Here, at MONOCHROME, we are always pleased to present young watchmakers and their work, not only because they do represent the future of the independent watchmaking scene, but also because what these young talents can achieve is often highly surprising. Today we are taking a look at the Montre d’école of Antonin Falk. If you are a regular reader of our magazine, you might remember his jumping hour & retrograde minute watch. Now in his early twenties, Falk just completed a montre d’école, a watch he crafted to graduate from his watchmaking school, the Lycée Edgar Faure in Morteau, France. And this watch, in addition to featuring a tourbillon, comes equipped with a very special self-winding mechanism.
The briefing for the watch Antonin Falk and his fellow students had to create and craft for their graduation work this year was pretty simple and straightforward. They had to develop and craft, entirely by themselves, an automatic watch using as a base a hand-wound movement, in this instance the Calibre T02 tourbillon made by BCP Tourbillons (La Chaux-de-Fonds).
Falk started his project with the idea to create an automatic mechanism that wouldn’t use the mainstream solution, in this case, a mainspring that slips into the barrel. To create his dedicated automatic system, Antonin Falk drew inspiration from two iconic watches in particular. First, the Perpétuelle watch from Abraham-Louis Breguet and its oscillating weight à secousse (1780). Second, the 1950s Jaeger-LeCoultre Futurematic, a watch with no winding crown that started running as soon as you put it on the wrist; hand-winding was rendered unnecessary due to the ease and speed with which the movement was automatically wound. The model was equipped with a hook mechanism engaging with a pin to lock the winding mass and prevent overwinding of the mainspring.
The watch created by Antonin Falk is a minimalist design housed in a cushion-shaped case. Like the Futurematic, it cannot be wound manually. Integrated into the caseband, the crown is used only to set the time. The turning of the barrel is limited to an optimal range. If this reduces the power reserve to some 30 hours (which is not critical for an automatic watch), it allows obtaining sufficient amplitude for the balance wheel as soon as the watch starts.
Turning the watch over, the exhibition caseback reveals a very appealing automatic mechanism with its large hammer to wind the movement. A nut moving up and down is used to drive a lever to lock the winding hammer with a hook (just like for the Futurematic) when the mainspring reaches a certain tension, to prevent overwinding.
We wish all the best to Antonin Falk for his promising career. For more information and pictures, you can check his Instagram @antonin_falk.