Lange & Söhne, Odysseus: Ulysse would have worn it with elegance and sportiness
Breaking with the classic style, but without completely renouncing it, the German maison is offering, the first Odysseus watch in titanium this year at Watches and Wonders 2022. Both elegant and sporty, this first titanium piece in the company’s history is perfectly in the current trend while knowing how to make the difference with the competition.
For this first titanium reference in the Saxon manufacture’s catalogue, its motto of « never stand still » makes perfect sense. The choice to make this third Odysseus piece of the brand in titanium is due to the specific characteristics of this metal. Approximatively 43% lighter than steel, it helps to improve the comfort of wearing the watch by making us not feeling it at the wrist. It has also a very particular brilliance that gives it a unique presence that is cleverly highlighted on the Odysseus thanks to alternately polished, matt, or brushed surface treatment.
The working city-dwellers will appreciate as they will be satisfied to learn that the piece has, like the steel or grey gold versions, a reinforced and water-resistant case with a screw-down crown, pressure-resistant corresponding to a 120 m water column. This guarantees that it can withstand a dive in a swimming pool (40 ATM) or the very high humidity found in Asia.
Following the trend
With its 40.5 mm-diameter, this watch follows the trend of a more sensible measurements return. It is certainly made conquer new markets because with its metal link, it should be able to meet the expectations of 70% of watch customers who swear by this type of bracelet.
Hard to believe when, in Europe, the leather-worn pieces are still very much predominant in communication. Also integrated into the case, which is the link of the steel version, the titanium bracelet keeps the whole in a single style. From an expert’s opinion, its wearing comfort is enhanced here by the presence of a safety clasp that is equipped with a finely graduated system of up to 7 mm and discreet, allows a perfect fit on the wrist, in any situation.
An efficient and essential dial
But the assets of this watch, produced in only 250 pieces and entirely handcrafted, are not limited to its aesthetics, which are elevated by a sublime dial in a brand-new ice blue colour. This one, sober, presents two large apertures allowing to read the date and the day of the week without having to take out the glasses. It is a real advantage when we know how rare it is to manage to discern this information on other less well-equipped pieces. Through concentration, the enthusiast will notice that this dial made on a brass base presents a lot of small details and three reading levels, each one corresponding to a distinct zone.
The first one allows to delimit the space where the applied hour markers are located. The second one is formed by the flange where the Arabic numerals of the minutes are stamped from 5 to 5 with the 60 affixed in red to give more dynamics to the whole. Finally, the third part consists of the recessed circle where the large second hand traditionally slides at 6 o’clock.
A reference heart
An exceptional watch needs a movement worthy of it. In this case, the purists will not be disappointed. The heart enclosed in this titanium case is visible through the sapphire case back. It is the manufacture calibre L.155.1 Datomatic.
In other words, a self-winding movement with a skeletonised, partially black rhodium-plated central rotor with a platinum centrifugal mass at its outer end to guarantee best winding in any situation. Equipped with the same classic characteristics that have helped to make the reputation of the Manufacture’s calibres, this heart is fitted with a gold bezel for the lever escapement, a traditional swan neck for the advance and delay, and a regulating organ with setting screws embedded in the balance rim. The self-winding movement latter oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour to ensure best precision while guaranteeing a 50-hour power reserve. It is surprising to note that the day and date are not set by the winding crown, as would be the case, but by means of two push-buttons integrated into the case middle.
Made in accordance with the values of the A. Lange & Söhne, the Odysseus in titanium priced at €55,000 and can meet the highest requirements of working « pure players » who appreciate watches that combine refinement, aesthetics, and high-level technique.
Chopard Trilogy L.U.C Sonnerie Strike, The Sound of Eternity: music, Maestro at Watches and Wonders 2022!
