In my recent teaser post I hinted a new watch developed by Paul Gerber. The key image was this:
While it is always interesting to learn about a new watch by some of the independent watchmaking geniuses around, it gets particularly exciting if the said new creation can be considered affordable (in relative terms). This is where the subject of this post enters.
When I visited Zurich a few weeks ago, Paul phoned me and said I should come, I would not regret... I obeyed and was not disappointed. What I saw was unexpected in terms of design and price-point, but not in terms of horlogerie à la Paul... In his typical whimsical way, he hinted that he had something to show that might interest me. Well, that was a clear understatement!
What he produced was a brass testing case that did not look particularly exciting...
But as we connoisseurs know, the scene plays often in the backyard:
For those of you who are familiar with Mr Gerber's watches, you will certainly be reminded on his Retro-Twin, which features an automatic movement driven by two synchronised rotors:
With his new model, plainly named Cal. 42, Paul goes ahead and adds a third rotor to the game. But more on this later.
In terms of design, I was totally surprised when I saw this case mock-up (produced by 3D-printing) that is a clear departure of the classic, breguesque offering we know from him:
Totally clean, clear lines, nothing embellished or witty as I would have expected! Here now comes Paul's passion for control-line model aeronautics to play. The new watch is designed as a sporty, robust and legible watch. It comes in a 42mm case made of surgical titanium, with 100m water resistance and a screw-down crown. The dial is offered in two versions, the «synchron» model with green numerals (left) and thoroughbred aviator's watch in black & white (right). The script is Paul's own ('I developed it years ago and recently found it on my hard drive...'):
I'll come to the two models in separate posts. First, I would like to tackle the commonalities! The case exudes the confidence of an instrument, with athletic dimensions and robust construction. The case-back, with a sapphire glass allowing to admire Paul's most distinctive hand-writing, is held by 7 screws:
The movement is based upon the trusted and reliable ETA 2824-2. Paul modified that automatic winding system to give it his own, distinctive touch. Building upon the experience he gained with transforming the hand-wound ETA-Peseux 7001 into an automatic movement with two rotors, he wanted to go one step further and introduce an additional, third rotor! Note: this is an unfinished, prototype movement!
The fascinating treat is that the radii of the rotors actually overlap. Despite this, they never touch each other!
How is this achieved? Actually, its pretty simple and straightforward. It becomes obvious once the rotors are removed:
The central wheel (which replaced the original, central rotor of the ETA movement) has a double function. It not only transmits the energy to the mainspring, its also acts as the coordinator of the three rotors: Each of them is aligned in a specific angle towards the neighbouring ones. Furthermore, the shape of each rotor is optimised in order to prevent contact.
The entire changes consist of three rotors (made of 18ct gold each), three custom-made ball bearing (one/rotor) and one additional gear. That's it! Ingenious, isn't it?
Now we come to a last surprise before I post pictorials of each watch: The price! For this entirely Swiss watch (ok, the case comes from Germany) made by the hands of one of the legendary master watchmakers, modified with a unique mechanism, the price is exactly CHF 4'875.-!
I hope you liked this introduction.
All the best,
Technical Data Cal. 42:
· Titanium case
· Case diameter 42 mm
· Indexes and hands with Superluminova
· Front and back sapphire glass
· Date enlarged
· Three 18 ct gold rotors
· Base movement ETA 2824-2
· 25 Rubies
· Waterproof 10 ATM
· Screw-down crown
· Power reserve 38h
· Movement diameter 36 mm
· Movement height 6.1 mm
· Case back with seven screws
· Individually numbered
· Price: CHF 4'875.- This message has been edited by Magnus Bosse on 2011-03-06 09:22:07