Dr. Ludwig Oechslin is famous for his ability to make complications look simple. Pervaded by the minimalist and highly functional spirit of Bauhaus, the industrial design and bold colours of Ochs und Junior watches are immediately recognisable. The latest Mese 2.23 model follows the Mese 1.22 “Brutally Bauhaus” trajectory and relays the time and date with disarming simplicity. Available in two case sizes, the Mese 2.23 adopts colour schemes used by American designers Ray and Charles Eames in the early 1950s.
The overriding philosophy at Ochs und Junior is to find simple solutions to big problems. Oechslin’s challenge for the Mese was to display the date with the same clarity as the time. However, for a date display to be as legible as the time (ratio 1:1), it would mean creating a huge digital big date aperture occupying almost two-thirds of the dial. His solution was an analogue date display with 31 perforated dots on the dial’s periphery.
Like Morse code that can relay complex ideas with dots, dashes and spaces, Oechslin’s Mese watch displays the date with the 30 + 1 dots on the dial and a series of spaces and dashes. The dots are arranged in a gentle spiral, with the 31st dot overlapping the 1st dot just after the 12 o’clock position.
The date is indicated by the orange marker beneath the dial shaped like a curved dash (to avoid invading the 31st and 1st holes simultaneously). However, how can you calculate the date without any numbers? Using the hour indices at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 as reference points, the marker at 6 o’clock, for example, corresponds to the 15th day of the month, the marker at 10 o’clock to the 25th day, and the double marker at noon to the 30th. Consulting the date becomes second nature once you’ve got your 5-day markers sorted.
But there is more because the dots are also used to indicate the minutes and seconds. Excluding the 31st hole, each of the 30 holes represents an even number minute or second; the area between each hole indicates an odd number.
Available in 42mm or 39mm titanium cases with a thickness of 10.4mm, the cases reveal visible traces of machining. The screw-down crown designed by Oechslin in titanium ensures the 100m water resistance of the case.
Inspired by the Eames’ colour palette, the matte black dial indicates the date with a luminous orange dot matching the colour of the central seconds hand. The hour hand is described as “green smoke”, while the minute hand is light green, matching the slim, elongated hour markers, all treated with Super-LumiNova.
Ochs & Junior uses the reliable ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. This is hidden from view by the caseback, which forms an integral part of the lugs. Oechslin’s proprietary two-component module replaces the traditional date indication. The frequency is 28,800vph, and it delivers roughly 40 hours of autonomy.
Availability & Price
Fitted with black Ecopell leather straps and a titanium buckle, the strap comes in four sizes. Both sizes of the Ochs und Junior Mese 2.23 retail for CHF 3,230 (excl. tax). To order, email [email protected] or purchase online at the brand’s website shop.