Thomas Mercer presents the Crystal, a brand new marine chronometer paying tribute to the 1980’s eponymous model.
Its distinctive case features a rhomboidal-shaped mechanism floating inside a glass tube.
The original timepiece stood for its ground-breaking, horizontally laid out, eight-day movement mounted within a cylindrical glass revolving case on a rectangular plinth. The dial was partially skeletonised, boasting a silvered Roman chapter ring and eccentric subsidiary dials for seconds and power reserve indicator.
Faithful to its motto “Respecting the past, reinventing the future”, Thomas Mercer now evolves the Crystal by introducing a set of innovative features.
The gold-plated brass frame gives way to elegant stone elements made of orange onyx. This rare variety hails from Mexico and stands for a low level of inclusions, making it almost pure and organic to the sight.
The choice of onyx is also extended to the dial, conferring a refined look whilst maintaining its original sheerness. Such exclusive touch is enriched with elegant applique numbers and counters.
In the ever-present blend of tradition and innovation, the mechanism adds annual calendar and sky chart to the original indications of power reserve and offset seconds.
In perpetuating the brand’s maritime heritage, the sky chart is a homage to antique navigators who, in the olden days, charted their plot course using the stars in combination with a marine chronometer.
The star map shows – in real-time – the constellations over the skies of the Greenwich Observatory or, at request, over a location of the Client’s choice.
Further to the new complications, the movement flaunts an innovative winding and adjusting system. The provisions for winding and setting the hands through the rear of its cylindrical glass are now replaced by two cutting-edge, wristwatch-inspired crowns. These crowns can be pulled in-out and rotated to respectively wind the mechanism and regulate the indications of hour, minute, annual calendar and sky chart.
Further to the new complications, the movement comes with an innovative winding and adjusting system. The provisions for winding and setting the hands through the rear of its cylindrical glass are now replaced by two cutting-edge, wristwatch-inspired crowns. These crowns can be pulled in-out and rotated to respectively wind the mechanism and regulate the indications of hour, minute, annual calendar and sky chart.
As per the brand’s sign of distinction, the mechanism offers an all-round view and features Thomas Mercer’s sine-qua-non chain-fusee drive and spring detent escapement.
The Thomas Mercer Crystal Chronometer measures 295 x 130 x 150 (h) mm to 400 x 260 x 260(h) mm.
To celebrate its 175th anniversary, Ulysse Nardin created UFO, a table/desk clock that pays homage to the brand’s rich history in the manufacturing of marine chronometers.
With its 675 components, and triple-dialled time zones, the UFO is the futuristic interpretation of marine chronometers. The movement of the UFO is inspired by the ocean waves. The entire structure of the clock is built on an imbalance, on a gentle swing which recalls the ebb and flow of the tides, the perpetual movement of the ocean.
The secret of the balance is its blue half-spherical aluminum base, which contains a tungsten mass. The base and glass bell are joined by a bayonet mounting system, which looks similar to the old systems of marine chronometers from which the glass could be unscrewed.
Whereas marine chronometers were housed in wooden boxes and set on gimbles to counter act the effect of the ship’s constant sway, Ulysse Nardin reverses this. Here it is the object itself that makes waves when it is nudged gently. Weighing 7.2 kg, the UFO swings up to 60° from its axis – an amplitude of 120 degrees–and the engineers have accurately calculated the center of the gravity/mass/inertia ratio, which allows UFO to swing neither too fast nor too slowly and without significantly affecting the operation of the balance.
It isn’t just the UFO’s movement that is inspired by the ocean, the architecture is too. The bell under which this incredible creation is housed suggests floating black and yellow cardinal buoys – objects that also provide inspiration for the X sitting in the spine of the table clock. From above, the construction of the UFO seems almost kaleidoscopic, with its emblem, the marine anchor, dominating the heart of the rosette.
The the ovoid glass bell has been created by Romain Montero, a 26-year-old artisan glass blower who works for Verreet Quartz, a technical glass-blowing workshop located on the shores of Switzerland’s Lake Neuchâtel. He had the responsibility for handcrafting for every one of the 75 numbered limited edition UFO glass covers.
To manufacture each 3mm-thick tube, it was necessary to stretch the glass when it was still hot, for more than 45 minutes, using only the naked eye, on a traditional glass-maker’s lathe at temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees. As it is heated the glass is transformed, becomes orange, red, white and morphs through all the hues of pink. The total process takes almost half a day of work: cutting of the glass, blowing, checking the blowing and the measurements, furnace annealing, cutting again, lamination, final and visual inspection, and then cleaning.
Comprising 663 components, and with one year of power reserve supplied by its six extra-large barrels, and a balance wheel rim that reaches the spectacular diameter of 49mm, UFO displays the time on three trapezoidal dials, which are so complex it takes 28 hours to manufacture just eight of them.
Having three dials allows the owner to display three different time-zones at once, seen from three different angles. The XXL brass balance wheel beats at 0.5Hz. It maintains a power reserve of one year.
UFO comes in a wood treasure chest aged as if it been discovered washed upon a beach. In addition to the UFO, this box also contains operating instructions, warranty card and a special place for its winding key.
It takes 40 wind-up turns with a square-end stainless steel key to wind-up the mechanism for one year. Each dial has its wind-up notch, which is also used to set the time (four notches in total, one for winding up and one for each time-zone wound up using a single key).
UFO Table clock
Manually wound movement
3 time zones / Hours, minutes
Extra-large oscillator (49mm)
Frequency: 0.5 Hz /3’600 Alt/H
Power reserve: 1 year, 6 barrels
Aluminum & blown glass
Dimensions: 263 (H) x 159 (Ø) mm
Weight: 7.2 kg
In partnership with Winch Design, British marine-chronometer specialist Thomas Mercer has announced the latest iterations of Nautilus, their horological sculpture fusing interior design and astronomical timekeeping.
The word Nautilus derives from the Latin form of the original Ancient Greek: ναυτίλος (nautilos) which means sailor, a title fitting for this unique sculptural time piece, inspired by the ocean.
Taking inspiration from the spiral of the Nautilus shell, Andrew Winch and the design teams at Winch Design drew an elegant shape that follows the golden ratio of the Fibonacci spiral. Quarter-circle arcs are inscribed with the Fibonacci integers (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 and 21), and the curvature of the stone spirals out from the intricate clock face inside. Nature in its purest form is reflected in the proportions of this exquisite timepiece.
