Krayon Anywhere: A Long Overdue Love Letter To A Practical Sunrise-Sunset Masterpiece
In film and literature, there are numerous tropes popping up again and again thanks to their usefulness in creating tension, helping to move a plot along or providing comic relief. There are quite possibly hundreds of tropes: enemies to lovers, the mirror jump scare, henchmen with terrible aim, the interrupted kiss, walking away from an explosion, and a personal favorite, the trash talk “he’s right behind me, isn’t he?” punchline. Done improperly, tropes can evoke eye rolls, groans, and claims of lazy and unoriginal writing. This is because they are so common and used so often, they are completely unsurprising to audiences and bore them.
But when done well, these tropes can be the perfect way to design a scene. There is a reason that tropes became tropes in the first place: they were successful and interesting approaches to a situation. Many tropes will elicit an eye roll and defeated sigh from me as well, but many I still find highly entertaining in the right context. One of my all-time favorites is the “just missed him” trope where two characters keep barely missing each other due to ever more ridiculous reasons.
This trope can be employed in a spy movie to keep the protagonist hidden in plain sight, or in a thriller where tragedy keeps narrowly being avoided by sheer accidental circumstances. It’s also found in romance flicks about lovers destined to find each other, just not quite yet. So a bus drives by at the perfect moment, or someone gets distracted by a friend saying hello and doesn’t see their soulmate ordering coffee right behind them.
Used in comedy, this trope creates some of the corniest gags possible, sometimes bordering on unbelievability. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has more than a few examples of this trope, which carry the film along by keeping Ferris from getting caught. Sometimes there is a variation of this trope in which people meet many times but only very briefly, not knowing until the very end of the story that the other person was important, all the while with the audience seeing the near misses, wondering when it will all fall into place.
That trope sort of describes my relationship with the Krayon Anywhere, an incredible creation by watchmaker Rémi Maillat that very intuitively displays sunrise and sunset nearly anywhere on the planet. Since it was released in 2020, I have only barely commented on it, saw it once, and am now, finally, meeting it in my writing to cover the evolution of the concept from the debut Krayon Everywhere.
So, as I find myself in a horological version of the “just missed him” trope, let’s take a gander to finally understand what the Anywhere is all about.
As both an aesthetic and a mechanical evolution of the Everywhere, the Krayon Anywhere is first and foremost a sunrise-and-sunset watch. It has been significantly streamlined for a much cleaner dial so that much less effort is required by the wearer since now it is set by a watchmaker for a particular latitude and longitude. The earlier Everywhere required the wearer to set a full calendar, UTC time offset, latitude, and longitude to display the sunrise and sunset times for most places on earth (up to 60 degrees latitude).
The Anywhere has removed all of these adjustments in favor of just a day-and-month calendar, allowing the wearer to ensure the display matches their location at a specific time of year. The rest is controlled by a watchmaker adjusting a mechanism visible on the rear of the movement (more about that later). The sunrise and sunset times are displayed via two overlapping rings that rotate separately from each other.
The rest of the display is simple: hour and minute hands in the center, and a 24-hour hand shaped like a sun that travels above the day and night rings to ensure you are actually seeing sunrise and sunset at the appropriate times of day.
The visuals are a perfect distillation of the core concept and take what was an awesome yet rather technical watch and turn it into something that is more ephemeral, ethereal, and emotional, just like sunrise and sunset are.
Complex mechanics and precise adjustments required for the Everywhere are almost a brute-force mathematical interpretation of the daily sunrise and sunset cycle, whereas the Anywhere is much closer to how we experience it. No need to understand our exact place on the earth down to the degree; simply be aware of what time of year it is and then you witness the celestial ballet that is the rotation of the earth under the sun.
Krayon Anywhere: what about mechanics?
Poetic allusions aside, the Anywhere is still a mechanical marvel that demonstrates Rémi Maillat’s creativity when it comes to designing mechanisms. The original Everywhere was a practice in showing that something could be done if you try hard enough and toss in a few crucially placed differentials and cams. But all those gears made for an overly complex assembly that impressed movement nerds but was more than most wanted in a sunrise-and-sunset watch. The Anywhere fixes that by eliminating the need for the wearer to adjust six different settings just to properly display the correct local sunrise and sunset.
Now this is taken care of by the watchmaker, which allowed for a streamlining of the mechanism. When you look at the rear of the watch, a central cam wheel does most of the heavy lifting to drive the display on the front. The cam is a double stack of profiles, one driving sunrise and one driving sunset, which rotate together and can be adjusted thanks to a screw running parallel to them both, which, when turned, moves the cam profiles closer or further from center.
On the original Everywhere, the system was designed to adjust up to 60 degrees north or south latitude (which in the north is a line that runs through northern Canada, Alaska, Finland, and Russia and in the south encompasses all inhabited lands except Antarctica). Beyond these latitudes, the differences in sunrise and sunset can become too great to display with the mechanism as it cannot show 100 percent daylight or 100 percent night, which occurs every summer and winter near the poles.
Krayon Anywhere: pre-set precision
So the Anywhere has these limitations, but the eccentric cam assembly still accounts for most of the inhabited world. But thanks to the weirdness of time zones – weirdness being that they do not run perfectly north and south along longitude lines as would make sense naturally and they cover a large area and so are naturally imprecise to your exact longitude – there needs to be further adjustment based on your actual location. This is where a different fine adjustment comes in.
