chronograph movement with central elapsed time displays, 60-hour power reserve (with chronograph running), “Agenhor” engraved on movement (the only timepiece so branded), finishing exceeds Geneva Seal requirements
Functions: peripheral hours and minutes, central jumping elapsed hours, jumping elapsed minutes, elapsed seconds (all displayed on disks)
Limitation: unique piece
Auction estimate: $19,000-$29,000 / €17,000-€26,000 / 18,000-28,000 Swiss francs
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WOSTEP School Watch By A Band Of Brothers For Only Watch 2017: The Only School Watch That WOSTEP Has Ever Offered To The Public (Live Photos)
The AgenGraphe By Agenhor: The Most Significant Chronograph Since . . . Since The Invention Of The Chronograph)
A Coaxial Vision Of Time: Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph
Track 1 By Singer Reimagined Is The World’s Most Advanced ‘Flat 6’ Chronograph: It Might Not Sound Like An Air-Cooled 911, But It Sure Laps Like One!
Only Watch 2015: Full List With Photos Of The Unique Piece Watches At Auction
Also published on Medium.