The streamlined yet physically imposing sculpture is the signature work of world-renowned Marmor Hotavlje. Available in sodalite, golden onyx and azul cielo marble, this art piece measures 95x69x21 cm and is crafted through a meticulous process, achievable only by the hands of impeccably skilled master stonemasons.
Synonymous with the characteristics of the ocean, this sinuous and sophisticated sculpture meticulously replicates the chambers characteristic of fossil shells and is impeccably crafted from the hands of traditional stonemasons. Epitomizing Winch Design’s ethos of beauty, uniqueness and perfect proportion, Nautilus is the ultimate statement piece for a super yacht, to be showcased and admired.
A visual and mechanical feat, the mechanism of the Nautilus belongs to the exclusive family of astronomical movements, featuring a perpetual calendar which displays the day of the month, the month, and leap year. It also indicates the equation of time, which represents the difference between solar time (varying throughout the year as the earth nears or distances itself from the sun) and the 24-hours-per-day time (based on the worldwide consensus that every day should have the same duration).
In addition to the zodiac, the celestial coordinates are completed with a magnificent 3-D moon sphere providing the different phases, combined with a moon age display showing – within the lunation cycle of 29 days, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds – the time elapsed since the last new moon.
The mechanism of the clock itself is housed in a truly individual tube case made of extra-white crystal which offers an all-around view of the inner workings, meaning they can be admired in their entirety. The elegant open-work dial magnifies the intricacies of the multi-complicated movement. The hands are steel-made, hand-finished with bluing technique. A final touch of distinction is the double chain-fusee drive which, coupled with barrels, provide the movement with a 30-day power reserve that makes winding it a pleasurable and rare occasion.
Thomas Mercer, Marmor Hotavlje and Winch Design present their latest collaboration – Chelys, an horological sculpture fusing the respective arts of marine chronometry, stone carving and yacht design.
Established in 1986 by Andrew Winch and his wife Jane, Winch Design has grown to be an award-winning multi-disciplinary design studio. The design teams at Winch work tirelessly to create dream, bespoke homes, on land, in the air and at sea. With the focus on extremely high-end, dynamic design for a worldwide client base, Winch Design is recognised as a globally leading studio and has established itself as the go-to for individuals who expect not only the highest levels of design excellence but also a real understanding of how they want to live their lives.
Established in London in 1858, Thomas Mercer is a name forever synonymous with the marine chronometer, the timekeeper invented for determining longitude at sea. Today the company diligently and proudly upholds the tradition of British clock-making by manufacturing exclusive marine and table chronometers that grace the interiors of the finest yachts and residences.
Led by the Selak family, Marmor Hotavlje is one of the foremost stone-cutting companies in the world. In 1721, the residents of the small Slovenian village of Hotavlje discovered the riches hidden in their mountains and carved their first stone. Thus began a rich tradition, which, through generations and generations of stone-cutters, transmits knowledge, skills and love for their craft. In 1948, the workshops at the foot of the quarry joined the Marmor Hotavlje company whose pride today in its history and heritage parallels its excellence in a variety of international projects.
The word Chelys derives from the Latin form of the original Ancient Greek χέλυς (tortoise) which describes a musical instrument made of a shell, its convex form resembling that of this fine chronometer. According to the fable of his Homeric Hymn, Hermes found a tortoise near the threshold of his mother’s house and decided to hollow out the shell to make the soundbox of a seven-stringed instrument, thus inventing the first lyre of the Ancient Greeks.
The sinuous and sophisticated lines of the Chelys are carved out of ivory onyx, a semiprecious white natural stone with immaculate crystalline background and evocative waves undulating through its structure. Named after the Ancient Greek word “ὄνυξ” (nail), legend says that one day Cupid clipped the godly nails of Venus with an arrow-head while she was sleeping, and the Parcae (the three daughters of Zeus) transmuted them into stone, so that no part of the divine body could ever be destroyed. Rare and precious, it has been considered a luxury staple since ancient times. Measuring 44x39x22 cm and weighing 25 kilos, this sculpture is crafted through a meticulous process using traditional hand stone masonry, impeccably executed by Marmor Hotavlje’s skilled artisans.
With a case inspired by a mythological musical instrument, the movement had to mirror it in greatness, and its melody no exception. Like every Thomas Mercer mechanism, the new calibre TM8004 sports the sine-qua-non specifications of a marine timekeeper including the special spring detent escapement. Also known as the “chronometer escapement”, the spring detent is distinguished by its rare one impulse per oscillation, resulting in its individual – and very appropriate for the occasion – sound, featuring one loud and one soft beat.
Among the other subtleties of this precision timekeeper, note the ovalising balance for thermal compensation and the beautiful chain-fusee drive. The horological equivalent of an infinitely variable gearbox-speed, the latter equalises the waning force of the mainspring by delivering the mechanism an ever constant amount of energy. As the force decreases, the chain moves from the top to the base of the cone, increasing its leverage to keep the torque constant.
The movement is housed in a tube case made of extra-white crystal, offering an all-around view of the inner workings which can be admired in their entirety. The elegant open-work dial magnifies the intricacies of the multi-complicated movement and its stone setting pairs perfectly with the onyx body. The hands are steel-made, hand-finished with bluing technique.
A truly unique celebration of horology, design and stone-carving, Chelys will be unveiled at Monaco Yacht Show 2019 – indisputably the leading event of the superyacht industry – held in Monte Carlo from the 26th to the 29th of September.
Thomas Mercer and Linley have announced the launch of Aquilo, a multi-complicated timekeeper that fuses their respective disciplines in marine chronometry and cabinet-making to create a unique horological furniture.
Founded by David Linley in 1985 with the aim of designing and manufacturing furniture of the highest quality, Linley enjoys today a world-renowned reputation for blending innovative design with superlative cabinet-making. A passion for people, design and the pursuit of excellence continues to be the driving force of the business and Linley has grown from private commissions to retail furniture, gifts and accessories, interior design, fitted kitchens and cabinetry. Epitomising quintessential British style, each Linley piece stands for inventiveness, meticulous attention to detail, ingenuity, creative spirit, eccentricity, sophistication, wit and charm.
