Versatility is what brings a certain degree of joy to us all. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe when it comes to life and watches. Each and every one of us is unique, with different feelings, emotions, preferences and likes and dislikes. Just compare collectors and their watches, and you’ll note there are no two alike. But in watchmaking, designs are mostly fixed, with zero versatility. Sure, you can opt for a different case material or a dial colour, but once the purchase is made, the versatility ends there. Some mix it up with different straps, but the watch itself remains the same as when you bought it. Every now and then, watches come along that tend to break that cycle and offer real, bona fide versatility. Two-faced watches like the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso or the Bovet Monsieur Bovet already provide several designs in a single watch. Newcomer Byrne Watches taps into that same sensation with its inaugural GyroDial.
Byrne Watches is founded by John Byrne, a watchmaker with a background and education in design. For his first watch under his own name, John Byrne envisioned a watch that could change faces not once, not twice, but three times over. Through a clever system hidden under the dial, each hour marker at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock makes a jump at midnight. This animation results in the cubes displaying either simple baton markers, Roman numerals, Arabic numerals with an arrow marker, or a set of matching numerals. Byrne also caters to personal numbers or bespoke logos if desired.
This clever and simple animation is housed in a pretty sizeable 41.8mm by 14.18mm grade 5 titanium case with a unique shape. Unlike any other watch I can think of, the design flows and shifts from every angle with a strong sense of presence throughout. Sleek lines and curves reveal alternating surface finishes, like satin brushing and polishing. The box-shaped sapphire crystal on top accounts for part of the height of the watch, but this is by no means a subtle watch. The lugs extend from the centre caseband, and at 3 o’clock, there’s a stout, knurled crown. The shape is difficult to convey in still images and has to be seen in the metal to really be appreciated, but in all honesty, it looks fresh and exciting!
The dial is where the GyroDial comes to life, literally (check out the video below). Set in that helmet-like exterior is a straight-grained dial in either black, silver or blue. Around the outer perimeter are hollowed dots for the minutes, with a filled-in dot at every 5-minute interval. The hours are indicated by straight, hollowed markers interspersed with the aforementioned revolving cubes at every third hour. Each cube is mounted flush with the dial. The hands have a simple sword-like shape and match the dial in colour, finished with an outline to provide a touch of contrast.
The Bryne GyroDial relies on an automatic movement, dubbed the calibre 5555 and made with Le Temps Manufacture. This is constructed using 260 components, including the system for the rotating cubes. Each one is connected to a central gear by a small upright wheel, and all make an instant jump at midnight (or noon, depending on the way you set/use it). The animation can also be triggered on demand through the crown. This construction is sandwiched between the main running gear of the movement and the dial. The nickel-silver mainplate and bridges are rhodium-plated, and the sapphire crystal caseback reveals details such as Côtes de Genève, straight graining, satin finishing and bevelled edges. It runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and provides a power reserve of 60 hours.
Byrne also offers a bit of freedom when it comes to the strap. You can choose between a rubber strap or a large-scale alligator leather strap in a range of colours. Each one is fitted with a grade 5 titanium buckle. The Byrne GyroDial retails for CHF 16,000 excluding taxes.
For more information, please visit ByrneWatch.com.