Hands on review of the Bonhoff IP3.0W

Feb 17, 2015,14:22 PM

One of the watches that we didn't have the right to miss at the last SalonQP was unquestionably the Bonhoff IP3.0. Indeed, it proves that it is possible to innovate and reinvent the time display while remaining within reasonable concepts and prices.

The IP3.0 which comes in two versions (W: white and B: black) is a confusing watch at first glance. As long as the method of reading the time is not explained, it is fundamentally impossible to quickly guess how it works and what is the purpose of its dial. However, it emerges almost instantaneously a special atmosphere: the purity of the discs on the dial, the absence of number or letter and the amazing integration of the strap make the design of the watch at the same time  contemporary and successful.

The small circles match, it is two o'clock:

The other feeling that IP3.0 provides is that it leaves little room for the imagination, despite its originality. Nothing is sticking, except perhaps the crown, everything is clean at the limit of a clinical coldness which in this context is a component of its success. This watch is of course the image of its creator, Hannes Bonhoff, a graduated acoustic engineer who finds through the launch of his watch brand a vector of his ideas and patents. The IP3.0 takes two of his fundamental ideas:

- the time display on demand
- the bracelet becomes simultaneously an essential component of the case.

Geometry lovers, this watch is for you! Reading the time requires a little effort from the owner of the watch. Just look at the dial and especially the disks. By making the bezel rotate, thanks to the various sapphire glass, the discs move in relation to each other. By aligning the two small disks, a scale appears in the main opening in front of which can be found the unique marker of the watch: a small black square on the upper white disk. The time then can be read like a traditional watch. Then we need to continue the effort to align the two large discs: the scale indicates  the minutes with the same process and the same black square.

The large circles match, it is 50 minutes:

Here we come the crucial point of the Bonhoff IP3.0. Taking into account the time display on demand and the double operation it requires, the watch is primarily dedicated to amateurs who look for interactivity and who take pleasure in having to act, make an effort to ensure that their timepieces deign to offer what they were designed for: to tell the time! Few mechanical watches, even the strangest ones, demand an action in order  that the time appears as if there is a kind of psychological barrier to the deployment of this concept. It is true that we are standing here opposite of what is the first mission of a watch. In the contemporary society where time is so precious, where everything goes faster and faster, it is mandatory to be able to read the time in a fraction of a second and in some cases, discreetly so as not to offend his interlocutor or to display his boredom in a neverending meeting. With the Bonhoff IP3.0, please immediately forgetany time reading with the corner of the eye or at the speed of light. It  creates at the end a different relationship with the flow of time and in a sense makes it much more precious.This is perhaps its greatest virtue and asset!

The "Clous de Paris" allow better handling of the bezel:

The bezel plays a key role because it is the link between the watch and its owner. Handled several times a day, it has to be precise and enjoyable. The notion of effort should not become a long and hard battle! If the IP3.0 seduced me, it is because the rotation of the bezel is perfectly balanced: it is neither too hard nor too soft, it is ideally suited to the function which was assigned to it. The matching of small and large discs is thus carried with pleasure.

The IP3.0 beyond its original concept is also an aesthetic success. Purified to the extreme, at the limit of austerity, the watch is distinguished by its "roundness" enhanced by the surprising strap. It hugs the case, embraces it up to become on of its components. The result is visually very surprising and also convincing from the comfort on the wrist perspective. The diameter of the titanium case is obviously impressive (44,3mm) but the absence of lugs reduces the perceived size. Morevover, the strap is not a trick from a designer. It maintains the watch on the wrist with efficiency and the IP3.0 is worn with pleasure thanks also to the light case.

Another adjective that came to mind by observing and manipulating the IP3.0 is that of "reasonable". The iconoclastic and confusing side does not request a display module with superlative technical prowess. The watch remains simple in its design and in the movement that powers it, an ETA2824-2 with elaborate finish. The rotor has however been redesigned to remind the shapes dial side. The consequence of this choice is obvious: the IP3.0 is sold with a price of 4,300 euros TTC what is ultimately an adjusted price considering the overall quality, the feelings given by the bezel and above all the atmosphere created by this  piece unique of its kind.

The IP3.0 is a watch that appeals to me. Obviously its principle goes against what a watch should be: an instrument for quick and easy reading of the time. And it is this "against the grain" side that I like the most, I found myself playing a lot  with the circles, more to draw shapes on the dial that to truly read the time. The interactivity it offers combined with the contemporary and aesthetic context  make it very seducing. But please never forget that the IP3.0 is primarily intended for people who like to rarely and quietly catch the passing of time.

Thanks to Hannes Bonhoff for his warm welcome during the SalonQP 2014.


+ An original aesthetic
+ Interactivity created by the time display on demand
+ The feeling caused by the handling of the bezel
+ The basic and reliable movement
+ The comfort on the wrist despite the size

- The removal of the crown would have made the watch even more aesthetically successful
- Even when you are used with it, time reading is not instantaneous: If you are very often in a hurry, forget this watch

This message has been edited by foversta on 2015-02-17 14:23:00

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Comments: view entire thread


The existentialist watch that I could not get

 By: MTF : February 18th, 2015-02:19
FrX, Thanks for the report. I walked around Salon QP on both days and could not get to this watch. Day 1 was too crowded and the champagne glasses got in the way ;) Also, I was there to see the public premiere of Chopard LUC 1963 Chrono PuristS' Edition. ... 

Like the design and interactivity of this watch...

 By: jporos : February 18th, 2015-13:07
agree that the presence of the crown takes away from the clean design idea. Perhaps a rotating case back like a Pita watch would solve the problem? Thanks for posting this beauty, Foversta!

just plain silly

 By: ribasch : February 18th, 2015-13:44
looks like an ego trip