Established in London 1858, Thomas Mercer is a name forever synonymous with the Marine Chronometer, the instrument invented in the 18th century to determine longitude at sea. With a dashing heritage that includes the timekeepers equipping the Royal Yacht Britannia as well as those used by Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Francis Chichester during their legendary feats of sailing, today the company proudly upholds the tradition of British clock-making by manufacturing fine chronometers that grace the interiors of the world’s most exclusive yachts and residences.
Meaning North in Latin and evoking the eponymous star, the name Aquilo celebrates the link between chronometry and astronomy, observation of the stars being at the foundation of both timekeeping and navigation. British Horology reached its zenith in the XVIII century with both the invention of the marine chronometer – the instrument that solved the problem of longitude determination in open seas – and the creation of some of the most extraordinary astronomical timepieces ever made in history. With its sophisticated astronomical movement encased in a cabinet of the utmost refinement, the Aquilo is thus designed to appeal to customers who value pedigree and lineage, handcrafted quality and peerless design.
The design of this stunning, streamlined piece is inspired by the bow of a yacht and its cabinet, made from slip match blue eucalyptus with a streak of solid oxidised oak, has several details which evoke the sea, such as the subtle la rose des vents engraved into the base. The base has a mirror set into the surface so the movement can be reflected thereon.
The mechanism is housed in a case made from marine-grade stainless steel offering an all-around view of the inner workings which can be admired in their entirety, from every angle, free from distortion thanks to a set of extra-white crystals. The elegant open-work dial magnifies the intricacies of the multi-complicated movement and replicates the same veneer found in the cabinet. Its counters feature numerals finely obtained through a bas-relief technique, and the hands are steel-made, hand-finished with bluing technique.
The case is mounted on a set of gimbals, a trait distinctive of marine chronometers. They can either be blocked or freed to let the clock keep an even keel with the surface of the Earth (a condition of its accuracy). Once unlocked, they let the observer twist and take a peek at the movement, although its sheer weight makes it a delicate operation. The timekeeper is hand wound by a turnkey, inspired by the winch on the boat, and stored within the piece.
To mark the launch of the Aquilo, Thomas Mercer introduces for the occasion a completely new movement, the Calibre TM3002. A mechanical feat, the TM3002 belongs to the exclusive family of astronomical movements, featuring a perpetual calendar which displays date of the month, month, leap year.
It also indicates the equation of time, which represents the difference between solar time – which varies throughout the year as the earth nears or distances itself from the sun – and the 24-hours-per-day time, based on the worldwide consensus that every day should have the same duration. In addition to the zodiac, the celestial coordinates are completed with a magnificent 3-D moon sphere providing the different phases, combined with a moon age display showing – within the lunation cycle of 29 days, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds – the time elapsed since the last new moon.
A marine chronometer is an instrument that is both precise – stays synchronised with an external standard time – and accurate – the frequency of its oscillator is stable over time. Moreover, its high efficiency must be achieved during navigation and across a varied range of temperatures and positions. Like every Thomas Mercer movement, the Calibre TM3002 features the sine-qua-non specifications of a marine timekeeper: chain-fusee drive and spring detent, also known as the “chronometer escapement”.
Working as an infinitely variable gearbox, the former is responsible for delivering the mechanism an ever-constant rate of energy, whereas the latter, with its escape wheel directly impulsing the balance without any lever or anchor in between, increases escapement efficiency, joining together in the perfect combination for accuracy timepieces. The escapement is coupled with a balance of ovalising type, solution featuring an invar bar which forces the brass balance into an oval shape as the temperature varies, thus granting thermal compensation. A final touch of distinction is the double chain-fusee drive which, coupled with barrels provide the movement with a 30-day power reserve that makes winding it a pleasurable and rare occasion.
Only recently made first visible to the public gaze during its launch at the Monaco Yacht Show at Monte Carlo, September 26th-29th, the Aquilo will now be on display at Linley Belgravia, 60 Pimlico Road, (London) SW1.
Thomas Mercer has created a special edition of the Greenwich Marine Chronometer in partnership with Foglizzo Leather.
Founded 1921 in Turin, the Foglizzo brand is a world leader in the design and development of high quality leathers for clients who require exclusivity and individual customization. Building on the experience gained from its long heritage of crafting leather for the restoration of antique cars, today the Italian company supplies exclusive high quality leather to the yachting, aviation, motor and residential interior design industries.
Established in London in 1858, Thomas Mercer is a name forever synonymous with the marine chronometer, the timekeeper invented for determining longitude at sea. Today the company diligently and proudly upholds the tradition of British clock-making by manufacturing exclusive marine and table chronometers that grace the interiors of the finest yachts and residences.
Inspired by the beautiful marine chronometers jealously guarded today in Flamsteed House at the Royal Observatory, and once upon a time used in ships’ wheelhouses to navigate, explore and map the world, the Greenwich vaunts a fine cabinet veneered in Macassar ebony with inlays in satinwood. Its traditionally finished silvered dial boasts two distinctive apertures displaying the intricate mechanism featuring the sine-qua-non specifications of a marine chronometer: chain-fusee drive and spring detent escapement.
This special execution is enriched with a truly beautiful map, painstakingly crafted by Foglizzo and depicting the Atlantic Challenge, the legendary ocean crossing made by Sir Francis Chichester in 1971, in which he broke the solo sailing speed barrier of 200 nautical miles a day, navigating his Gipsy Moth V and using Thomas Mercer chronometer no. 23543 for calculating longitude.
The new-born masterpiece was unveiled during the Monaco Yacht Show 2017, held from the 27th to the 30th of September.
Thomas Mercer announces the launch of its latest creation, the Greenwich, the marine chronometer paying tribute to the eponymous model that was actually the latest timekeeper the company created in the 20th century.
A beautifully crafted box evokes the timekeepers jealously guarded today in Flamsteed House at the Royal Observatory and once upon a time used in ships’ wheelhouses to navigate, explore and map the world. Finely veneered in Macassar ebony and Santos rosewood, and with inlays in satinwood, this cabinet boasts a very distinctive high-gloss finish that embellishes not only its exterior but also – much rarer – its interior surface.
An octagonal bezel invites one to admire both the dial of the chronometer from above, and the case assembly with its double gimbals suspensions. Made for the occasion in gold plated brass, the new case is designed to display the sophisticated mechanism in all its beauty when locked in its reverse position, hence a cylindrical tube and a 15mm thick bottom glass – both in extra-white crystal – offering an all-round view of the movement.
