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About time: retrograde fever

Abid Rahman

 

It doesn't matter how much you want to believe in it, time travel simply isn't possible. You can't go back and purchase Apple stock before the first iPod was launched or go back and save humanity from Justin Bieber. Resetting the past is simply not an option - but you could console yourself with a retrograde watch that does at least reset the way we perceive time.

The retrograde complication displays time or indications in a non-circular fashion - the display is linear, with the hand moving along an indication and then "jumping" back to its starting position to begin again; that is, resetting itself.

The retrograde is a common complication these days but that doesn't mean every brand gets the presentation right. The Milus Tirion TriRetrograde (right) is one of those watches that does. Its lovely, clean and classic dial face comes with three clearly defined retrograde displays, each counting 20 seconds, giving the impression of a carousel of time as the watch whirrs about its business. The dial has a more restrained guilloche pattern finish, which ties in neatly with the Roman numerals. The case is 42mm in diameter and comes in stainless steel, which means the watch is a bargain at HK$49,500, with a skeletonised version priced slightly higher at HK$55,900. The movement is a Milus 3838 calibre and has a 40-hour power reserve. Water resistance is a reasonable 30 metres and the watch comes with a black alligator leather strap.

Sounding more like a premium tequila than a luxury watch brand, Cuervo y Sobrinos is a name you don't hear every day, which is a real shame as the company makes intriguing timepieces such as the Historiador Retrogrado (below left). Swiss-made but with a definite dose of Latin flair, this watch encapsulates the story of Cuervo y Sobrinos, with its Havana, Cuba roots and its 100-years-plus history of fine watchmaking. Coming in a 40mm pink-gold case, the dial face features a guilloche pattern and provides a classy platform for the three retrograde indicators, showing days, date and power reserve. The old-world charm of the watch is topped off with the Breguet-style hands and brown alligator leather strap, which is a great compliment to the pink-gold case and buckle. The movement is an in-house automatic CyS 240, which pumps out a respectable 42 hours of power and has nice detailing on the rotor. Prices for the Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador Retrogrado are available upon request.

Retrograde watches don't all have to be classic in design - indeed, watchmakers such as HYT and Christophe Claret have taken the retrograde complication to its logical conclusion and then some. Falling between the extreme and the classic retrogrades is the Pierre DeRoche TNT Royal Retro Power Reserve (below right). A 2013 update to the TNT Royal Retro, the new watch also has a retrograde power-reserve indicator and a retrograde date indicator, and the centrepiece of the watch - the four 10-second sector retrograde indicators - make the phone buzz with activity when it's in full flow.

The case is a huge 47.5mm and comes in black PVD-coated titanium. The movement is an exclusive Dubois Depraz mechanical and the strap comes in sleek black alligator leather. The TNT Royal Retro Power Reserve will attract men who want something a little different and the fiercely independent and family run nature of Pierre DeRoche is another added bonus. The Pierre DeRoche TNT Royal Retro Power Reserve is priced at HK$177,000.

 

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