Brivet-Naudot Eccentricity Réserve De Marche: A Passion For Tradition
Passion for tradition fades with every passing year as people are more removed than ever from the society that birthed the world we live in. No matter how many try to keep certain traditions alive, time is the greatest enemy of the status quo. Perhaps it is intentional as culture and morality shifts, but often the loss of tradition is no more than a whimper as it passes out of living memories as generations die.
Humans have such a tremendous ability to adapt to the world around them that hanging on to old traditions is practiced by only a small segment of society as a new world rushes in to capture the attention of the young. A few centuries ago, this was a much slower process as the lifestyles of the preceding generation and the one to follow would usually be nearly identical in most of the important ways.
The children born at the beginning of a generation will have an entirely different experience than those born just five to seven years later, leading to rapid progress and the inevitability of older traditions going out of style. As people abandon the cultural traditions of their parents and grandparents, and the widespread acceptance of atypical relationships and career paths increase, the traditions of how we live, love, and work are constantly in flux.
This makes some people extremely uncomfortable, motivating them to become the guardians of tradition as, in their eyes, the values of the past should be safeguarded against the onrushing “apathy” of the future.
In horology, these people see modern manufacturing techniques, as incredible as they are, as cold and dispassionate since they remove much of the watchmaker’s individual touch from the pieces they create. One such watchmaker, Cyril Brivet-Naudot from France, has explicitly taken up the challenge of creating incredible handmade watches using only traditional techniques and specifically eschewing CNC-driven equipment.
The results are impressive to say the least, and his latest creation, the Eccentricity Réserve de Marche, is a handmade masterpiece.
Brivet-Naudot Eccentricity Réserve de Marche
The new Eccentricity Réserve de Marche is Brivet-Naudot’s second watch following his 2018 debut piece, the simply named Eccentricity. It builds on that foundation by adding complexity with the addition of a power reserve mechanism taking up real estate on both the front and rear of the watch. The rest of the aesthetic is largely the same, and the unique escapement and extremely high-quality craftsmanship are all still on display.
The Eccentricity Réserve de Marche displays the hours and minutes in an unusual way: an outer rotating ring for the minutes and internally mounted, semi-jump hour dial that advances the hour in the last five minutes of the hour.
On the initial Eccentricity model, the hour dial was secured near the bottom of the minute ring. While this is still the case with the Eccentricity Réserve de Marche, it can also be mounted at any position relative to the outer minutes ring as befits Brivet-Naudot’s ethos of allowing the client to define characteristics such as layouts.
The hours are displayed via a more typical hand while the minutes slowly pass by a fixed pointer near the center of the main dial.
The power reserve indication is positioned at the bottom of the watch face, which functions off a rather cool and exceedingly long lever running across one-third of the dial underneath the balance wheel. The power reserve, a somewhat standard 40 hours, is indicated by a set of one, two, or three dots, likely representing approximately 13-hour increments.
The space across the top where previously a large plaque proclaiming “Brivet-Naudot” was positioned on the first watch now contains the gearing for the power reserve mechanism, stretching from the mainspring barrel to the cone-shaped cam of the power reserve indication (visible on the rear of the movement). This is also where we see evidence of the extremely traditional nature of fabrication as one wheel is cross-pinned onto a square shaft, a technique usually only seen on pre-nineteenth-century watch and clock movements.
Style meets craftsmanship
The aesthetic of the bridges (or, more accurately, the cocks supporting the balance, power reserve, time display, and reserve cone cam gear) is decidedly historically inspired with a basic design more easily made using traditional methods. The balance wheel looks centuries old and sports clean-looking eccentric weights for poising; it lacks a shock protection system, with Brivet-Naudot opting for a basic set of jewels instead.
Combined with the fact that everything is hand-shaped and -finished – and the finishing is so clean and simple – the Eccentricity Réserve de Marche has an appeal for those valuing horological history.
The easiest way to demonstrate its traditional nature, however, is to bring attention to the case and its features, or lack thereof. The lugs are extremely simple and bolted into the basic round case from the side, which reveals a desire to avoid the realities of hand-soldering a more intricately shaped lug.
More than the lugs, it is the conspicuous lack of a crown of any sort that catches the eye. Now, that isn’t itself strange – there are a handful of watches out there that have flat crowns integrated onto the rear of the case or have a turning bezel to wind and set. But in the specific instance of the Eccentricity Réserve de Marche, there is no crown at all but instead a double-sided winding and time-setting key.
