Introduced in 2012 by Andreas Strehler, Cocon is a technical masterpiece which is only recognisable at second glance.
In 2008, Andreas Strehler presented his own interpretation of an emotional, sensual watch-movement – the Papillon. His aim was to create a living organism that would hold the observer spellbound.
To produce this fascination, Andreas Strehler developed a technical language of his own in the form of the Papillon. He drew his inspiration from the elegance of the technical progress of the late 19th century, like the floral elements of the Art Nouveau. Inspired by the art of traditional Swiss watch making, Andreas Strehler created his own methods to make the construction of his watch movements unique. First he broke with the classical link between the main plate and the bridge, the dial and the movement side, since this would have had a restricting effect on his ideas.
For Andreas Strehler, the most important aspect of his Cocon was the clarity of the dial, without neglecting a special elegance which is basic to all of his watches. His idea was to have a visible gear train allowing one to look deeply into the movement and see it working. The supporting elements were to be kept to a minimum, but they should have an aesthetic form to captivate the observer. Andreas Strehler needed no more than three wheels to create his idea of a living watch-organism. The time is almost hidden above the two barrels, mystérieuse on two toothed glass discs, without the driving mechanism being visible.
Andreas Strehler‘s Cocon is a further development of the Papillon. Whereas the living technology was the main feature of the Papillon, Andreas Strehler now puts the emphasis on the readability of the time. Time, and its division, was to be emphasized, without diverting from his basic technological principles.
The gear train, previously so dominant, is now hidden beneath the dial, invisible to the wearer. The delicate butterfly shaped cage, formerly the visible hallmark of the movement, is now at the back of the watch, well protected, but still visible under glass. The butterfly, or Papillon in French, thus withdraws into the background, in its cocoon, hidden under the dial.
Strehler opted against the classical layout of the dial displaying hours and minutes with a separate small seconds dial. Instead the breathing of the spirals is visible through the dial. This enables the beholder to immerse himself into the dial, his eye, caught by the seconds-hand, experiences the different steps of time as they are displayed at differing levels. The positioning of the small-seconds at 10 is a remarkable feat.
The Papillon was constructed with the aim of producing a harmonious movement with original ideas which can show the time, but need not do so necessarily. The most important aspect was to be the harmony of the mechanics, the elegance and aesthetic of form and the interaction of the wheels which beat the time. And although the movement is composed of metal, it should appear as something from nature.
To achieve this, Andreas Strehler chose a totally new configuration for the construction of the movement, abandoning the traditional difference between the face and the back of the watch. By this apparent break with tradition, Andreas Strehler introduced new ideas without dispensing with the traditional craftsmen‘s methods of decoration which underline optically the quality of his work. The bevelling in the internal edges was carried to the limit in the Papillon.
The movement is constructed in a different way to that of any other watch. Whilst Andreas Strehler is careful to construct his movement along classic lines, it must not be similar to movements of the past. At a second glance, this movement appears as his own and modern interpretation of the traditional watchmakers‘craft.
For example, he manages without the classical main plate of a central plate with its various cut-outs. It was important for him to create an aesthetic movement. The elegance of the central plate is enhanced by Côtes de Genève and appears as a mainspring bridge, rather than the central element. And in order to stress the optical impression of an organically formed movement, Andreas Strehler opted for a central bridge in the shape of a butterfly.
The construction of the movement, its shape, follows the technical necessities. In this way the position of the two barrels and the balance wheel form a basic slanted oval shape which corresponds with the shape of the watch-case.
The Papillon movement is a technical masterpiece. Its mechanics are reduced to the absolute minimum. For the Papillon, Andreas Strehler uses only three wheels for the transmission of power – the central wheel, intermediate wheel and escapement wheel. The shape of the central wheel and the intermediate wheel dominates the appearance of the Papillon. And this impression is increased by the smooth rounding of the bevelled wheels.
Although the Papillon movement appears very simple, it manifests a number of nice details which will please the hearts of everyone interested in mechanics. The two barrels provide the Papillon with a guaranteed power reserve of 80 hours, although the energy stored in both barrels would enable a much longer power reserve. They are connected in parallel and thus guarantee smooth winding and the even action of the two mainsprings. Besides the generous power reserve, the use of two barrels brings further advantages, for example the almost total elimination of bearing pressure on the central wheel – thus enabling optimal timekeeping precision.
A further special detail is the use of genuine conical gear wheels for the winding wheel and the winding pinion. As a result, these show no wear in the transmission of power and are therefore extremely long-lasting. In addition, their special gear tooth system enables the watch to be wound up smoothly and lightly.