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of its L.U.C collection, the Chopard maison presented at Watches and Wonders 2022, a set of three purely revolutionary striking watches having been subject to a unique acoustic adjustment process. Their objective: to make their ringing strictly addictive obtained from a coherent and monobloc assembly formed by the sapphire crystal gong and the crystal protecting the dial. The rest, in music because it is not a lie…
As a prelude and to set the melody, to look at the three novelties recently presented on the Frank sans C programme, we note that everything that follows has been orchestrated under the aegis of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-CEO of Chopard and an informed music lover. However, before looking at the pieces and the work done by the brothers Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, cello and violin virtuosos but also genius performers, it is necessary to go back a little to the history of the Full Strike watches of the L.U.C. manufacture. This should allow us to better understand the importance of the work they have done on harmonics to give the notes emitted by the mechanisms that enable time to be transcribed into sound, a sensuality, a tonality, a colour, and an emotion that is strictly unique in the watchmaking world.
Pushing the melodic experience further and further
In 2016, the family maison presented its first L.U.C Full Strike watch and inaugurated a new watchmaking paradigm. This exceptional piece was developed to celebrate the 20 years of existence of the L.U.C manufacture’s workshops, but also to open up a new field of research regarding sound time. In the absence of hearing this first reference, we retain some figures that must resound like so many strong points highlighting all the difficulty of the undertaking. To bring it to life, the engineers and watchmakers had to devote 17,000 hours of development to it. Among the many innovations related to this watch, 4 of which are patented, the most important is undoubtedly the one linked to the repeater gong. Indeed, until now, these elements used to emit the sound once they were struck by the mechanism’s hammers were made of steel.In the case of the L.U.C 08.01-L calibre, they are made of sapphire crystal (a synthetic corundum) and machined in one piece with the crystal covering the dial. The development of this single piece took 3 years of work so that the sound produced by this coherent and homogeneous whole is strictly crystalline. And here the term is not invented since it comes from a monocrystalline corundum. This exceptional innovation giving the L.U.C Full Strike a unique character was rewarded as the piece received the Aiguille d’Or prize at the 2017 Grand Prix d’horlogerie de Genève.
Setting a new acoustic approach to music
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele knew, however, that the watch still lacked the emotional dimension of a musical instrument. To reach the melodic asymptote, the L.U.C. Full Strike had to be regulated by music masters, not by watchmakers with a good ear.
In 2018, the meeting between Karl-Friedrich and Renaud Capuçon at the Festival des Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad was a turning point. Very quickly, the co-president of Chopard offered him and his brother Gautier – also a virtuoso – to participate in the production of a new limited series of striking watches. With the help of the Manufacture’s engineers, Gautier, and Renaud, with their artistic sensibility, came to give their opinion so that the sound produced by the sapphire crystal and gong technology patented by Chopard could be regulated. This purely human approach was later approved from a scientific point of view by the Applied Acoustics Laboratory of the Geneva engineering school HEPIA, which created an analysis programme designed to go beyond the purely measurable criteria of acoustics (intensity of sound, tonal richness, damping factor, etc.). This subjective approach allows us to consider another dimension of sound: the one of the listener’s perceptions. Purer, longer, and more harmonious than the note of traditional metal repeater mechanisms, the note produced by Chopard’s sapphire gongs includes a vibratory dynamic which, coming from the perception of the living, is therefore able to create more emotion.
A vibrating collection with an exceptional sound intensity
To mark the 25th anniversary of the L.U.C. Collection, an even more robust watch was needed than the one presented five years earlier. The choice made by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard and founder of the watchmaking branch of the Manufacture, was not to launch an unusual watch, but a trio of new function pieces using the monobloc sapphire crystal and gong system: the L.U.C Strike One, the L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire and the L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon. Here are the main themes of this new musical orchestration of time…
The Strike One at Watches and Wonders 2022
Aesthetically, the 40 mm-diameter L.U.C Strike One, offered in ethical 18-carat rose gold, takes up the aesthetic characteristics inaugurated with the L.U.C XPS 1860 piece. Thus, the offered piece is decorated with a solid gold dial in a ruthenium grey colour whose circumference is azure and the centre guilloché according to a “honeycomb” motif a small nod to the emblem that Louis-Ulysse Chopard had chosen as its workshop hallmark. In other words, the striking mechanism chimes when the minute hand reaches 12 o’clock. Thus, twenty-four times a day and at the right time, the hammer of the function automatically arms itself and strikes the sapphire gong once with exceptional intensity, length and richness.
