Our Weekly Watch Photo column is mostly used for two purpose: showing you exceptional photos or introducing you unknown but highly interesting independent watchmakers. Recently, we get our hands-on something totally unusual, really exclusive and made by a single man with a true passion. It is called the Nord Zeitmaschine Variocurve and it has one of the most impressive minute hand ever seen.
Back in 2013, we already had a quick overview on this brand and we’ve really been impressed by how this brand came out to the market… from scratch. Behind Nord Zeitmaschine is Daniel Nebel, founder and owner. In 1995, after many years working in the fields of prototype machine construction and tool building, combined with various jobs abroad, he started to study and create wristwatches in parallel with his regular job. Three years later, in 1998, the first watch was completed under the name Nord Zeitmaschine. The idea behind his watches is to have a hand that depicts an unusual track. Where most of the watches have a hand turning around a central axis or with a classical retrograde movement, the watches created by Daniel are… well, unusual.
The minute track is located on the top and is shaped in the form of a crescent moon. In fact, it never leaves the upper part of the dial and it rotates on a moving axis, due to a pair of gears that creates this strange movement. Combined to this are two rotating discs on each side of the dial with indications from 35 to 50 on the left and 10 to 25 on the right. The hours are located at 7 and displayed by a rotating disc. Hard to explain with words, the best to understand ow this machine works is to look at the video here.
In order to achieve this amazing movement of the minute hand, the Nord Zeitmaschine Variocurve relies on a simple but robust base calibre, an ETA 2824. All the rest, from the case, the module on the top, the dial, the gears, the hands, the rotor and the finishing of the parts are made by Daniel Nebel, on his own tools (that he created himself). The only outsourced parts are the base movement, the crystal and the galvanization of the blue hands.
After the visual shock of this unique minute hand and the complexity of the mechanism behind it, what has to be especially appraise is the load of work and patience required to achieve such a movement. Some of the biggest brands don’t even take the risk to create such mechanism in-house and rely on sub-contractors. Daniel Nebel on the other hand does it alone with his own tools and and his own ideas. That is remarkable.
Another piece in the collection exists: the Nord Zeitmaschine Quickindicator, using the same idea of a non-linear movement of the minute hand but with another technical and visual approach. You can have a deeper look at the full collection here.