The movement of the Cocon is Andreas Strehler‘s further interpretation of a movement as a living organism. But this time he places the emphasis on the clarity of the dial, whilst the mechanics are hidden beneath it and may only be viewed under the glass back of the watchcase. The hour and minute hands are complemented by a small seconds hand. But the movement of the Cocon was not to be any thicker than that of the Papillon despite this conventional dial. Andreas Strehler ruled out a simple modification of the Papillon movement. That would have entailed too many modifications. Especially as the small seconds was to be in the direct flow of power. He did not intend the Cocon movement to be a simplified version of an existing movement. It was to be a unique, novel interpretation reduced to a technical minimum.
Once again Andreas Strehler diverted from the classical movement construction and chose instead a central plate on which he positioned the gear train with its additional seconds-wheel without altering the position of the barrels or the balance-wheel.
Although a completely new construction, the general shape of the movement was maintained. The cogged-wheels, now smaller, are still the same shape as in the Papillon. And the butterfly, as the shape of the bridge, is also to be found in the Cocon. Here, however, it is faced towards the wearer of the watch and hidden from the public eye. It was the small seconds dial that made the decisive modifications necessary. And they demanded of Andreas Strehler an even greater degree ofprecision. It‘s true that the Papillon was renowned for excellent time-keeping. But Strehler‘s aim was to do even better with the Cocon with its clear dial and the seconds-hand, which is an invitation to check on the watch‘s precision. In order to achieve this, the oscillation frequency of the balance was increased from 18 000 (2.5Hz) to 21 600 (3 Hz). This increase in the oscillation frequency brought about the greater reliability and time-keeping precision that the small seconds-hand deserved.
With its two barrels, the Cocon has a theoretical power reserve of between 90 and 100 hours. But because Andreas Strehler attaches great importance to time-keeping precision, the movement has energy for only 78 hours at its disposal. A further unwinding of the mainsprings is prevented by means of an epicyclic gear set. This limitation enables Andreas Strehler to achieve an almost linear deployment of energy plus an optimal power flow and constant precision for the whole time that the watch is running, made possible by avoiding a strong reduction in torque as the mainsprings gradually unwind. The use of an epicyclic gear set to limit the working of the mainsprings also reduces friction. And the parallel connected barrels are a further advantage. They guarantee a constant winding and unwinding of the mainsprings.
Aside from these modifications, Andreas Strehler retained the conically cogged conical gear wheel in the winding gear set because of the advantages they bring with them. This basic form was to be integrated into the watchcase and reflected in the materials used.
The form of the movement follows the technical necessities. The desired technology – two barrels, a relatively large balance-wheel – led to an optimal alignment with the slanting oval shape of the movement. Just as the proportions of the movement are determined by the technology, so is the shape of the watchcase determined by the movement. Andreas Strehler‘s movement is an integrated product, specially developed and constructed for the watch. It is therefore instrumental in determining the shape of the watch. Andreas Strehler made the form of the movement an element for the configuration for the watchcase. He believed this would meet with applause from any connoisseur of wristwatches. In this way the movement and the watchcase combine to formnot only a unity of design, but a unity of technology as well. This thought goes on to the crown which us reminiscent of a flower and thus reflects the living interior of the watch.
As a result of this attentive dedication to form, the wearer is able to develop a personal relationship with his wristwatch. And in order to guarantee the restoration of the case of the Papillon or the Cocon to a condition as good as new, even after decades, Andreas Strehler paid special attention to the factor of durability during its construction. That is why the case is a complex construction with no fewer than 12 elements. And the modular construction makes it possible for customers to choose their individual material combinations and so create their own, personal wristwatch.
The Coco has a slightly modified case with shorter lugs and even more harmonious proportions. In order to emphasize the organic form of movement and watchcase, Andreas Strehler opted for red-gold because of its particularly warm colour.
Case, dial and strap
Case: Red gold (5N) or steel, 41 mm
Dial ring: Sapphire glass
Hour/Minute Hands: Steel blue or gold
Sec-Hand: Steel blue
Strap: Salmon leather gray
Water resistance: 3 ATM
Type: Mechanical (manual winding)
Power reserve: 78 hours
Satellite gear stopworks
Conical winding gears
Size: Tonneau shape (l: 32.0 / w: 30.0 / t: 5.9 mm)
Frequency: 3Hz / 21`600 A/h