Co-founded by Kees Engelbarts and Paul Pertijs, Cornelius & Cie’s first watch collection is Chronosome 46XY. This stunning model features a 1935 A. Schild movement with eccentrically placed barrel. The unique position of the barrel is immediately evident by the shape of the case.
Introduced in April 2008, the first collection presented consists of 12 Chronosome 46XY watches. There are 3 models: with completely skeletonised movement and dial (2 pieces in platinum, 2 pieces in red gold), with partly skeletonised movement and closed dial (4 pieces in red gold) and with Côtes de Genève decoration (4 pieces in red gold). Total 12 timepieces.
The heart of the Chronosome 46XY watch is an astonishing movement. The Calibre AS 690 was developed and produced by the A. Schild company in Grenchen, Switzerland, in 1935. It is a sturdy, large movement beating at a steady 18.000 bph. When the strong main spring is fully wound (by hand) the movement has a power reserve of 8 days.
|The Chronosome 46XY watch in Platinum case|
The decisive feature of the movement is the large barrel placed in an extremely eccentrical position. Why A. Schild constructed the movement in such a way is unknown; it is a distinct possibility the movement originally was not intended for use in wrist watches but designed for other uses such as pocket watches or automotive instrumentation. However, when he first saw Calibre AS 690, Kees Engelbarts was impressed by the quality of its construction, its pleasingly different design and the accurate timekeeping it provided.
Apart from the position of the barrel the movement features two other interesting construction details. There is a pusher located at two o’clock that disconnects the winding crown from the winding mechanism so that the crown can be used to turn the hands. And A. Schild used a rather unique shock absorbing system to protect the balance. The leaf spring shock absorber is not unlike the Pare-chute system developed by Abraham-Louis Breguet.
Cornelius & Cie has acquired a sufficiently large quantity of the AS 690 calibres to manufacture at least 100 Chronosome 46XY watches. Enough spare parts are available to guarantee future servicing and repairs.
Every movement is taken apart piece by piece. Every single part is embellished by hand and rhodium plated. Kees Engelbarts executes the engraving and finishing on the skelonized movements by hand. Then each movement is reassembled by a team of qualified watchmakers lead by Jerôme Willert, formerly working at Breguet. The unique movements are placed inside the unique cases manufactured by Michel Josserand (Besançon, France).
The dial is produced by Cador (Basle, Switzerland); its thickness of 1 mm increases the aesthetic quality and provides ample space for engraving. Front and back of the case are sealed with flat sapphire glasses. Because of the asymmetrical case Kees Engelbarts had to design a completely unique strap attachment system using two small brass wedges to lock the alligator strap in its place.
Each Chronosome 46XY watch will be presented in a specially designed box including an Orbita watch winder (specially tuned to the strong mainspring of the movement). The possibility is offered to have the top of the barrel engraved with a text or a picture, turning each watch into an extremely personal one. The engraving can daily be seen through a window in the dial.
The Chronosome 46XY watches are the first models produced by Cornelius & Cie. Initial production is 12 watches only, but the company expects to produce 100 Chronosome 46XY watches in 2008. In 2009 Cornelius & Cie will introduce a sportier version of the Chronosome 46XY with automatic movements and steel cases.
Designs for a ladies’ Chronosome 46XX have already started. 2010 will see the introduction of watches with more complicated movements. Kees Engelbarts and Paul Pertijs are considering the development of a proprietary movement to be introduced after 2010. Total production capacity of the Geneva-based workshop is expected to grow to 300 watches per year.
|The Chronosome 46XY watch in 18k Gold case|
The name Chronosome is a merger of the words Chronos and Some. ‘Chronos’ is the Greek word for time, the personification of time being a god-like creature also known as Father Time. ‘Some‘ comes from the Greek word ‘soma’, meaning ‘body’. Cornelius & Cie has chosen the world Chronosome because it merges these two concepts of time and body beautifully. Of course the reference to the chromosome is not unintended.
The number 46 indicates the number of chromosomes per human cell. Because the first series of watches are designed for the male wrist, Cornelius & Cie has added XY, XY being the code to indicate male humans in the sex-determination system used to indicate male humans.
The ladies’ watches will have 46XX as standard reference. So the Chronosome 46XY is the ‘time body’ for the human male, the Chronosome 46XX is the ‘time body’ for the human female.
The watches are presented in a luxury box, including an Orbita watch winder (specially tuned to keep the strong main spring perfectly wound) and an extra barrel. The barrel is engraved with a personal text or picture.
Platinum or 18K rose gold (5N)
Diameter: 49 mm
Thickness: 16.30 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Back: sapphire crystal
A.Schild Calibre 690 from1935, rhodinum and/or gold plated, embellished by hand, engraved and/or skeletonised by hand
Power reserve:8 days
Jewelling:17 jewels (13 from the original movement, 4 added)
Alligator with 18K gold buckle