Found on the bridges to the left and right of the cam assembly, two screws surrounded by small notch marks are used to adjust for these real-world exactitudes. Think of the cam assembly as the rough estimate – a bulk adjustment, if you will – while the screws hone in on exactly the location that the watch is to be set for. Each screw head pivots in a jewel surrounded by a collet, and the collets contain 10 notches to indicate 15-minute increments of adjustment, up to two and half hours.
Since they can be adjusted separately, this allows for very precise fine tuning for sunrise and sunset, at least down to five-minute increments based on quick alignments of the screw slot relative to the notches. That is another bonus to having the watch programmed by Maillat instead of doing it yourself: precision. It is clear just from the implementation of the mechanism and the level of finishing applied that these will be pretty accurate trackers for your local sunrise and sunsets.
The dance of the cam followers, poised opposite each other, are mirrored and running off a set of intermediary cam followers that allow the motion of the cam to be smoothly translated. These intermediary cam followers are U-shaped and slide up and down along a slot to create perfectly linear motion from the rotating cam. This minimizes the surface area the sunrise and sunset cams need to slide against and provides a more consistent gearing setup as the eccentric cam could, at the extents of its working envelope, require too large a range of motion for the mechanism.
Krayon Anywhere: a truly luxurious everyday watch
This is a clever way to precisely control the motion of a cam setup in an entirely different way than the original Everywhere was arranged. Since the overall mechanism was simplified to remove the user adjustment, it also required a totally different approach to the mechanism. This ended up great for the end user as it got thinner by more than two millimeters and three millimeters in diameter, bringing this watch into the sweet spot for a thin, supremely wearable timepiece.
On top of toning down the dimensions to make it more widely wearable, the quality in craftsmanship, which was already very high for the Everywhere, has become meteoric for the Anywhere. The finishing borders on perfection thanks to Rémi Maillat being tutored by the one and only Philippe Dufour, which he prefers not to highlight so as not to encourage a queue of budding watchmakers at Dufour’s door.
I think the movement speaks for itself. Every surface looks perfect, every angle expertly polished, and the Geneva striping is mind blowing as it follows a representation of the sunrise times in Neuchâtel.
Adding more nerdy details, the main large bridge that supports the mainspring barrel and part of the going train has an edge that traces the shoreline of Lake Neuchâtel. Now this is entirely unnecessary and could seem like just a fun addition, but it demonstrates the expert control of hand-finishing that Maillat employs. The irregular edge of the lakeshore is not an easy task for chamfering and polishing as perfectly as has been accomplished, so you might think of this as an artistic flourish that is nothing more than a gimmick, but it is more akin to anamorphic paintings from the renaissance.
A piece like The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger is often considered one of the best examples of painting skill due to details found in the portrait, but nothing stands out as much as the extremely anamorphic skull painted in the foreground. It was a flex of ability then, and the perfectly chamfered and polished lakeshore is a flex of ability by Maillat now.
This work extends beyond the movement: the entire dial and all the details on the front are also very well considered and attended to. The hour markers are extremely impressive, the hands perfectly black polished and deeply chamfered, and the dial detail is subtle and clean.
Even the special edition for Only Watch 2021 showcased incredible artistic skill with its take on Monet’s impressionistic painting, the only version of the Anywhere that I have written about up until now.
I fell in love with the Everywhere back when I first met Maillat at SIHH (when it still was SIHH) and he blew me away with the Anywhere evolution of his concept. He not only lived up to the original (something hard to do for small independent watchmakers with a unique idea) but he surpassed it with style and engineering grace. I truly think the Krayon Anywhere is one of the most impressive watches to exist in a long time.
It is a perfectly considered timepiece, understanding what the wearer would want and how it could be streamlined to be an even better experience for anyone who happens to find it in the wild. I would argue that Rémi Maillat has achieved a milestone for his young brand with just his second watch, and that puts him in some pretty good horological company.
On that note, let’s break it down while the sun goes down!
- Wowza Factor * 9.93 If the visuals of the sunrise and sunset disks don’t flip your lid, then seeing that incredible movement will do it!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 99.3 » 973.800m/s2 Since half of this watch is dedicated to the night and how long it lasts, you can be sure you’ll spend many nights lusting over this watch!
- M.G.R. * 70.5 This is one of the geekier movements available today and almost compares to the Everywhere in its complexity. Yet this one shines in its engineering ingenuity.
- Added-Functionitis * Moderate When you find yourself showing the sunrise and sunset times for most locations on earth, that already is a massively poetic added function. To make it go you need the addition of date and month plus the 24-hour indication, meaning you’ll need some extra strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream while you watch the sun rise on your wrist!
- Ouch Outline * 11.5 Falling into a pile of rocks after walking into a massive spiderweb! Okay, it sounds silly but when you are jogging in a wooded area and run headfirst into a giant spiderweb, and it completely surrounds your head and you swear you saw a spider right in the middle of it at the last second, it might cause you to lose your footing. It’s an honest accident, okay, I promise. Still, I might gladly do it again for a chance to get this bad boy on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * Oh my, that movement!! When you fall in love with an idea and then that idea gets a mechanical makeover to completely turn itself upside down, you are going to be racing to book a site for the afterparty!
- Awesome Total * 776 Begin with the number of hours in the power reserve (86) and multiply by the number variations we’ve seen of the Anywhere (4), then add the number of components in the movement (432) to get a result that will be an illuminating awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.krayon.ch/anywhere.
Quick Facts Krayon Anywhere
Case: 39 x 9.5 mm, 18k pink or white gold or stainless steel
Movement: manually wound Caliber C030, 86-hour power reserve, 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; month, date, 24-hour indication with day/night, sunrise and sunset
Price: 125,000 CHF in gold; 96,000 CHF in steel (sold out)