Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Newcomer Indie Brand ALTO and its Inaugural Watch, the 1970s-inspired ART 01

A newcomer to the watchmaking world, ALTO starts with a radical 1970s design and refined mechanics.

| By Brice Goulard | 2 min read |

New brands are created almost daily in the watch industry. Still, most of these newcomers or microbrands start with rather generic and accessible watches, powered by outsourced movements. Nothing wrong with that, but we sometimes wish for more. And ALTO, a new brand created in Paris, does bring a lot more. Radical design, out-of-the-box thinking, artistic inspiration, a fresh take on luxury watchmaking and refined mechanics are what ALTO promises with its inaugural model, the ART 01 watch. And while we’re planning on getting our hands on this intriguing piece soon, here’s what we know so far. 

ALTO Watches is the brainchild of Thibaud Guittard, ex-AP and a man with a passion for design, art, architecture and cars – specifically bold 1970s creations (wedge cars) such as the Ferrari Modulo, the Aston Bulldog or the Lancia Stratos HF Zero. The idea of ALTO was, however, to gather creative minds, which include Mathieu César (author and photographer), Barth Nussbaumer (watch designer), Yorgo Tloupas (artist) and Le Cercle des Horlogers (movement constructor). The result of this creative hub is this UFO-like watch named ART 01.

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The case is, as you can see, nothing classic. Faceted, shaped and radically angular, it is made of titanium and topped by a complex sapphire crystal combining curved and faceted outer surfaces and a hemispherical inner surface. The hand-brushed case is to be considered an extension of this crystal, and despite its audacious lines, it feels surprisingly refined and elegant, with a strong sense of finesse. A sapphire back, also with lateral chamfers, adds again another perspective to this watch.

The dial of the ALTO ART 01 model is, once again, nothing traditional. “It pays tribute to light as a source of artistic inspiration (…) and is inspired by the major Greek arts of sculpture and architecture“, explains the founder. Its complex texture, with hexagonal geometric lines, is made from bead-blasted and black-coated brass to create a focal point towards the centre of the dial. This play of light and shadows isn’t the only unique feature; the hours and minutes hand might rotate classically, but the seconds hand moves counter-clockwise…

Under the sapphire back is a modern, sharp-looking micro-rotor movement created by renowned maker Le Cercle des Horlogers under the creative direction of Nussbaumer. Combining openworked and plain elements, a matte dark background, and thin, bright, geometric bridges give it a modern, technical look. The calibre runs at 4Hz and stores 48h of power reserve (its base architecture is also used by Trilobe and Speake Marin).

Released in a limited run of 25 numbered pieces, the ALTO ART 01 watch has triggered our curiosity. It is priced at CHF 18,450 (excl. VAT) or EUR 19,100 (excl. VAT). For more details, please visit

5 responses

  1. Very nice! It seems that, even if the design is a bit “brutalist”, the watch is not massive. Would love to see some wrist shots to better appreciate its size and wear.

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