Imagine a timepiece that indicates time at the speed of your desire. Just because. That timepiece is Hublot’s second Masterpiece MP-02, the Key of Time.
Of course the Key of Time also indicates time as we know it, but additionally it allows for speeding up the time by 4 times or to slow it down 4 times. The basic idea is that you can enjoy certain moment longer or make other moment pass by faster. Conceptually it’s an interesting idea… however technically it’s a very complex masterpiece.
Originally the idea was conceived by Matthias Buttet when he was still at the helm of BNB Concept, before they filed for bankruptcy. Immediately after BNB went down (a result of non-paying customers), Hublot’s Jean-Claude Biver took over part of the machinery and 30 of their best watchmakers. And shortly after that, in 2011, Hublot launched the Key of Time as their second timepiece in the Masterpiece collection.
So a good way of buying knowledge, expertise and machienery resulted in the Key of Time. Besides the initial idea (back then it was called La Clef du Temps), this remarkable timepiece also features a vertical tourbillon which is a bit of a signature complication from BNB.
Now you’ve seen what it looks like, I’m sure you like to know how it works. The Key of Time has two crowns, placed on opposite sides of the case. The crown at the right side is to wind it and to set the time. The crown on the left side is to speed up or slow down the moving of the hands, which is of course the main feature.
The watch can display time as ‘normal time’ or it can display time four times faster or four times slower. When it’s set to four times faster, the hands (hour and minute hand) will advance by four hour in the time that only one ‘normal’ hour passes. When set to slow down by four times, the hands of the watch will advance one hour, while in reality four hours have passed. The tourbillon will always make one full revolution every minute, hence it functions as a seconds hand.
When the watch is set back to ‘normal time’, by turning the crown on the left side, the hands of the watch will move to display the ‘normal time’. The big complexity of the Key of Time is that it can remember the ‘normal time’ mechanically, even while it displayes another tempo of passing of time. This is accomplished by compex gears.
The following photo of the movement (caliber HUB 9002) shows the actual movement of the Key of Time Unique Piece for Marcus, and was twittered by Hublot while assembling this pièce unique. The movement features all characteristics of Haute Horlgerie, like polished and bevelled screwheadswith rounded and polished ends. We can also see bridges with hand beveled edges and brushed (drawn rims) finish on the surfaces.
What’s also visible is the engraving in the side of the tourbillon cage, displaying every five seconds so it can genuinely be used as a seconds hand.
The function reminds of the Hermes Arc The manually wound movement has eau Le Temps Suspendu, that somehow ‘parks’ the hands at the 11 and 1 o’clock position and by pressing a button they will return to display the actual time again. The difference is of course that the Key of Time not only remembers the correct time, but simultaeously display time to run four times faster or slower.
Hublot’s own pitch line: What if a watch, by means of its mechanics, gave you the ability to manage the passing of time as you wished? To really manage your own time? The mechanism driving the MP-02 Key of Time, thanks to a three-position crown, enables you to “modulate” the speed at which the hours and minutes pass, according to your wishes.
In the lower left corner is the power reserve indicator, that displays how much of the 100 hour of autonomy is still left. The speed of time indicator is a red bar, visible in one of the three beams (time, 4x faster or 4x slower). The micro-blasted grade 5 titanium case is embraced by the white rubber bracelet that is held together by a titanium single folding clasp.
The normal version is in black with green accents on the dial and is limited to just 50 pieces. The Key of Time Unique Piece for Marcus is in all white, with some red accents on the dial, making a total of 51 pieces every produced. By the way, did you notice the detail: this unique version features the letter “M” for Marcus at the 12 o’clock position.
- Movement: HUB 9002
- Dimensions 40.20 x 40.10 mm – Thickness 9.30 mm
- No. of Components: 512 – Jewels: 74
- Hairspring: Flat, for extremely accurate setting
- Frequency: 21,600 Vib/hour (3 Hz)
- Power reserve: Approximately 100 hours (4 days)
- Oscillator: Balance with adjustment inertia-blocks
- Moment of inertia: 16 mg/cm2
- Shock absorbers: Shock absorption for main plate and balance bridge
The normal Keys of Time, which is limited to 50 pieces, retails for close to $ 400,000 USD, however I don’t have a price for this unique piece for Marcus. When you’re interested, contact them either by email (Marcus@timeproducts.co.uk) or by telephone (+44 (0) 20 7290 6500). Of course you can also visit the boutique on Bond Street in London, which is a recommendable experience anyway!