The dial shows a traditional silvered finish with golden applique numbers and two apertures respectively displaying the sine-qua-non specifications of a marine chronometer: chain-fusee drive and spring detent escapement. Working as an infinitely variable gearbox, the former is responsible for delivering the mechanism an ever constant rate of energy, whereas the latter, with its escape wheel directly impulsing the balance without any lever/anchor in between, increases escapement efficiency, joining together in the perfect combination for accuracy timepieces. Second and power reserve indicators have been respectively off-set at 3 and 9 o’clock to create a truly individual layout while fully respecting the centenary tradition of these precision timekeepers.
The Greenwich adopts the completely new calibre TM0803, which represents the evolution of the TM0801 launched in 2012. Continuing the philosophy of showing the beautiful precision engineering from the dial, the newly released mechanism now further enhances it, thanks to its reversed chain fusee drive and escapement platform; 8 days of power reserve, ovalising balance and blued screws complete this masterpiece of craftsmanship.
Though differing in style from cutting edge executions such as the Legacy and Brittanica Black, the Greenwich shares with them the same signature marks – escapement visible through the dials, crossings on the back plates and applique numbers to mention but a few – showing a surprisingly yet typically coherent brand style and identity.
Thomas Mercer presents Atlantic Challenge, new exclusive edition of Its Legacy Marine Chronometer. The new-born masterpiece will enjoy its exclusive world premiere during Top Marques Watches 2016, exhibition which will be held at Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo on September 29th – October 1st , concurrently with the renowned the Monaco Yacht Show.
With its timekeepers featuring fundamentally in their achievements and histories, Thomas Mercer’s heritage is intimately linked with such legendary figures as Sir Ernest Shackleton, Sir Winston Churchill, and such notable vessels as the Royal Yacht Britannia, thus deeply entrenching the brand in the annals of British sailing. To add a further dimension to this dashing heritage, the Atlantic Challenge wants to pay homage to another great feat of navigation, the solo world speed distance record established in 1971 by Sir Francis Chichester during the eponymous race.
Chronometer 23543 and the Atlantic Challenge
Sir Francis Chichester’s name is a legend in British navigation. Aviator and sailor, he was knighted in 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II as the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and the fastest circumnavigator. For the ceremony, Her Britannic Majesty used the sword employed by her predecessor the first Queen Elizabeth to knight the first Sir Francis of nautical fame – the adventurer Drake (the first Englishman, with his crew, to circle the globe).
Never satisfied with his achievements, Chichester’s restless spirit turned at once to the next great hurdle facing the single-hander; the speed barrier of 200 nautical miles a day. On January 12th 1971, aboard his 57ft ketch Gipsy Moth V, he set off from Bissau in Portuguese Guinea to cross the Atlantic to San Juan del Norte. During this 23-day crossing, he repeatedly broke said barrier, achieving his top record on January 31st when he raced 231 miles in just 24 hours.
For navigating he used compass as direction finder, sextant to calculate latitude and Thomas Mercer chronometer No 23543 to determine longitude. With yet another ground-breaking feat of navigation directly relevant to its heritage, Thomas Mercer is now proud to pay homage to Sir Francis and celebrate the Atlantic Challenge by dedicating this eponymous timekeeper.
The Atlantic Challenge Marine Chronometer
With its distinctive asymmetrical body of AISI 316 stainless steel with precious elements in high gloss finish woods, the Legacy lovingly blends a modern British design with flawless craftsmanship. In parallel with her exquisite casing, the Legacy contains a mechanism that is the purest expression of marine chronometer. Visible from the dial, the escapement, the beating heart of the timekeeper, comes in its par excellence form, the Spring Detent, and is coupled with the sine qua non chain-and-fusee drive. A unique feature of the Legacy chronometer is the gimbals’ suspension that allows the movement to remain horizontal regardless of the motion of the ship – ideal for achieving maximum accuracy.
In its Atlantic Challenge version, the timekeeper shows an elegant combination of Ziricote, White Ripple Sycamore and Oak, surrounding a fine hand-painted dial featuring the Atlantic Ocean map on which the plot course the 1971 race is represented. As a final touch of incomparability, engraved on the base plate are Sir Francis’ signature and Gipsy Moth V’s silhouette and deckplan, the latter showing also the position on board of chronometer 23543.
On the occasion of the launch of the Legacy Atlantic Challenge, Thomas Mercer has also announced its partnership in support of the Gipsy Moth Trust, a charity whose aim is to keep Sir Francis Chichester’s legacy very much alive for future generations. By acquiring and restoring Gipsy Moth IV – the predecessor of Gipsy Moth V used in 1966’s solo circumnavigation – founders Eileen Skinner and Rob Thompson wanted not only to retain within the United Kingdom this fundamental part of the British sailing history, but also to make her available for people of all ages to see and sail and to inspire a new generation of youth.
To further attest to the historical importance of this notable vessel, the new British passport features the Gipsy Moth IV alongside a modern marine chronometer and its ancestor H4, the invention of John Harrison that finally solved the problem of longitude determination at sea.
For its first participation in Only Watch, Legendary Marine Chronometer manufacturer Thomas Mercer donates the very first piece of its soon-to-be-released Britannica. This table chronometer is encased in a unique, dedicated cabinet. Made of steel and upholstered in white leather, it is home to an exceptional chronometer movement, sheltered behind a one-of-a-kind bas-relief dial.
The Britannica is a table chronometer of extreme sophistication. The aesthetics are the work of British furniture designer Jake Phipps. A practitioner of the geometric rendering of mineral crystals, he was inspired to create a sleek, slender and octagonal cabinet. The Britannica’s base and external structure are made of extensively polished 316L steel. It is also fitted with a set of extra-white crystals which provide an all-round view on the Britannica’s exceptionally polished and bevelled movement.
An additional touch of distinction of this truly unique timekeeper comes from the fine white leather that is signed by Foglizzo Leather, leading specialist in leather for the ultra luxury interiors of superyachts, vintage cars and private jets. This soft, pure leather covers the whole cabinet of the Britannica. The white exterior, combined with the blue of the dial, represents the official colours of Only Watch 2015. Having furnished some of the world’s greatest and most exclusive yachts, the know-how of this special partner enhances the seafaring universe of Thomas Mercer, a company proud to be a crucial part of the United Kingdom’s marine heritage.
