The MIH Watch was released in september 2005 and has become a famous watch among watch enthusiasts in those past 3.5 years. With clean looks that do not immediately give away the complexity of the watch, it flies nicely under the radar.
The concept was developed by Ludwig Oechslin who is well known for creating remarkable watches like the Freak for Ulysse Nardin. Paul Gerber was responsable for the technical development of the MIH, but mr. Gerber also has a reputation for creating the world’s most complicated wristwatch. Christian Gafner, who was responsible for the design, proposed an easily readable watch with absolutely no inscription on the front, but only a small “MIH” at the 9 o’clock position.
As you can see the result is a watch with a very clean dial, which is easy to read the time. But don’t be fooled, despite the clean and simple design, the MIH Watch has a single button chronograph and an annual calendar.
The MIH watch’s movement is based on an ETA/Valjoux 7750, known as a very reliable movement. Based on this movement Oechslin created an annual calendar of only 9 additional moving parts! The annual calender displays the date, month, weekday and even features an AM/PM indicator. Like every annual calendar the mechanism does not have to be adjusted for months with 30 or 31 days. Only the month February with 28 or 29 days needs adjusting.
The mechanism displays the complete date on 3 concentric discs: starting at the center of the watch, the AM/PM indicator, the weekday, the month, the date and finally the date is displayed. The central element of the calender mechanism is a 3-layer column wheel. Yes a column wheel, but this time not for operating the chronograph mechanism, but for the annual calendar. This gives the advantage that you can advance and reverse the date without damaging the movement. Other movement only allow you to advance the date and not reverse it. The AM/PM indicator shows one red dot at night and two red dots during the day.
The ETA/Valjoux 7750 is modified from a chronograph that has to be operated with two buttons to a single-button chronograph or monopoussoir. After modifying the chronograph cam, it only takes one button to start, stop and reset the chronograph. Through a small hole in the caseback you can view the 30 minute chronograph register. This way the chronograph registers won’t disturb the minimalistic design of the watch.
Only 200 pieces of the MIH Watch are made every year. Good thing is that the price remains friendly at 5,000 CHF excluding tax. The MIH Watch is available through a dedicated website and in one of the Embassy shops in Luzern or St. Moritz.
The reason why i blogged about the MIH Watch is that it sometimes crosses my path and every time i see it, I really like it. The design is so simple and clean. The technical aspects are amazing. And with buying a MIH you support the Musée International d’Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
Yesterday a friend emailed me this wristshot he saw on a forum and of course it made me wonder (again) if I will ever own one of these beautiful pieces…
And now for something completely different…. before ending this blog, i need to say that every time i hear or read about this watch it’s name reminds me of the movie ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail‘ where they bump into “the Knights who say Ni“. If you pronounce “MIH” in Dutch it’s like “Mí” which sounds similar to “Ní”. For those who have no clue what i’m talking about, they could check out this video capture, but i’m afraid it will only make them wonder more…. Would this watch be my holy grail?