Today I don’t want to talk about one specific watch (though the Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Tourbillon gets special attention). Instead I want to discuss a whole class of mechanisms that made me cross the line from watch fan to so-called “watch idiot savant” (affectionately abbreviated as WIS): the multi-axis tourbillon.
About Joshua Munchow
I am the resident “nerdwriter” for Quill & Pad. I revel in the complicated aspects of watchmaking thanks to a lifelong love of gears and clever mechanisms. With a background in model-making, machining, and dissecting anything I could as a child, I bring a natural technical curiosity to my writing.
My day job with a design firm as technical development lead (in other words, head prototype-maker guy) gives me a thorough understanding of how things are supposed to work. Combining this with a healthy dose of geekery in numerous subjects sometimes results in interesting word explosions that are all me – like “awesomazingatude.” You may have already seen these “wordinations” on watchuseek.com, where I began my writing career thanks to founder Ernie Romers.
Entries by Joshua Munchow
Parallax is a fascinating phenomenon that has real-world applications, including the amazing ability of humans to use their two eyes and parallax shift to judge depth of field. You can reach out and grab that doorknob because of science. For this reason and more I absolutely love the latest creation to come out of the Grönefelds’ workshop, their aptly named Parallax Tourbillon.
I simply went gaga over R.W. Smith’s latest creation when I first saw it. Commissioned as part of the British government’s GREAT Britain campaign, which is on its third year, Smith’s latest creation is appropriately called the GREAT Britain watch. Well, of course!
Baselworld is about connecting. Many people will say that attending Baselworld is about having a lot of meetings, taking thousands of wrist shots, and running across the halls with your arms full of press kits and chocolate boxes. While that certainly is part of the show for many, you have truly missed the point if you think that is all that Baselworld is.
Recently I found myself at a bit of a crossroads. Horologically I mean, as I was having trouble with a new discovery I had made. You see, I had just been slapped across the face by something entirely unexpected. Unexpected by me at least and I needed to come to terms with the fact that I may have been wrong if this new development was to be accepted as reality.
It turns out I was completely wrong.
The human body is a sexy, well-designed machine, the structure of which is built for variability and ultimate maneuverability. It is a finely evolved apparatus that has helped us rise to the top of the food chain and in many cases removed us from it all together.
There are many categories of people who partake in the experience of watches. I like to give some of them labels like watch enthusiasts, watch collectors, watch fanboys (or girls), watch connoisseurs, watch geeks, and watch-aholics.
Each category shares aspects with the others, but they all have their own distinct variety of enthusiasm in which people focus on different avenues for their passions.
The reason I want to talk about my definitions of watch love is because I want to talk about one of the biggest horology nerd projects going on right now: Le Garde Temps, Naissance d’une montre. Translated this means “The Timepiece, the birth of a watch.”
Van Cleef & Arpels is known today in the haute horlogerie realm as the “maison” producing Poetic Complications, little love stories on the wrist. It has always produced beautiful items of the highest quality, but in recent years the Richemont-owned brand has sincerely added high watchmaking to its goals as a luxury house.
Which is where Agenhor enters the picture since the lion’s share of the Poetic Complications line is developed in collaboration with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and his specialist company, Agenhor, which develops complications and – now – movements for an exclusive clientele.
The wonderful relationship between Van Cleef & Arpels and Agenhor – a bit of a love story itself – has resulted in many amazing timepieces and accolades from the industry. Wiederrecht was asked to work on an extension for the Pierre Arpels line, which has largely remain unchanged since its eponymous inception in 1949.
The result, as you will see, is one of the most poetic and functional dual time watches that I have ever seen: the Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici Heure d’ailleurs.
Toys! For almost every person in the world, toys are a staple of childhood. Depending on your place of birth and socioeconomic background they may have been the newest video game, hottest action figure, or a hand carved figurine passed down from a grandparent.
Whatever they were, the toys of your childhood helped you develop your imagination, motor skills, and understanding of complex concepts only discoverable through play.
Konstantin Chaykin, the Wonderboy Russian Watchmaker – my name for him, hopefully he doesn’t mind – is a serious contender for being crowned one of the most progressive and talented watchmakers alive right now.
Previous models like the Levitas, Lunokhod, and his incredible clock creations that feature Jewish and Islamic calendars show that he is both creative and a top-notch complication specialist.
With his most recent creation, the aptly named Cinema watch, he stumped and astounded me with a creative direction that did not leave me wanting. The Cinema features an animation, or more correctly, stop motion recording of a horse at full gallop.
The mechanism used to create said animation? Why that would be his own miniaturized version of Eadweard Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope. (One of the most awesome names for any machine ever; it even rivals one of my own wordinations!)