The mainspring and time display have receiving holes that go through the rear sapphire crystal with a square hole for the mainspring (needed for applying more torque) and a dual set of holes for time setting. The spring barrel takes up a large amount of the movement on the rear, but it makes up for it with a perfectly clean and elegant click spring similar to some found on Laurent Ferrier and Philippe Dufour timepieces. The crossbar style is so perfectly integrated into the large bridge that it could easily be overlooked (though not by me.)
The road less traveled
To the right of the mainspring is the rear portion of the power reserve mechanism, the cone-shaped cam rising and lowering depending on the state of wind; a cam follower lever pivots through the movement’s main plate to direct the long indicator lever on the front. Not many power reserve mechanisms are outfitted with this method, but it is a visually intriguing setup and if made precisely enough (the angle of the taper needs to be extremely accurate) it saves time and space by foregoing the multiple gears needed for most planetary-based mechanisms.
The bottom portion of the movement comprises the going train extending out from the escapement on the right side. This escapement is a major feature on the Eccentricity Réserve de Marche (and its predecessor) as it is a modified version of the libre excentrique escapement invented by nineteenth-century watchmaker Louis Richard.
Modernized by Brivet-Naudot and his watchmaker friend Luc Monnet, the escapement is a type of lost-beat direct impulse escapement that is low friction and oil free by design. It uses a long gold spring on the pallet arm to unlock the pallets with each swing of the balance.
This escapement really is something else, and if Brivet-Naudot could get the movement tested for chronometric performance it would be the horological icing on the top of that cake. But even without that data, the purpose of the Eccentricity Réserve de Marche is to produce a fantastic watch using one individual’s manual skills and abilities, not by programming modern equipment.
If that is what drives you, and you look to the independent masters for their specific hand-craftsmanship, then Cyril Brivet-Naudot should be added to your favorites list asap. The styling is historical with some modern little details, but mainly the Eccentricity Réserve de Marche seeks to remind people of just how hard it is to produce these items by hand and how impressive it is when it is done extremely well.
I would say it checks all these boxes handily and deserves to be among the upper echelon of independent watchmaking in preserving skills of the past (in the same league as Le Garde Temps, Naissance d’une Montre and the Time Aeon Foundation).
It also helps that Cyril Brivet-Naudot is relatively young so a long career is likely to be ahead in which he will hopefully continue to champion the skills of the past and develop his style and niche within the industry. With how much I have enjoyed both of his pieces thus far, the next steps will be amazing to watch!
While I watch out for that, though, let’s further break this down!
- Wowza Factor * 9.7 Even if this isn’t your personal style it is inarguable that this piece will make you say wowza!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 98.8 » 968.897m/s2 A very powerful force of lust is coming from this watch and it will keep you up for days just dreaming of having it on your wrist!
- M.G.R. * 68.5 When you consider that not only is the movement made by hand without any CNC, and it is also a rather technical and complicated movement, of course it’s going to be a truly geeky movement!
- Added-Functionitis * Mild Power reserve, always the incredibly useful power reserve! The update to Brivet-Naudot’s first watch adds a complication and thus makes you need the children’s strength the Gotta-HAVE-That cream!
- Ouch Outline * 10.2 Impaling your hand on a very long shard of metal! The more you work with materials that can cut you, the more likely it will happen repeatedly and in the worst ways. Sometimes it’s akin to being stabbed and it is not fun. However, it isn’t so bad that I wouldn’t gladly take it again if it meant getting one of these on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * No CNC, you say?! This watch is just as much about the technical details as it is about how it came into existence, and that would make anyone start deciding on a date for the ceremony!
- Awesome Total * 808.5 Start with the diameter of the watch in millimeters (38.5) and multiply by the thickness in millimeters (10.5), and then multiply by the number of models that the watchmaker has released up until this point (2) for a uniquely handmade awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.brivet-naudot.com.
Quick Facts Brivet-Naudot Eccentricity Réserve de Marche
Case: 38.5 x 10.5 mm, silver or gold case
Movement: key-wound and -set Caliber Eccentricity “Réserve de Marche” with libre excentrique escapement, 40 hours power reserve, 18,000 vph/2.5 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; power reserve
Price: beginning at €120,000 depending on options chosen