Unveiled at Salon QP, London In 2012, the Thomas Mercer Classis by Andrew Winch Designs Inspired by the form of a winch, is the result of collaboration between two of the great names in chronometry and yacht design respectively. The fine ebony macassar body, produced by the internationally renowned furniture manufacturers, Linley, also represents British craftsmanship at its very best.
Classis, derived from the Latin word for fleet, heralds the next generation of Thomas Mercer chronometers. This ultimate collector’s piece is made in a limited edition of ten timepieces.
With twelve facets to the Winch casing, delicate hand carved details recount the important voyages which explored the seas and oceans and discovered the world as we know it. Engraved into each of the twelve case faces is the profile of a famous ship selected for its contribution to marine navigation. Accompanying each hand etched profile are the coordinates of the ship’s most significant discovery, and its name intricately inlaid in satinwood into the fine ebony Macassar case.
The Classis is a celebration of the greatest maritime discoveries , beginning with SY Santa Maria, pinpointing Christopher Columbus’ first footfall in the Americas, and travelling through to the SY Endurance, the ship of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and inextricably linked with the brand history as it was a Thomas Mercer chronometer that enabled Shackleton’s heroic escape from the ice.
The thrilling quest for Longitude is recounted through the seminal journey of HMS Deptford to Port Royalwhen Harrison’s H4 chronometer was tested. It further depicts Cook’s first two voyages making great advances in navigation: the Endeavour (via Tahiti to Observe the Transit of Venus) by lunar distance calculation, and then the Resolution (first penetration of the Antartic Circle), by chronometer.
Uniting these twelve voyages together, the Classis has a precisely designed Mercator Map projected from the dial. Synonymous with her exquisite casing, the CLASSIS contains the most beautiful of mechanisms. Visible from the dial, the escapement, the beating heart of the timekeeper, comes in its par excellence form, the Spring Detente. Marked with a stunning bi-colour selective finish, the movement is a beautiful combination of both polished and grené effects.
A unique feature of the CLASSIS chronometer is the gimbals suspension that allows the movement to remain horizontal regardless of the motion of the ship – ideal for achieving maximum accuracy. A specifically designed lever allows the movement case to be locked in its reverse position, so that the exquisite mechanism can be clearly seen and admired from the face of the timepiece.
The CLASSIS, featuring the traditional elements of a pure chronometer, has been transformed into an objet d’art; a testament of both the quality and innovation of Thomas Mercer.
The extraordinary grace of the escapement, the beating heart of the mechanism in its par excellence form, the Spring Détente, is visible for the first time through the dial. The gimbals suspension allows the movement to remain horizontal regardless of the motion of the ship, creating the ideal conditions for delivering the accuracy with which Thomas Mercer marine chronometers are synonymous.
The Thomas Mercer Classis by Andrew Winch Designs is beautifully conceived and finished in every detail. The winding key, for example, is presented in a hidden draw, and is inset into a Macassar Ebony panel, produced by Linley.
The facade of the timepiece brings together those celebrated ships that embarked on the most significant voyages of discovery to form a fleet unparalleled in the history of navigation. The departure year and coordinates of each journey’s most significant points are engraved on the case alongside a representation of the ship. The twelve enduring names are beautifully set in satinwood inlaid on a fine ebony macassar body.
The unique beauty of the Classis exterior is reflected in the inner workings of the mechanism. Whilst retaining the traditional elements of a pure chronometer, the movement represents the revival of an historic craft that Thomas Mercer is uniquely positioned to revive. Set into the timepiece’s equally stunning dial, the fleet’s twelve journeys are symbolically united in the Mercator Map detail.
The mechanism’s stunning bi-colour selective finish – a beautiful combination of polished and grené effects that magnifies the beauty of its components – results in the chain and fuse drive shining together to magnify the allure of the magnificently crafted components.
This master piece is powered with the Thomas Mercer’s new calibre, the TM0801. This Spring Détente Escapement formed of helical spring and ovalising balance, represents the commitment to combining innovation with heritage and authenticity. The real heart of the timepiece, in its par excellence form, is the Spring Détente. Aspiring to the theoretically perfect balance, the mechanism revives a challenging but fascinating art form, and delivers the best results in terms of isochronism. Thomas Mercer also introduced the Ovalising Balance, a solution featuring a bar which does not expand or contract with changes in temperature and which forces the balance into an oval shape. This, coupled with an uncut rim which makes centrifugal errors practically disappear, leads to a great reduction in residual and ‘middle temperature’ errors.
Material: AISI 316 stainless steel
Finish: Hand polished and 4N gold plating (5 μm thickness)
Suspension: Double gimbals, counterbalance free and double lock
Glasses: Extra-white crystal
Engraving Image and name of the ship, departure year, coordinates of significant point reached during the voyage of discovery
Setting 24 rhomboidal plaques set with Ebony
Drawer: Hidden type, with push-catch opening and Ebony setting to host the winding key
Base diameter: 423mm
Top ring diameter: 296mm
Main Timber Macassar Ebony
Inlays: Satinwood (dividers between Macassar Ebony, lettering)
Finish: A/C lacquer 70% sheen, full grain finish, burnished
Material: Solid Brass
Technique: Bas-relief (hour ring, main body, power-reserve indicator counter)
Finish: Rhodium and 4N Gold electroplating, dial mask featuring grené technique
Setting Hour ring in Macassar Ebony and Roman applique numerals
Engraved Mercator Map
Hands: Blued steel, hand made
Power Reserve: 8 days
Escapement: Spring Détente
Oscillator: Ovalising balance with cylindrical weights
Drive: Mechanical spring with Fusee and Steel chain system
Hour, minute, second
Indications: Power reserve indicator at 12, small seconds with visible escapement at 6
Rhodium and 4N Gold electroplating
Inner plate in 4N Gold featuring grené technique
Skeletonised back plate with selective bi-colour electroplating
Andrew Winch Designs
Andrew Winch Designs is an award winning British based design studio, founded in 1986 by the designer Andrew Winch. Their diverse portfolio encompasses yachts, aviation and architecture, each project is entirely unique – reflecting the client’s tastes and lifestyle. What underpins all of their work is quality, attention to detail and the enthusiasm of their team. Working with the leading shipyards and completion centres all over the world, Andrew Winch Designs are recognized internationally for their exquisite designs.
Andrew Winch Designs is recognised as one of the UK’s foremost international designers, dedicated to turning dreams into works of art. In 1986 Andrew Winch launched Andrew Winch Designs with his wife Jane. Their first project was the Swan 36 with gullwing windows, which was quickly followed by the C&N 46 Bluewater Cruising yacht. In the following 26 very successful years, Andrew Winch Designs have completed 32 sailing yachts, 24 motor yacht projects and 14 aviation projects.