Trilobe Une Folle Journée: Expanding Upward And Outward, Exposing The Mechanical Ingenuity Behind The Dial
Designing objects in 3D software takes a certain type of visualization that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. People have different ways of thinking about an idea, and that can make 3D design more difficult, especially because of how their brains process images.
Some people are very visual and can imagine pictures and things in their mind, while others think more in words, concepts, and the intangible. Within these two main types of thinkers, there are even further subsets of people who think in very specific ways.
Some individuals are able to understand patterns, mathematics, and system-based ideas intuitively. These people are often good with puzzles and games that require systematic thinking such as Sudoku, logic puzzles, and language- or math-based word problems. Others are better at lateral thinking, which helps them fill in the blanks for riddles and make connections to solve problems that seem counterintuitive.
Coming back to the visual thinkers, we can see a familiar breakdown once again as some individuals are very good with patterns and spotting errors, able to recall detail as if they had a picture in front of them. This is a great skill for writers and editors, programmers, and people tasked with solving issues in a physical environment.
Other types of visual thinkers are more spatial and can imagine an object in three dimensions and spin it around in their head, often able to imagine disassembling things without having it in front of them.
This skill often goes hand in hand with tactile thinking (pun definitely intended) where people are able to better understand a problem, an object, or how something functions by holding it in their hands, turning it around, and making it move to help build an imaginary three-dimensional model inside their heads. That brings me back to designing in 3D software.
While everyone can think in all these ways to some degree, people lean strongly on one or two methods based on how their brains are wired. The people who can imagine three-dimensional objects in their mind, spin them around, and make them function by just imagining them are often the best at 3D design. These people can mentally create animations (in a way) that show how an object is built or how it functions. Meaning that they can visualize how something goes together and build it in CAD software as if they are simply copying something they are looking at.
That is one of my main methods for thinking, and why watchmaking is such a fascinating topic. I spend my time inside a watch without ever needing to physically take it apart myself. Just give me a photo, or better yet an exploded view of the 3D model, and I can usually understand (to a certain extent) how it is made and works. This is why I absolutely love watches with exposed movements and adore watches that clearly show how they work through the design of the mechanics.
It should be no surprise then that the latest piece from Trilobe, Une Folle Journée, is my latest obsession from the brand, one that I have been fanboying over since it first debuted in 2018. The new watch takes an already awesome concept and figuratively explodes it so that those who think like I do will be tantalized, while those who don’t will now see the magic underneath the dial.
Trilobe Une Folle Journée
Using the original design from the debut piece, Les Matinaux, Une Folle Journée expands upward and outward to expose the mechanical ingenuity behind the dial with a three-dimensional display reminiscent of an exploded view of a movement. The display still shows deconstructed time with hours around the edge of the face, minutes in the middle ring, and seconds in the center. These rings are all eccentric to each other, like with the Les Matinaux, but visually this is where the two depart.
Just like with an exploded 3D model, the time rings of Une Folle Journée seem to float, almost disconnected from the watch underneath. That is in part thanks to the lack of any intermediary dial between the rings so that the space around them is empty air. Then, the rings are not on the same flat plane like the original concept but tower above the main plate in steps forming a round, mechanical pyramid of sorts.
All three rings are contained underneath a large domed sapphire crystal turning Une Folle Journée into a miniature Colosseum on your wrist. Unlike its flat predecessor, the dial doesn’t have three individual pointers for each ring but a single triangular pointer at 6 o’clock to mark both hours and minutes on those rings, and the ring for seconds in the center has no clear pointer. Instead, it operates more like a continuous display and simply floats in the middle of the outer rings, keeping track of the smallest increments of time.
The mechanical layout of Une Folle Journée is really what makes it stand out among the brand’s collections: the veil has been lifted. Without a dial hiding the mechanism one can see how the three eccentric rings are driven and display the time. What’s more, though, is how the three rings are no longer as shallow as possible; the design of these components has been stretched and opened up so that they create a layer cake of mechanics.
This is why I first thought of 3D design and how assemblies can be displayed for easier understanding. When making drawings, it is common to create an exploded view that essentially takes all the major components and stretches them out, still in alignment, so that you can visualize how they fit together.
This way of showcasing assemblies is incredibly useful for a quick understanding of a complex system and it has been employed by watch brands for years in marketing and press materials. Both videos and still images have been produced by dozens of brands to highlight the latest invention or the complexity of a movement.
Urwerk is famous for releasing a high-resolution exploded view of every new movement, and Trilobe did the same with this latest release. Trilobe’s press images contain a very clean and easy-to-understand exploded view of Une Folle Journée, not the entire movement but everything from the main plate forward. That exploded view is awesome, but even more impressive is how the watch itself gives a similar sense of visualization thanks to the design of the display.