The Only Watch Britannica stands out with its custom-made celestial map dial. Equally one-off, it represents the Geneva starry sky as it will appear on the night of the 2015 Only Watch auction. The hand-painted blue background is set with a bas-relief constellation map and Roman numerals made of polished steel. They are circled by an outer ring, also made with the bas-relief technique and made a dark shade of grey by galvanic deposition of ruthenium. Sharp angles and straight lines underpin and complete the case’s geometric design.
The Britannica is endowed with the TM0802 calibre. It features an eight-day power reserve, a trait indelibly linked to Thomas Mercer’s most famous historical chronometers. It is fitted with a fusee-and-chain transmission system, which acts as a gearbox, constantly changing gears in order to provide the movement with an almost constant level of torque, thus stabilising the movement’s frequency.
Thomas Mercer’s TM0802 calibre ticks at the rate of 14 400 vibrations per hour. True to the legacy of both British marine chronometers and Thomas Mercer, it is fitted with a spring detent escapement. Also known as “chronometer escapement”, it has proved the most accurate and reliable of all. It is now one of the rarest features in clockmaking. The escapement works in close conjunction with a balance wheel that is unique and specific to Thomas Mercer. The ovalising balance is an uncut ring of brass, fitted with regulating screws, and reinforced with a cross-bar made of invar. This reputable alloy helps it keep its shape, and therefore specific rhythm, while temperature varies. It is coupled with a cylindrical hairspring. All of these parts are located above the dial and visible through a set of extra-white crystals.
Technical details Case
Octagonal shape for the main body, base and dial bezel
Made in 316L stainless steel with fine white leather and extra-white crystals
Dimensions: 333(h) x 240(w) x 152(d) mm
Two-tone type in stainless steel
Outer ring with minute indices in bas-relief and anthracite colour effected by galvanic deposition of ruthenium
Inner circle with constellations map in bas-relief and decoration in hand-painted blue
Roman numerals and hands in polished stainless steel
Open-work window with visible escapement
Calibre TM0802, hand wound, mechanical spring drive with fusee and steel chain system, 17 jewels, 8-day power reserve, frequency 2Hz (14.400 vph), spring detent escapement, ovalising balance oscillator with cylindrical weights
Hour, minute, small second at 12 and power reserve indicator at 6, rhodium plated and ruthenium finish with screws in blued steel, skeletonised back plate
Dimensions: 183(h) x 150(w) x 90(d) mm
During the Baselworld 2015 luxury watch and jewellery fair, Thomas Mercer will unveil the Observatory, a one-of-a-kind complicated marine chronometer. A true heir to Thomas Mercer’s legacy, this exceptional timepiece features fifteen complications, including a rare flying Detent Tourbillon and double fusée-and-chain transmission, in a superbly handcrafted wood and steel case.
The name Observatory pays tribute to the eponymous model of the 1980s, arguably the most luxurious marine chronometer ever manufactured by Thomas Mercer in its glorious past. Today’s Observatory, although it features many more complications, is a descendant of that timepiece in so far as it is a pinnacle of the brand’s know-how, and also maintains the Observatory dial, the feature from which the name drew inspiration. This distinctive dial, characteristic of the most accurate clocks, does indeed display hours, minutes and seconds in separate sub-dials.
The Observatory required no less than three years of design, research, development and execution, all for a unique timepiece: essential to the exceptional rarity of this mechanical achievement is the sophistication and precision of Thomas Mercer chronometry. The Observatory is a timepiece as highly finished as it is technically sophisticated; a statement of refinement, of taste and of respect for the revered art of marine timekeeping.
Three years in the making, the Observatory’s Calibre TM3001 is a uniquely sophisticated movement. As the legacy of Thomas Mercer’s marine chronometers dictates, it possesses several features that make it an extremely accurate timepiece. Its power source is a pair of two large, cylindrical barrels that convey their energy to the mechanism through a fusée-and-chain system. The mainspring barrels are connected to a fusée, a grooved cone with a curved profile. It acts as a gearbox, constantly changing gears in order to provide the movement with an almost constant level of torque. The amount of energy is such that they are connected by a solid, undeformable metallic chain, comprised of hundreds of components. The fusée-and-chain system provides the escapement with a steady stream of energy, thus stabilising the mechanism’s frequency. This isochronism lies at the very root of accuracy.
At the other end of the gear train, the very definition of time is carried out by one of the rarest escapements in clock- and watch-making, the detent escapement. Also known as “chronometer escapement”, it has proved the most accurate and reliable of all. Its unparalleled efficiency is the result of very low energy consumption, low friction and lightness. It is Thomas Mercer’s signature escapement and has been so for nearly a century. Regulating it is an art mastered by only a handful of experts, like Thomas Mercer’s. Last but not least, this rare spring detent escapement is enclosed in a tourbillon of the flying variety, which means its cage is held only by its bottom side. No upper-bridge spoils the view on its one-minute revolution. This self-rotating chronometric escapement coupled with the illustrious brand’s unique experience and know-how make the Observatory a supremely accurate timekeeper.
Calibre TM3001 is also a long-term movement. It features a perpetual calendar which displays the day, date, month, leap year and zodiac sign. These indications are supplemented with a truly rare 4-digit year indication. As all four digits are active, the Observatory looks to an endless future of performance and accuracy. It also indicates the equation of time, which represents the difference between solar time, which varies throughout the year as the earth comes more or less close to the sun, and our 24 hours per day time, based on the worldwide consensus that every day should have the same duration.
Marine chronometers are meant to travel throughout the world: it is only logical that the Observatory Marine Chronometer be a world timer. More than that, it is a jumping hours world timer. The outer rim of the movement features a 24-world location, 24-time zone disc. At whatever given moment, in whatever place in the world, it tells the local time. More than that, it is a jumping hours world timer: in other words, every hour, the great disc aligns with the time by jumping in exact correspondence with the following window, in an extraordinary motion, overcoming a considerable technical challenge. This world-time indication works hand in hand with a day/night sub-dial, and a moon phase display. As the moon is the influence that drives the tides, it is also logical that the Observatory display it.