This musical striking mechanism set has a silent mode that can be activated by pressing the push-button integrated into the watch’s winding crown. Powered by the new L.U.C 96.32-L manufacture calibre, the watch case middle is thinner because the movement is finer than its predecessor, the L.U.C 96.14-L. The substantial gain enables the new L.U. C Strike One piece to display a thickness of only 9.86 mm under the calliper’s beak; an incredible thinness that allows this beautiful watch, priced at €64,000, to fit in with the tradition of elegance and sobriety that is characteristic of the L.U.C. collection.
The Full Strike Sapphire
With this watch with its magical transparency, Chopard is offering the five future owners of these Geneva hallmark-certified pieces a unique musical and watchmaking experience. Indeed, this 42.5 mm-diameter wonder is not only adorned with a case middle cut from a block of sapphire.
Its mechanical calibre with manual wind in nickel silver, chronometer-certified L.U.C 08.01-L, including 533 components and 63 rubies, has a striking mechanism function for the hours, quarters and minutes, which is activated here by the action of a push-button. Like a classic minute repeater function, this one has components such as a minute snail cam, yokes with racks to strike the hours, quarters, and minutes. However, unlike a classic version, whose mechanism resets itself each time the user operates the setting lever, this complex device stops working as soon as it no longer has the necessary force to set in motion the hammers intended to strike the gongs made from a single block with the sapphire crystal. In addition, to avoid handling accidents, the Manufacture has developed a cutch yoke mechanism designed to ensure that the minute repeater gear is blocked when the spring torque is no longer sufficient to properly strike the time information displayed on the dial by the hands.
But this should not happen because the watchmakers have put a power reserve indicator on the dial side, allowing to know in real time the level of winding of the striking barrel spring. The piece has also a specific ratchet drive mechanism, allowing to get rid of downtime during the striking (Chopard patent). We suspect it, but it is always good to remind it: like the L.U.C Strike One, this wonder of balance priced at €456,500 benefited from the work done by the brothers Renaud and Gauthier Capuçon to ensure the five future owners to be confident of having the richest sonority that is. So much the better because it does cost a bit of money…
The Full Strike Tourbillon
For the first time in the history of the Full Strike and, by extension, in that of Chopard, a minute repeater function and a tourbillon have been put together. Combined with the very heart of the L.U.C 08.02-L calibre,they enable the movement of the L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon to be regulated to perfection. While the former enables the time to be heard in music and at will thanks to the presence on the dial of a barrel winding indicator enabling the built-in function to set in motion the components intended to make the gongs ring, here machined in sapphire crystal, and combined with the crystal protecting the dial.
Contrary to the all-sapphire version, this 42.5 mm-diameter piece, available in only 20 pieces and decorated with ethical 18-carat rose gold (like all Chopard gold cases since 2018), features a dial also made of ethical gold, whose galvanic ruthenium grey surface is just open to two large apertures. The first one, open between 9 and 11 o’clock, allows to discover some of the components of the minute repeater function and the most representative ones: the large black polished hammers (a mirror-polished steel making the light reflect to the point of appearing black). To see them move and strike the sapphire gongs machined at the same time and in the same block of sapphire as the crystal protecting the dial, all you must do is press the push-button intended to engage the function, here again judiciously put in the winding crown.
