Monochrome Watches
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Independent Watchmaking

Young Talent Antonin Falk and his Jumping Hours and Retrograde Minutes Montre École

A tribute to yesterday's makers of marine chronometers.

| By Xavier Markl | 2 min read |
Antonin Falk Jumping Hours and Retrograde Minutes Montre ecole

It is always a pleasure for us at MONOCHROME to discover new watchmaking talents. Today we are taking a look at Antonin Falk and the watch he crafted to complete his watchmaking studies. A 19-year-old from Savoy, Antonin Falk is studying watchmaking in Morteau, a town next to the Swiss border and Le Locle/La Chaux-de-Fonds. He was named ‘Best Apprentice in France’ (MAF Or National Horlogerie 2016) handcrafting a Breguet hand and pipe.

Antonin Falk Jumping Hours and Retrograde Minutes Montre ecole

The montre d’école, or school watch, is the watch that Antonin Falk completed to graduate (Brevet des Métiers d’Art). He produced it largely on his own, crafting the case, the hands and the complication (the movement is based on an ETA 6497). In addition to the star wheel complication he submitted for his diploma work, he also wanted to pay homage to an illustrious figure/invention from the past.

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Antonin Falk Jumping Hours and Retrograde Minutes Montre ecole

Antonin decided to pay tribute to the great marine chronometer makers taking inspiration from the works of Berthoud, Arnold, Leroy and Breguet. His idea was to use an off-centre sub-dial just like those found on marine chronometers and incorporate a retrograde hand. The hours are ‘embarked’ on the retrograde minute hand creating a playful and original indication. The following video illustrates this perfectly.

Antonin Falk had to design a mechanism to make sure that the hour would jump in one direction only. He took inspiration from the ‘lost beat’ detent escapement often used for marine chronometers. To consolidate the ‘tribute’ theme, the counterweight for the hand is made from lead. The technique used to finish the movement is ‘charbonage’ (coal polishing). The dial is silvered.

Antonin Falk Jumping Hours and Retrograde Minutes Montre ecole

Measuring 45mm in diameter, the case is also a reference to the marine chronometer. Most of the parts were made using traditional methods and watchmaking tools (jig borer, lathe, milling machine). The cam and the rack spring have been manufactured on a CNC. The hand and graduated sector have been laser cut. All the other parts have been entirely hand-made. For instance, the lead counterweight was made by melting fishing weights.

We wish all the best to Antonin for his promising watchmaking career… congratulations on this brilliant creation. For more information and pictures, please visit

3 responses

  1. Brilliant aesthetic. I love how it evokes a minimalist industrial vibe and simply doesn’t look like anything else. I am not wild about the crown but it may be just too modern for the rest of the watch. Upon returning from the jump, I wonder if the watch quakes from the lead counterweight….which would be even cooler. Great new piece, love this article.

  2. Smart. Quite impressive to see the type of watches these young watchmakers are now crafting for their ‘Montre d’école’.

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