Underneath the Observatory’s numerous indications Calibre TM3001 is itself a work of art, featuring an impressive 1680 components, all finished according to the highest standards of watchmaking. Every single piece of brass or steel has been meticulously manufactured, plated and bevelled. Depending on their position and function within the mechanism, every wheel, gear, lever, spring or screw has either been finished with Geneva stripes, circular graining, straight graining or polished. Such a level of care is found in only extremely high-end executions of wristwatch movements, which are ten times smaller but considerably simpler. It is a truly inimitable horological achievement that this large and intricate mechanism be treated with such incredible, almost unparalleled, care.
A mechanical feat, the Observatory is also a performing timekeeper. Its twin barrels provide it with a 30-day power reserve that make winding it a pleasurable and rare occasion. Its hours, minutes and seconds hands each posses their own sub-dial for optimal legibility, which is the display hallmark of Observatory clocks. In the spirit of maximum accuracy, the one-minute flying detent tourbillon is coupled with a start/stop system. Hidden in a recess of the case, a lever commands the extension of a spring that reaches inside the movement. It halts and restarts the Calibre TM3001 on demand, allowing perfect synchronisation with official time.
Being a marine chronometer is not only about the movement. Such a timepiece is defined by the interaction between its mechanical heart and its casing. The first layer of skin that protects the TM3001 is its dial. Extensively grained and enriched with inlays of precious woods, it sports a set of large, hand-made blue-steel hands. The second layer surrounding the TM3001 is a set of glasses made of extra-white crystal. They seamlessly encase the mechanism while making it entirely visible under any angle, without distortion. The third layer is a set of gimbals, a trait that all Thomas Mercer marine chronometers share. They can either be blocked or freed in order to let the clock keep an even keel with the surface of the Earth, a condition of its accuracy. Once unlocked, they let the observer twist and take a peek at the movement, although its sheer weight makes it a delicate operation.
The Observatory’s last layer of containment is a work of architecture. A steel base serves as foundation to a series of pillars that carry the clock itself. Both base and columns are made of steel inlayed with two rare species of exotic wood. One is Ziricote, a hard, South-American brown wood with deep veins. The other is Santos Rosewood, which presents a light brown hue and extremely elevated levels of hardness and density. These two timbers have been masterfully combined to render the same refinement and sophistication of the double colour mechanism.
Thomas Mercer, the legendary British horology company founded in 1858 was an undisputed leader in marine chronometers, with a reputation built on innovation, craftsmanship and accuracy. In 2012, Thomas Mercer brand was re-launched with a new generation of Marine chronometers where Design, Innovation, Engineering Excellence, 30+ years of management team expertise and a fifth generation of the Mercer family on the board are the key to the future success of this brand and its exceptional timepieces.
After the successful launch of Thomas Mercer Classis by Andrew Winch Designs in 2012, the brand now announces the launch their new masterpiece creation, the Legacy chronometer. The new-born masterpiece will be presented to the world at its exclusive premiere, in the perfect setting of the Monaco Yacht Show September 25th – 28th with first deliveries to clients as soon as November 2013.
The Legacy chronometer lovingly blends the most sophisticated and modern design with the attributes of British legacy and affinity with the sea – attributes that have set apart the name of Thomas Mercer from all others since 1858. As well as embodying Mercerʹs renowned visually intellectual and interpretative prerogatives, this progressive and imaginative new timekeeper will feature the highest aesthetic values and display the most refined sense of beauty and quality.
Legacy draws inspiration from the spirit of adventure that is indelibly mapped into the DNA of the brand: “More Thomas Mercers have been used to navigate the seas than any other name of chronometer” adds Quintavalle “and 2013 is simply the perfect time for bringing the Legacy to life, as this same year saw the successful recreation of Shackletonʹs voyage, universally considered the greatest small-boat journey of all time”. Nearly a century after Shackletonʹs expedition, a team of six, led by Australian environmental scientist Tim Jarvis, set sail from Elephant Island to navigate 800 nautical miles of the treacherous Southern Ocean to South Georgia using traditional supply, equipment and technology including a Thomas Mercer vintage chronometer on which they safely relied for determining longitude.
Like every Thomas Mercer, the new chronometer embraces the best of British luxury values, painstaking design and craftsmanship, an incomparable style and a real appreciation for the finest things in life. Great excitement surrounds the anticipation of this cutting edge timekeeper that will enhance the brand’s future and be as individual as its Owners.
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.
Technical details Case
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.
The SMM, the world’s largest shipbuilding fair, took place in Hamburg from 04 to 07 September 2012. At the fair for Shipbuilding, Machinery, and Marine Technology Nautische Instrumente Mühle-Glashütte has presented its pioneering ships’ clocks, which are successfully following the course of ship automation.
With its innovative timekeeping and guidance solutions Nautische Instrumente Mühle-Glashütte offers an extensive portfolio for ship builders – from autarchic, quartz-powered marine chronometers for yachts to automated ships’ clocks that can be controlled centrally and economically with the TCS-1 time control system. At the SMM in Hamburg, the leading fair of the maritime industry, Mühle-Glashütte has introduced the innovative, Glashütte-made marine clock technology, further pursuing its goal of maintaining growth in this segment in the second half of 2012.
In the age of GPS and global networks, ships’ clocks are no longer required for navigation, instead, the availability of a standard time protocol for the central control and co-ordination of all automated ship systems is becoming increasingly significant. This is where the time control system TCS-1 from Nautische Instrumente Mühle-Glashütte, powered by alpha-bit, comes in. This innovative time control unit can not only be utilised as a master clock in an extensive clock unit, the TCS-1 also provides the time protocol for all integrated automation systems within a ship, thereby acting as the heartbeat of automation. For example, for a damage control system, which serves to alarm, display and monitor in the event of damage.
The TCS-1 defines the time point of the damage report as well as the beginning and conclusion of the damage control activity. This enables the damage control system to reliably sound the alarm if specific measures are not undertaken within the time period specified in the protocol.
Since 2011, the TCS-1 has been in use on numerous ships around the world, such as the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior III, launched last October. In combination with 139 secondary clocks the TCS-1 also delivers the time on a cruise liner of the Norwegian Cruise Line, with a further ship of the fleet set to be equipped with the marine clock system this year.
