Founded in 2006 Lucerne, ochs und junior is a highly individual and different “art” brand from Ludwig Oechslin, probably the most interesting and widest thinking watchmaker of our time. Presently the watch brand is co-owned by Ludwig/Kornelia Oechslin and Beat Weinmann. Also, Swiss watch manufacture Ulysse Nardin is a minority share holder of the company.
Born 10 February 1952 in Gabice Mare, Italy, Dr. Ludwig Oechslin is a scientist, philosopher, artist and watchmaker. He was involved on dismantling, restoring and reassembling the famous Farnese astronomical clock in the Vatican. Also, he designed some of the most exciting and innovative wristwatches such as the Freak, Moonstruck, Trilogy of Time, Perpetual GMT, and Sonata for luxury Swiss watch manufacture Ulysse Nardin.
Not long ago he began turning his not inconsiderable attention to developing a collection of wristwatches capable of reflecting his very particular approach to the art and science of horology: ochs und junior. ochs und junior represents a platform for Dr. Oechslin’s innovative, laterally thought horological time sculptures.
Every ochs und junior timepiece incorporates instances of inventive, fresh thinking. Generally speaking, there is a tendency to complexity in the world of watchmaking – which is fine in the few instances where it is warranted. Dr.Oechslin has adopted a philosophy that is at variance with mainstream thinking: his approach is one of simplification, of paring down a complex scenario to arrive its technical essence.
Take, for example, the design for a straightforward, traditional mechanical annual calendar – one that automatically recognises the different lengths of the months and needs the owner’s intervention only at the end of the month of February as it passes into March: such a mechanism usually requires in the region of 40 individual components. The ochs und junior anno cinquanta manages this with just three.
Dr. Oechslin’s three components indicate the date, month and weekday by means of three orange-coloured dots travelling around three circles of apertures perforated in the dial – an entirely novel approach to calendar indication. It quickly becomes second nature to interpret the positions of the dots. As for the movement powering the anno cinquanta, this is a wholly new self-winding calibre designed and built by the great watchmaker, Paul Gerber, a friend and colleague of Ludwig Oechslin. It offers a power reserve in excess of 100 hours.
Dr. Oechslin’s definitive ochs und junior timepieces are much like his prototypes in appearance: he likes the cases to retain visible signs of the workmanship that has gone into making them. The cases of precious metals are milled by Peter Cantieni, the engineer behind the intricate titanium parts used in BMW-Sauber Formula 1 cars. The anno cinquanta comes in red gold, white gold and – a rare thing this in watchmaking – silver (rare because silver is soft and marks relatively easily – but this is precisely what ochs und junior is about: Ludwig Oechslin passionately wants his timepieces to play a part in witnessing their owners’ lived experiences).The dial of the anno cinquanta is fashioned from heat-patinated white gold, a process that produces slightly different results each time. Every dial is a one-off!
Most ochs und junior watches are presented on ecologically tanned leather straps and come in handmade leather wallets. ochs und junior also produces a child-oriented watch: the settimana junior is accompanied by a comic featuring Ludwig Oechslin as the main character. Its watertight Peter Cantieni-machined titanium case is presented on a natural rubber strap.
Its dial features a seven-day calendar which, it too, is based on the orange dot principle explained earlier.