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The Kauri Régulateur Carbone, a Modern Retrograde Minute & Jumping Hours Regulator

A modern take on a classic complication; a regulator with retrograde minutes and jumping hours.

| By Xavier Markl | 3 min read |

Kauri is an independent watchmaking brand recently founded by Samuel Gillioz. This young watchmaker studied at the École d’Horlogerie de Genève before gaining experience at Timelab and Vacheron Constantin in the highly respected Cabinotiers workshop. In 2019, Samuel Gillioz launched Kauri with the vision of creating something unique and original. The main specificity of his first model was its case, which combined steel and wood. The second model advances in complexity, retaining the distinctive case concept – this time with a carbon-based material – while introducing a movement featuring an in-house designed and manufactured complication, a regulator with jumping hours and retrograde minutes. Meet the Kauri Régulateur Carbone.

Samuel Gillioz set up his small atelier in Plan-Les-Ouates in a building between the HQs of Vacheron Constantin, Piaget and Frederique Constant. There, he works with his machines, a Schaublin 102 lathe from 1949 and an Aciera F1 milling machine from 1993. While he leverages these tools to craft some parts, he openly collaborates with external partners for others.

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His latest creation, the Kauri Régulateur Carbone, continues the original approach of its predecessors with a hybrid case design reminiscent of the “wood” model 01. We still have a 316L steel container housing the movement, paired with an outer shell. However, for this iteration, this outer shell is crafted from carbonium, a type of forged carbon, instead of wood. This choice of material imbues the 41mm case with a sportier character. In addition, the combination of an external octagonal shape with a contrasting steel circular bezel and lug modules give this watch a technical, contemporary presence. 

The most significant evolution, though, resides in the movement, specifically in the watch display mechanism whose intricacies are showcased dial-side, and with a different level of complexity compared to the Soprod movement (a personalized M100) seen for the model 01. Despite its name, the watch is not a true regulator, as it does not feature a separate seconds indication. Nonetheless, the “régulateur” name references the dissociated time indications of precision clocks from the past. The minutes are displayed in a retrograde fashion in the centre, while the analogue jumping hours indication resides at 6 o’clock. Each hour, the retrograde minutes hand instantaneously jumps anti-clockwise by 240°, coinciding with the hour hand’s movement, which simultaneously jumps one notch. This unique mechanism adds a captivating dynamism to the timekeeping experience.

The mechanism designed by Samuel Gillioz features a double wolf-teeth rack mechanism driving the minutes hand while avoiding any backlash. The first rack is visible dial-side. It works in conjunction with the snail cam at noon and the minute pinion. The second one is spring-loaded and hidden underneath the dial. It drives the minutes hand back while simultaneously triggering the jump of the hour star wheel, thus ensuring a perfect synchronization of all indications. Last but not least, the wolf’s teeth wheel underneath the snail cam at noon disconnects the mechanism to ensure maximum reliability and avoid any risk of damage should the time be set in the wrong direction. 

Regarding the base movement powering this regulator module, the Kauri Régulateur Carbone is based on an Olivier Mory movement, extensively modified – the same base is used in several tourbillon watches. It can be seen through the exhibition caseback with a sober but nicely executed decoration, in particular matte-grained bridges with large polished bevels. The variable inertia balance runs at 21,600 vibrations/hour, and the movement stores a solid 100-hour power reserve. 

The Kauri Régulateur Carbone comes on an integrated grey alligator nubuck leather strap fitted with a steel pin buckle. It is released as a subscription watch limited to 20 pieces. Given the artisanal and exclusive production process, there is room for customization. The price is set at CHF 34,000.

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2 responses

  1. Seriously ? I wonder who is willing to give that kind of money for such a watch while at the same time this kind of money could buy you a A. Lange (that will most probably be worth twice the current price in a few years) … Seriously ? We’ve all gone mad…

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