With its intelligent 24-hour display the TCS-1 also fulfils the essential requirement that Mühle-Glashütte sets for every clock: optimal legibility. In this the analogue displays are equipped with interchanging hour numerals for Universal Time Coordinated and Local Time. In the morning the hour numerals 1 to 12 are displayed, from midday to midnight the hours 13 to 24.
This means that with the 24- hour display developed by Mühle one glance is enough to recognise if it is daytime or nighttime in the time zone displayed. For easier operation the TCS-1 is equipped with a night switch and contrasting and dimmable touch screen, because optimal legibility at night and in direct sunshine is one of the key requirements of the new master clock.
The TCS-1 receives the precise time via GPS signal or an accurate real-time clock, should no GPS signal be possible over an extended period of time. The TCS-1 can communicate the time to the secondary clocks either via the on-board ethernet or a RS485 data line. The configuration of the master clock is not performed via the touch screen, instead through a PC in the ethernet LAN – and is even possible with a smart phone or WLAN access point.
Technical data of the Mühle TCS-1
Installation: Console, switching cabinet, wall assembly 19“ rack (4 HE)
Operating temperature: 0° to +50° C
Power supply: 24V (18-32 V DC) external power supply on request
Time signal, input: GPS/NMEA $ 0183. RMC and ZDA via RS232; RS422/485 optional, external real-time clock optional, max. 0.1 sec. deviation/day at +25° C
Time signal, output: Mühle time signal via RS485 and ethernet multicast
Control cables: (optional) 3, interval: 1/30/60 sec., impulse duration: 0.2-10 sec.
Current: max. 1A/cable, 2 independently programmable switch relays, rating: 2 A at 230 V AC or 30 V DC, NTP multicast and NTP server optional
Operation: Touch screen with 6.5’’ VGA colour display, dimmable, Day/night switching
Time display: LT analogue; UTC analogue, 3rd time zone digital
Configuration: Password protected, 2 levels
Remote administration: PC on ethernet or WLAN access point
Languages: English, German, Spanish
Certification: MIL number, IP65, CE
The new Régulateur Nautique watch set from the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 pays tribute to the instrument clocks and marine chronometers that used to navigate the ships in high seas in good old times.
Now days GPS and other satellite based navigational instruments replaced the mechanical counter parts.
This year, Montblanc presents a memoir to these old work horses by introducing a set consists of a wristwatch chronograph with regulator dial and two time zones, along with a large navigational clock which, in addition to showing three time zones on its main regulator dial, also includes a world-time indicator.
Only sixteen specimens of the Montblanc Régulateur Nautique watch set will be manufactured worldwide – eight sets with red gold wristwatch chronographs and eight more with wristwatch chronographs in white gold cases.
This wrist watch features a regulator dial. Its functions and its design offer fascinating insights into the history of navigation on the high seas. The essential precondition for this is to know both the time at one’s harbor of departure and at one’s momentary location, i.e. the simultaneous display of the times in two different locations.
The Regulator dial
The regulator dial with a central minute-hand, a separate subdial for the hours at the “12” and the seconds shown on an additional subdial is an homage to the large, venerable and extremely precise pendulum clocks that were still used in the 20th century to regulate other timepieces, whence the name “regulator.”
To assure that the display of the passing seconds would never be covered by the very slow-moving hour-hand, the latter was relocated onto a separate subdial and completely divorced from the dial where the seconds were indicated. Regulator pendulum clocks of this sort also stood in the offices of harbormasters in all of the world’s major ports.
Captains would stop at the bureau shortly before departing on a voyage. Their final task before leaving the office was to synchronize their ship’s portable chronometer with the harbormaster’s regulator clock so that the precise time shown on his clock could be “taken along” throughout the voyage. In those years, an exact reference time was indispensable for staying on course on the high seas.
The new Montblanc watch from the Collection Villeret 1858 doesn’t have a regulator dial of the sort that’s frequently used on watches of this type. Instead, it transforms its display area for eight different indicators into a topographical experience. The spectacle of home and local time, day and night display, chronograph, 30-minute counter, small seconds, and combined power-reserve and winding-zone display transpires on more than half a dozen levels.
The dial is partly pierced to reveal manually executed circular graining on the movement’s plate, above which a connoisseur can admire the wheels of individual mechanisms. Some scales are applied as appliqués, others are inset into the dial. This symbolically represents the theme of depths and shallows: after all, the watch is named “Régulateur Nautique” and the first precise timepieces were developed 250 years ago specifically for navigation on the high seas.
Second Time Zone and Day/Night Display
The alpha and the omega of time-based navigation are to know the time in two different time zones, i.e. the current local time and the time in the harbor from which one’s vessel had departed.
Only with this knowledge can one compare the time of the actual highest ascent of the sun above the horizon (i.e. local noon) with the time at the harbor of original departure and accordingly calculate one’s correct geographical longitude.
This is why the Régulateur Nautique wristwatch chronograph shows the local time via a skeletonized hour-hand inside a small hours-circle at the “12,” beneath which an hour-hand indicates the home time (i.e. the time in one’s harbor of departure).
When the watch is in its wearer’s home time zone, the skeletonized hour-hand is always directly above the blued hand; when the wearer travels to a different time zone, he or she presses the button at the “10” to reposition the local hour-hand in hourly increments until it shows the correct time for the new zone. A 24-hour subdial with day/night display at the “1” indicates the time in the wearer’s home zone.
Monopusher Chronograph with Column-Wheel Control
The wristwatch in the Régulateur Nautique watch set measures brief intervals in the best tradition of the manufactory. Its chronograph Caliber MB M16.30 has a large elapsed-seconds hand with its staff at the center of the dial and a counter for 30 elapsed minutes at the “3.”
The chronograph functions in the classical manner via a column-wheel and horizontal coupling. The chronograph’s levers are meticulously handcrafted and the mise en function is also manually executed, whereby the contact surfaces of the chronograph’s levers are carefully scrutinized under a loupe when the stopwatch functions are operated, then gradually and painstakingly hand-abraded to the nearest hundredth of a millimeter.
The steel components and Minerva’s typically V-shaped chronograph bridge are manually beveled and polished. The levers are abraded by gently rubbing them against a fine-grained stone. The bridges are hand-embellished with Geneva waves.
The large and massy screw balance with Phillips’ hairspring oscillates at the classical frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz), which enables this chronograph to precisely measure elapsed intervals to the nearest fifth of a second. The stopwatch is operated via a button in the crown: this lone push-piece sequentially triggers the start, stop and zero-return functions.
