Buying Guide The Best of Independent Watchmaking 2018 – Part 2

Creativity, haute horlogerie and stunning new watches in 2018 from the "independent scene".
ic_query_builder_black_24px | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Xavier Markl | 7 minute read

Yesterday, we started to look at the best watches created by independent watchmakers in 2018, with more “classical” watches (if ever the indie scene could be labelled classical). Today, in the second part of this guide, we move to the most creative, daring, highly technical of them all. Sci-fi designs, unusual displays of the time, ultra-complex movements. The boldest and the craziest models in the watch industry are right here. The ingenuity, vision, diversity – or simply the smaller size – of indie watchmakers give watchmaking fans a wealth of unique creations in 2018.

Andreas Strehler Transaxle Tourbillon

This highly-engineered creation by Andreas Strehler combines a tourbillon with a 1-second remontoir d’égalité constructed around the same axle. The remontoir allows the transfer of constant energy to the regulator and to drive a dead-beat second. The twin-barrel movement also displays the remaining power reserve using a small differential gear. Overall, the skillfully crafted calibre comprises 250 parts, all meticulously finished by hand. The Strehler signature cushion-shaped case is available in gold or platinum.

Quick facts: 41mm gold or platinum case – water-resistant to 30m – hand-wound movement with hours, minutes, dead-beat seconds, tourbillon with transaxle 1-second remontoir and power reserve indication – alligator strap with pin buckle – CHF 182,500 – for more information, visit www.astrehler.ch.

Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance

With this beast of a watch, Armin Strom ventures into new territory and launches its Masterpiece collection. It is the first watch regulated by the brand’s ‘mirrored force resonance’ concept to feature a complication. The Masterpiece 1 Dual Time resonance features twin movements built on the same main plate. Each one has its own barrel, gear train and regulator to display an independent time zone. The highly practical independent displays allow it to adapt to all types of time zones. At 12 o’clock, the oscillators are connected by a spring to enhance resonance and beat in unison.

Quick facts: 59mm x 43.4mm (including lugs) x 13mm titanium case – water-resistant to 30m – hand-wound dual time movements with twin hours and minutes, 24h day/night and power reserve indications – alligator strap with pin buckle – CHF 180,000 – limited edition of 8 pieces – for more information, visit www.arminstrom.com.

Bovet Recital 22 Grand Récital

Part of an impressive trilogy alongside the Shooting Star and the Astérium, the Grand Récital is an orrery celebrating the three heavenly bodies that set the pace of our lives: the sun, the earth and the moon. The sun is represented by a one-minute flying tourbillon. At 12 o’clock, the earth is a hand-painted hemisphere showing the hours and minutes. A precision moon revolves around it. Retrograde minutes and the power reserve indication are displayed on hemispherical sectors on each side of the globe. The date is displayed at 7 o’clock through a magnifying glass and is driven by a perpetual calendar mechanism whose indications are visible through the sapphire caseback. The hand-wound calibre is housed in an ‘écritoire’ case and, as you’ve come to expect from Bovet, every component is magnificently finished.

Quick facts: 46.30mm x 19.60mm titanium or pink gold or platinum – water-resistant to 30m – hand-wound 17DM03-TEL with hours indicated by a rotating earth with day/night indication, retrograde minutes, seconds on the tourbillon, one-minute flying tourbillon, power reserve indicator, retrograde perpetual calendar and precision moon phase – alligator strap with pin buckle – CHF 435,000 in titanium and pink gold, CHF 465,000 in platinum – limited production of 60 movements – for more information, visit www.bovet.com.

HYT H20

H0 is a return to the raison d’être of HYT, emphasizing the fluidic time indication with transparency and light. It is topped by a sapphire dome creating a sensational three-dimensional object, allowing time to be read from all angles. H20 is the version whose mechanical movement is manufactured with APRP (Audemars Piguet Renaud Papi). The capillary containing the fluids seems to float above the intricate mechanism offering striking depth with its characteristic V-shaped bellows. The minutes are indicated in the centre via a jumping minute hand, while the balance wheel ticks at 12 o’clock. Check out our video about HYT Watches here.

Quick facts: 51mm x 19.95mm steel case – water-resistant to 30m – hand-wound calibre with fluidic hour indication and jumping minutes – rubber strap with folding buckle – CHF 95,000 – for more information, visit www.hytwatches.com.

Louis Moinet Ultravox

The Ultravox is a spectacular staging of the hour strike complication made with Eric Coudray, displaying its mechanism up front. This allows for a clear view of the captivating ballet of its hammer, rack, fly-wheel, levers and other mechanical processes taking place dial-side. The watch strikes every hour (or on demand) with the appropriate number of chimes. A silence mode can be activated via a pusher. Two micro-rotors wind the striking mechanism and time indication barrels automatically.

Quick facts: 46.5mm x 14.5mm pink gold case – water-resistant to 50m – automatic calibre with hours, minutes and hour strike au passage – alligator strap with folding buckle – CHF 130.000 – limited edition of 28 pieces – for more information, visit www.louismoinet.com.

MB&F HM9

The latest opus in the MB&F Horological Machine series is, without a doubt, one of the best. An unconventionally good-looking, design-centric creation inspired by one of Max Busser’s many dreams and passions, it is unmistakably MB&F. This driver’s watch is a tribute to the 1950s streamline design, a period when creativity was more about sensual twists than about the pragmatism of modern aerodynamic engineering. This new horological UFO to be worn on the wrist looks like a streamline jet engine flanked by two aerodynamic, ogival pods with drop-shaped sapphire domes housing twin balance wheels. Shaped just like the case, the in-house movement features a differential to average the rate of the two oscillators and a conical gear to drive the lateral time display.

Quick facts: 57mm x 47mm x 23mmtitanium case – water-resistant to 30m – hand-wound calibre with hours and minutes- calf leather strap with folding buckle – CHF 168,000 – two limited edition of 33 pieces – for more information, please visit www.mbandf.com.

Singer Track 1 Hong-Kong Edition

The Track 1 Hong-Kong edition is a sportier, more aggressive take on the Singer Reimagined revolutionary centre chronograph, one of the most sensational developments of the past years. The deep black case is fashioned out of ultra-resistant, ultra-light ceramic aluminium. The hours, minutes and seconds of the chronograph are coaxially displayed in the centre of the watch, allowing the elapsed time to be read at a glance. The time is indicated on the two peripheral rotating discs thanks to a small pointer at 6 o’clock. Turning the watch over, the exhibition caseback offers a breathtaking view of the intricate chronograph mechanism.

Quick facts: 43mm x 15mm ceramic aluminium case – water-resistant to 100m – automatic calibre 6361 (Agengraph) centre chronograph – fabric strap with folding buckle – CHF 44,500 – limited edition of 50 pieces – for more information, visit www.singerreimagined.com.

Urwerk UR-111C

Daring, innovative and highly technical, the UR-111C is unmistakably Urwerk. As with all watches created by Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner (the founders of the brand), the time display is unconventional. However, it differs from the brand’s orbiting hour satellites system. Jumping hours and running minutes are shown via conical displays on either side of the case. There is a second linear retrograde minute display in the centre. The seconds are displayed through a so-called ‘image conduit’ made of aligned optical fibres. Last, a roller on the case performs the function of the crown.

Quick facts: 42mm x 46mm x 15mm steel or gunmetal finish steel case – water-resistant to 30m – automatic calibre with jumping hours, retrograde linear minutes, digital minutes and digital seconds – alligator strap with folding buckle – CHF 130,000 – two limited editions of 25 pieces – for more information, visit www.urwerk.com.

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