The hour and minute rings are essentially small bezels mounted on top of pillars that secure them to a ring gear on the main plate. These ring gears are driven via the going train with the hour ring gear supported on a set of micro studs and held in place with a few flanges mounted to the main plate. The minute ring gear turns on a set of roller jewels that sandwich the ring to provide low-friction support in every direction.
A change in thinking
Finally, the seconds are mounted like a tree, with a central pivot shaft supporting a sapphire crystal disk fitted into the seconds display ring, truly making it appear to float above the other rings. When viewed directly from the side it is clear that the three rings are sections of a dome, but they are separated so much that when viewed from above or at an angle they almost look like an exploded view of the mechanism while assembled in the case. That illusion is helped by the massive 10.8 mm sapphire crystal dome over the top offering incredible views into the movement.
A three-dimensional view into the mechanism is a favorite feature of mine for highly technical watches, and the stark departure from the relatively thin and clean dials of the original models is an interesting change that is a welcome variation for the brand. The change also required a new approach to the movement since that exploded display created some functionality issues.
Since the rings extend so far from the dial, the mass of the components can become a point of concern. Thanks to geometry and physics, a large mass at the end of an arm creates torque, a rotational force that wants to twist the part, which isn’t a good thing for mechanical watches. The ring assemblies therefore needed to be crafted in titanium to reduce the mass as much as possible so that the display wouldn’t cause the movement to grind to a halt.
Stepping away from the more traditional materials like steel and brass was a manufacturing challenge, as it is for pretty much every brand, but it paid off with a display that looks like it defies physics and still has a power reserve of 48 hours, not to mention the watch comes with a two-year warranty. That might seem like small potatoes, but offering a multiyear warranty on a complicated watch is risky for even the biggest of brands (collectors often share their horror stories), and Trilobe is still a young brand.
This watch could be the timepiece that helps the company make a leap forward.
I’ve been in love with the aesthetic and functionality since it first launched, and now I think a wider set of WIS will appreciate Trilobe and it will join the elite independents as Une Folle Journée makes its rounds. My only question is the name, the inspiration coming from La Folle Journée ou le Mariage de Figaro by Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais.
Une Folle Journée translates from French to “crazy day,” and perhaps I need to read a translation of the Marriage of Figaro, but it follows with the naming scheme the brand has used up to this point. Inspired by writers, poets, and our experience with time in our day-to-day lives, the three main models from Trilobe translate into Mornings, Fantastic Night, and now Crazy Day. I may not agree on the naming scheme but at the end of the (crazy) day the timepiece is incredible regardless of what founder Gautier Massonneau chose to call it.
Une Folle Journée is a landmark watch for Trilobe, and I’m excited to see the brand stretch its creative wings after the two initial models. It stayed true to the original concept while feeling wildly different and possibly tempting those who may not have given it a second look but now are drooling over the mechanical presentation.
It currently comes in two versions, blue or black, with anodized time rings, and it has huge potential for future expansion now that it is part of the permanent collection.
While I wait to get my hands on a piece for a more in-depth study, let’s break it down!
- Wowza Factor * 9.7 A functional exploded movement is one of the best wow factors you could ask for!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 97» 951.245m/s2 The airy nature of the mechanism and the playful way you read the time combines with such a desire to stare into that display that you’ll stay up for hours!
- M.G.R. * 68.7 The X-Centric caliber is already a legit piece of horology, but the addition of the exploded time display on the front takes it up a few notches!
- Added-Functionitis * N/A We are back to the day of incredible watches that do nothing other than tell the time. It’s probably one of my favorite things since the creativity behind Une Folle Journée doesn’t leave me wanting . . . or needing Gotta-HAVE-That cream!
- Ouch Outline * 11.1 Getting poked in the eye! It seems like something as minor as getting poked in the eye couldn’t rank so high, but when you get poked by a sharp branch hanging from a tree in the woods, suddenly that poke is more serious. Still, I’d take the risk if it meant getting one of these pieces on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * It’s exploded and still works! When you look at Une Folle Journée and realize that the movement essentially looks like it’s exploding out of the watch, yet it still functions normally, well that is enough to make you book a chapel for June!
- Awesome Total * 874.8 Begin with the height of the domed sapphire crystal (10.8 mm) and multiply by the diameter of the case (40.5), then multiply by the number of versions launched (2) and you’ll get an explosion for the awesome total!
For more information, please visit trilobe.com/us/une-folle-journee-collection.
Quick Facts Trilobe Une Folle Journée
Case: 40.5 x 17.8 mm, grade 5 titanium
Movement: automatic X-Centric³ caliber (Chronode) with micro rotor winding, 48-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds