Watchmaking is one of the most complicated and respected crafts in the world, and for a reason. Making a single timepiece can take years sometimes. Some watchmakers have dedicated their time and creativity to deliver exquisite timepieces, that you probably won’t even believe are real. Here are five extraordinary watches, with the most unbelievable designs and features.
Jacob & Co. – Astronomia Tourbillon
The Astronomia Tourbillon has four satellite arms hypnotically rotating around the dial. One of the four is the time indicator, which rotates around the circumference of the dial every 20 minutes. The second satellite features the tourbillon spinning consistently within its cage every minute, while the third satellite ha a hand painted spinning globe at its end. Finally, the fourth satellite is where we see a glistening rotating diamond. To emulate the vast feeling of space, the background of the dial is made from aventurine, covered with countless twinkling stars. For a complete view of the stunning Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon miniature universe, the rose gold case is protected by sapphire crystal on all sides. With this timepiece you’ll always have the mysteries of time and space close at hand.
Harry Winston – Opus XI
First established in 2000, the Opus collection from famous jeweller and watch maker Harry Winston is where the brand flexes its watchmaking mastery. The eleventh edition of the series, the Opus XI, was created by Denis Giguet, who was guided by the concept of time explosion. An elaborate puzzle of pieces spins around to reveal the hour of the day in the centre of the main dial, while the minutes are indicated via two discs on a smaller sub-dial attached on the side. The Opus XI gives the illusion that the pieces are breaking apart with each turn of the hour, only for them to come back together again. Incredibly, this watch is powered by a movement that is composed of 566 parts, with each movement having taken about 5 weeks to assemble.
Devon – Tread 1 & Tread 2
These incredible creations come from LA-based watchmakers Devon. Their Tread 1 and Tread 2 watches are powered by innovative movements based on a patented system of interwoven time belts that indicate the hour, minutes and seconds, all controlled by an onboard microprocessor. Just watching the dialling motion is truly a mesmerising experience. Powered by a lithium polymer rechargeable cell, the Tread 1 continues to work for up to two weeks on a single charge, after which it can be powered up wirelessly via a charging tower. The larger Tread 1 timepiece with a rectangular case starts at $17.500, while the smaller Tread 2 can be picked up for a cool $12.000. These unconventional pieces of machinery will have you constantly staring at the watch, even when you already know the time.
Christophe Claret – Margot
Another creation from Christophe Claret, the Margot is on the other side of the spectrum from the extreme masculine to the wonderfully feminine. The manufacturer’s first ladies watch complication the ‘Margo’ helps to answer the question ‘He loves me? He loves me not?’ Pressing the pusher at 2 o’clock activates the central flower, where petals fall away and the answers appear in French, the universal language of love. ‘A little’, ‘a lot’, ‘passionately’, ‘madly’ or ‘not at all’ responds the watch. The delicate timepiece even sends out a sweet shine to accompany the animation. The floral motive continues at the back of the case, with eight triangular precious stones accenting at elaborate blossom. A celebration of romance, the whimsical ‘Margot’ is offered in either red or white gold and is exquisitely embellished with mother of pearl and diamonds.
Ulysse Nardin – Stranger
Since their inception, music boxes have fascinated us with their beauty, charm and entrancing sounds. With the intricacies of their inner workings, it almost stands to reason that legendary Swiss masters of mechanical timepieces Ulysse Nardin chose to release the ‘Stranger’ in 2013 – an unique watch, equipped with a music box function. True to its name, the ‘Stranger’ plays Frank Sinatra’s enigmatic song ‘Strangers in the night’. Two years after the debut of the ‘Stranger’ Ulysse Nardin followed it up with a second edition that plays Antonio Vivaldi’s musical piece ‘La Primavera’ from the ‘Four Seasons concerto’. In addition to playing a melody every turn of the hour, the timepiece can also play on demand with a simple push of a button. Both watches feature visible bridges that hit music box style pins on rotating plate, adding to their charm and appeal. Limited to only 99 models, these 45mm rose gold watches are aesthetically beautiful and enchanting to the ear.
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