The passing hours, minutes and seconds are given a fresh face at Trilobe, the young French brand founded by Gautier Massonneau in 2013. The brand’s first watch, Les Matinaux of 2018, exhibited Massonneau’s vision of altering the standard static portrayal of time with central hands. Not the first, by any stretch of the imagination, to embrace a different way of telling time, Trilobe ditches traditional central hands and sets the separate units of time in a counterclockwise motion. The Trilobe Nuit Fantastique collection, with its minimalist dial and ex-centred minutes and seconds, returns in two attractive dial colours – Grained Dune and Grained Green – in two case sizes and a choice of titanium or rose gold cases.
Trip the Night Fantastic
I doubt whether the expression “trip the light fantastic” (to dance nimbly to music) was the inspiration behind the Nuit Fantastique, but it does capture the dancing motion of the off-centred dials on the dial relaying the minutes and seconds. The brand name, Trilobe, refers to “anything with three lobes” like a shamrock or trefoil and represents the three pillars of time – hours, minutes and seconds – which are displayed on three eccentric discs rotating counterclockwise.
The hours are featured on a peripheral rotating ring aligning with the fixed trilobe logo at noon. A figure-eight configuration on the left side of the dial, a symbol of infinity, houses the minutes in the smaller upper circle and the seconds in the bottom area. Given that the minutes and seconds advance in five-unit segments, precision readings are not the objective of the Trilobe Nuit Fantastique, which delivers a more approximate approach to time.
The matte grained texture of both dials imparts a contemporary look to the watch. Again, I don’t know whether the sci-fi film Dune influenced the name of the sandy-coloured dial, but it really looks like glistening desert sand. The imperial green or forest green colour chosen for the second launch looks particularly attractive in the rose gold case.
Both dials display considerable attention to detail. The metal structure framing the minutes and seconds display, for example, is finished with polished bevels and horizontal brushing on the surface.
The Dune Nuit Fantastique model uses a grained silver-coloured background for the minutes and a snailed silver-coloured disc for the seconds, while the Green model uses a grained green background for the minutes and a snailed green counter for the seconds. Both models feature the signature Clous de Paris pattern in the centre of the seconds disc.
Available in grade 5 titanium or 18k rose gold, the case is mirror-polished with contrasting satin-brushed finishings on the case middle and caseback. The titanium model is offered in two case sizes of 38.5 and 40.5mm diameters with a slim height of 9.2mm, catering to a wider range of wrists. The rose gold models are only available in 40.5mm case sizes. Time is adjusted via the screw-down crown, which can be rotated in both directions to set the hours and minutes. Incidentally, depending on the diameter of the watch, the crown varies from a push-down crown for the 38.5mm to a screw-down crown for the 40.5mm.
Having invited Jean-François Mojon of Chronode to collaborate in the conceptual phase of the display, Trilobe turned to reputed manufacture Le Cercle des Horlogers of La Chaux-de-Fonds to develop the X-Centric calibre, an automatic movement with a micro-rotor. Despite the eccentric layout of the minutes and seconds on the dial, the movement is symmetrical and vertically aligned with the tungsten micro-rotor at noon and the balance wheel at 6 o’clock. The automatic movement beats at 28,800vph and delivers a reasonable power reserve of 48 hours. Echoing the minimalist contemporary mood of the dial, the large 35.2 x 5.78mm movement looks hyper-sleek with its anthracite micro-blasted bridges and plates with sharp diamond-tool polished edges and bevelled steel wheels.
Availability and Price
All four iterations of the Trilobe Nuit Fantastique come with brown crocodile leather straps with titanium or rose gold pin buckles and a convenient sliding mechanism to change the strap. The Trilobe Nuit Fantastique Grained Green and Grained Dune in titanium, in 38.5 and 40.5mm cases, retail for EUR 9,800 (incl. tax); the Grained Green and Grained Dune in 18k rose gold, in 40.5mm cases, retail for EUR 20,800 (incl. tax).
For more information, please visit Trilobe.com.