At Baselworld 2017, a brand that is definitely best known for its jewelry pieces and the historical eggs which they made for the Russian Empire, Fabergé, came with what was certainly the most impressive piece of the show: the Visionnaire Chronograph featuring a movement created by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and his team at Agenhor. The term Revolutionary might sound like a cliché however, in terms of technical solutions and display, that is exactly what this watch is. For Only Watch 2017, Fabergé has created a unique black-and-yellow version of this watch, which also happens to be the very first “for delivery” piece to come out of the manufacture.
The Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph sets new standards in chronograph display. Most chronographs which we are used to handling are based on a “sub-dial concept”, meaning that the elapsed time is displayed on small counters which take up only a fraction of the available dial space. However, just because something has become a standard feature, this does not mean that it can’t be improved or changed. Sometimes, you have to break the rules – whether successful or not, but in the case of the Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph, this initiative has been simply groundbreaking. The idea: to bring the chronograph indications into the center, for utmost legibility. Therefore, the seconds, minutes and hours of the chronograph indications are placed right in the middle of the dial, while the time is indicated by hour and minute hands that are not affixed on a central axis but instead, rotate on a peripheral axle – leaving space for the chronograph.
This new Fabergé however isn’t the first or the only chronograph to display elapsed time with a central second, minute and hour hand. However, it is the first to display elapsed hours and minutes as jumping indications, thus providing a very precise reading of elapsed time. In order to achieve this, an entirely new and revolutionary movement had to be developed. It took no less than 8 years for Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and his team at Agenhor to conceive this very special calibre. The result is a modular movement, with central chronograph module, called AgenGraph – which is also used in another Only Watch project. This movement incorporates two impressive features. The first is, as mentioned, the implementation of central jumping indications, requiring the development of complex snail-shaped cams.
The second notable feature is a brand new type of clutch, which represents a mix between the beauty of the horizontal clutch and the efficiency of the vertical clutch. The goal was to merge a beautiful display with a system that reduces the jerks at the start of the chronograph, by creating smooth wheels with no teeth but an abrasive surface to create friction. Thus, the wheels do not require any time to connect, but simply touch each other to create the link between the timekeeping part of the movement and the chronograph module – more details in this article, which includes a very educational video.
So, why is this particular model of the Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph made for Only Watch 2017 so unique? Well, it is based on the black version introduced at Baselworld 2017, however it now features an opaline dial with vibrant yellow detailing in honour of Only Watch (the colors of the 7th edition are yellow and black). Also, the back reveals a special engraving on the movement, and it is attached to a contemporary grey textile strap. Finally, this unique example will be the first to be delivered, before the standard edition has even come to market.
Only Watch is a biennial fundraiser for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy – Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies (AMM). Organized under the patronage of HSH Albert II de Monaco, the 7th edition gathers a record 48 participants. Only Watch 2017 will be auctioned by Christie’s in Geneva in November 2017. For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com.
Technical Specifications – Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph Only Watch 2017
- Case: 43mm diameter x 14.35mm thick – Black ceramic and dark grey DLC treated titanium case – sapphire crystal on both sides
- Movement: Calibre AgenGraph 6361 – self-winding – 477 components – 60h power reserve – 3Hz frequency – peripheral hours and minutes, central chronograph with seconds and jumping hours and minutes
- Strap: Grey textile strap – Black treated titanium folding clasp
- Unique Piece for Only Watch 2017
- Reference: 1074WA2044/1
- Estimate: CHF 34,500