Fresh hands for winning concept

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 May, 2012, 12:00am


Harry Winston has a track record of working with world-famous watchmakers such as Greubel Forsey and Jean-Marc Wiederrecht on each year's Opus watch, so this year's collaborator comes as a surprise. Opus 12 is the brainchild of the low-profile French watchmaker Emmanuel Bouchet, who co-founded the watchmaking company Centagora in 2008.

'All the 12 watchmakers for the Opus line have around 30 years of experience, which means Harry Winston has benefited from 360 years of fine watchmaking,' says Harry Winston's president and CEO, Frederic de Narp. 'We want all Opus watches to reinvent the way of telling time. The thing we don't want is to put the watchmakers in a box, so we don't give them guidance for creating the Opus watch. They need the freedom of creativity.'

The timepiece Bouchet created reveals thinking outside the box.

'Bouchet came to us two years ago with this crazy idea inspired by the Copernican Revolution,' says de Narp, who explains how Bouchet developed Opus 12 with Harry Winston and the designer Augustin Nussbaum. 'The Opus 12 is an artwork that required 7,500 hours of work. It is a very complicated way of telling time.'

According to the Copernican Revolution, the earth rotates around the sun and also, around itself. As opposed to telling time with a pair of hands at the centre of the dial, an Opus 12 wearer can see 12 pairs of hands located around the periphery of the watch pointing towards the centre. This rotating double-hand system displays time every five minutes and every hour - every five minutes, the minute-hands are animated and the 12-hour hands are animated each hour. Contained in a 46mm polished 18ct white gold case, the Opus 12 features a mechanical, manually-wound movement that offers a power reserve of 45 hours.

Like the Opus 12, the new Premier Feathers line is also an exercise in craftsmanship and marks 'the first time Harry Winston put together the marquetry of feathers with diamonds for our watches', de Narp says.

The dials of the four models from the Premier Feathers line are designed by French feather-ornament designer Nelly Saunier, whose repertoire ranges from stage design to jewellery to haute couture. The feathers embellishing the dials of the four Premier Feathers model are silver pheasant feathers, Lady Amherst pheasant feathers, peacock feathers and ring-necked pheasant feathers respectively.

Housed in a 36mm, 18ct white or rose gold set with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds case, the watches from the Premier Feathers line has a buckle of 18ct white or rose gold set with 29 brilliant-cut diamonds.

Another new member of Harry Winston's Premier family is the Premier Excenter Time Zone. Readability takes centre stage for this watch, which features a retrograde 24-hour dual time-zone display and a large date and day and night indicator. With a 41mm wide and 10.9mm thick 18ct white or rose gold case as its home, the watch has a mechanical automatic movement with 45 hours of power reserve.

A limited edition of 300 pieces, the new Ocean Sport Chronograph Limited Edition from Harry Winston features a dial with rhodium-plated Clous de Paris hobnail decoration and shot-peened date window and flange. With an hour counter at 6 o'clock, minute counter at 9 o'clock and date at 12 o'clock, the watch has a mechanical automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve. Housed in a 44mm wide and 14.8mm thick case made of zalium, the timepiece is water-resistant up to 200 metres.

Harry Winston's most powerful tool in attracting new customers lies in the quality of its watches, de Narp says. In 2007, Harry Winston opened a manufacture in Geneva, which 'stimulates the company to make more and more fine watches', he says. 'If you outsource your production it is difficult to inspire creativity.'