As you can see, such structure allows the sober lines of the classic case to remain elegant when worn on an alligator strap. The second circular aperture, this time at 6 o’clock, reveals the tourbillon, the heart of this manual wind calibre whose power reserve can be viewed at 2 o’clock, in parallel with that of the spring designed to give life to the minute repeater function. Original and dynamic, the tourbillon frame with its modern spiral design is unobstructed thanks to the installation of a through tourbillon bridge made of sapphire.
To maintain the history of the Maison through a series of small hidden clues, the transparent bridge of this watch, priced at €385,500, features four rounded notches in order to match the design of a similar piece, but made by the hand of Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the Maison’s founder.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Galaxia and Atomium
As an astronomy enthusiast, due to the sparkling firmaments that can be observed on clear nights in the Vallée de Joux, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture has developed expertise in the field of celestial functions. Committed to making this known by using the savoir-faire developed in-house, the Grande Maison, as the inhabitants of the village of Le Sentier where it is based call it, has chosen this year to offer two new dreamlike pieces made differently from its Grande Complication Calibre 945. Exceptional and presented at Watches and Wonders 2022, the Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 “Galaxia” in rose gold and the Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 “Atomium” in white gold, both produced in a limited series of 5 pieces, celebrate the creativity and talent of the artists who make up the lifeblood of this company founded by Antoine LeCoultre in 1833.
Generalising the functionalities of a reference calibre
Committed to producing excellent mechanical calibres, the company, which is specialised in this field, has developed different movements intended to serve the cause of astronomers or designed to reproduce cosmic events in reduction. The manual wind Jaeger-LeCoultre 945 calibre, created in 2010, puts together here for these two watchmaking wonders a sky chart with the celestial vault, a zodiac calendar, and a minute repeater. And because too much is never enough, the watchmakers have chosen to equip the assembly with a tourbillon regulator called “Jaeger-LeCoultre Cosmotourbillon” because it has the particularity of going around the dial anti-clockwise – in addition to its timed gyration – in one sidereal day. In other words, in exactly 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds.
Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 « Galaxia » version
For this 45 mm-diameter rose gold piece, the presence of a dial made of grey enamel is noteworthy, a technique that for the first time enters the savoir-faire of the Manufacture’s Métiers rares® workshop (see our article : Spotlight on traditional dials). This pictorial technique used for the sky chart and for the mention of the planets of the solar system appearing on the sides of the dome, was born in France in the 16th century. Intensifying the notion of chiaroscuro by a succession of layers of pigments baked after each application, this way of working increases the sensation of three-dimensionality. The result on gold is certainly striking and identical to what can be observed in the night sky of the Northern Hemisphere, from the 46th parallel, the latitude of the manufacture. Incredibly intense with its black case back, the structure also reveals calendar and zodiac indications pointed out by a small sun-shaped marker. The very complete assembly thus makes it possible to read the average civil time at the tip of the hands, the sidereal time with the tourbillon and the calendar information. And because it could be useful to know the time in total darkness, the watchmakers have added to this wonder, priced at €540,000, a minute repeater function, a greatly prized mechanism that allows to give the exact time down to the minute in music and on request.
Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 « Atomium » at Watches and Wonders 2022
For the 18-carat grey gold version of this 45 mm-diameter piece dedicated to astronomical time, the watchmakers of the Manufacture wanted to work with volumes using more modern techniques and at the same time pay tribute to an architectural monument: the Atomium built in Brussels, Belgium, on the occasion of the 1958 Universal Exhibition. If this building whose the model takes after the name, was supposed to represent an iron atom, the generalized motif for this wonderful watch is here a decorative element created using high techniques including laser welding of the constituent parts. This watch, whose manual wind mechanical calibre ref. 945 also includes the minute repeater function, has the rare characteristic of being very reasonably water-resistant (5 bar). It is a feat because, if this resistance does not allow its owner to dive in a swimming pool with it, it will guarantee him to have peace of mind even if he wears this wonder priced at €565,000 in regions of the world where the incredible humidity and the high heats often get the better of all the references whose water-resistance is not ensured up to at least 30 meters.