Power-Reserve Display with Winding-Zone Indication
A genuine innovation in mechanical watchmaking is found in the lower half of the dial, where the large power-reserve display relies on a pair of hands to indicate two important items of information about the running autonomy. This display is absolutely indispensable for a navigational timepiece because reliable navigation is only assured if the watch is regularly wound and never stops running throughout the voyage.
This is guaranteed by a daily glance at the exclusively combined power-reserve and winding-zone indicator, which not only shows whether the mainspring still contains enough energy, but also clearly indicates how many hours remain before the watch categorically demands manual winding.
Watchmakers distinguish among three different states for the mainspring in a mechanical wristwatch. In the zone of ordinary power reserve, the mainspring has enough energy to sustain good amplitude for the balance and thus to assure good rate accuracy.
In the so-called “winding zone,” the mainspring still has sufficient power to keep the movement running, but can no longer maintain favorable amplitude: the watch’s rate suffers accordingly. The third state occurs when the mainspring is fully slackened, in which case the movement no longer runs.
The combined power-reserve and winding-zone indicator of the Montblanc Régulateur Nautique wristwatch chronograph distinguishes between the two first-mentioned states: if the power reserve is in a favorable zone, the two hands are one atop the other and express the remaining duration of the power reserve as a specific number of hours.
If tension in the mainspring has declined to where it can no longer maintain favorable amplitude in the balance (indicated by the French word “BAS”), the upper hand stands still and the lower, red hand moves into the red zone, thus indicating that the watch should again be manually wound.
To display this complex and important information, Montblanc Villeret specially developed a patented nineteen-part mechanism, of which – in addition to the two hands – one can also see the blue steel rack with an arrow-shaped tip recalling the traditional Minerva logo.
With classical tripartite construction, the case is 43.5 millimeters in diameter and has gently curving horns, a readily grasped and fluted crown with built-in chronograph button (monopusher), and a push-piece at the “10” to advance the hand for the second time zone in hourly increments.
The concave bezel holds a cambered crystal that’s been antireflectively treated on both its surfaces to assure an optimal view of the complex three-dimensional dial beneath it. The screwed back of the case with its transparent pane of sapphire crystal offers beautiful views of the back of the movement, which boasts a hand-finished chronograph mechanism and a large balance.
The wristwatch is affixed to an alligator-leather strap: dark brown leather and a red gold pronged buckle complement the red gold wristwatch; marine blue leather and a white gold clasp attractively highlight the model with the white gold case.
Montblanc Régulateur Nautique Navigational Clock
Seafaring and navigation on the high seas were crucially important for the evolution of precise time measurement, so Montblanc has given the wristwatch chronograph a worthy companion which can ideally serve aboard a private yacht, but which will also attract admiring attention on dry land.
The dimensions and materials of the Montblanc Régulateur Nautique navigational clock will surely raise the eyebrows and the pulse rates of yacht owners and watch aficionados around the globe.
The clock is 93 cm tall, 56 cm in diameter and weighs 120 kilograms. It rests atop a base made of granite, massive brass, aluminum and carbon fiber. Its clockwork has been manufactured from the finest steel, brass and ruby in accord with all the rules and usages of the watchmaker’s art.
The heavy granite base with gently curved aluminum and carbon-fiber struts guarantee that this noble clock stands as solidly as a rock, regardless of whether its rests upon the motionless floor of one’s library at home or in the captain’s cabin aboard planks that constantly pitch and roll.
This large clock is well equipped to cope with the different requirements of life aboard ship and on dry land because it can tip in any direction thanks to cardanic suspension inside a cage of nickel-plated brass. Even when the yacht leans to one side, the clock remains horizontal and indicates the ship’s heeling with a downwardly pointing arrow on a scale from 0 to 27 degrees: a perfect symbiosis of aesthetic form and nautical function.
Of course, this large navigational clock is only one half of each Montblanc Régulateur Nautique timepiece set, so built into one of the struts that supports the clock is a smaller cardanic suspension, into which the wristwatch chronograph can be placed when one isn’t wearing it on one’s wrist.
The wristwatch is kept safely here: no matter how violently the waves may rage, it continually maintains its horizontal position, where it is immune to the ill effects of the so-called “center-of-gravity error.”
Now is the time to describe the details of the navigational clock, which becomes the heart and soul of navigation as soon as the last bit of coastline has disappeared below the horizon. From this moment on, mariners who need to calculate the exact position of their yacht must rely on knowing the exact time in a harbor with a known geographic longitude, the current position of the sun, and the angle between the horizon and the sun’s highest daily ascent at local noon.
Time-Zone Dial as Navigational Aid
The face beneath the highly domed crystal is mostly patterned after the dial of the Régulateur Nautique wristwatch, but the much larger size of this clock’s face provides ample space for three time zones.
The time in the harbor of departure is shown on a 24-hour subdial at the “9”; the time in the port of destination appears on another 24-hour subdial at the “3”; and the current local time is indicated on the main dial, which is arranged in classical regulator fashion with a large minute-hand from the center and a subdial for the hours at the “12.”
Immediately alongside it is the small seconds display. As on the wristwatch, here too on the navigational clock a combined power-reserve and winding-zone display reminds the owner to regularly wind the clock, although this pleasant little task is necessary only once each fortnight.
The aforementioned displays are augmented by a world-time clock: its scales for 24 hours and two dozen yacht harbour names turn below the cardanic suspension and are visible only from the side. Blue LED illumination bathes the entire ensemble in seductive, mysteriously shimmering light.
The world-time function becomes especially exclusive and individualized if the owner doesn’t use the standard scale of place names, but replaces the standardized names with place names of his or her own preference, one place name for each time zone.
For example, the owner can choose Geneva instead of Paris because he lives in the Swiss metropolis; Hoboken, New Jersey instead of New York because he was born in Hoboken; or Osaka, where his favorite restaurant is located, rather than Tokyo. In an accordingly individualized version, the Montblanc Régulateur Nautique timepiece set morphs from one part of a limited edition into an absolutely unique ensemble.
To serve as its partner for the manufacturing of this impressive navigational clock, Montblanc joined forces with the renowned Erwin Sattler clock manufactory. The clockwork’s construction, functionality and design boast all the characteristics of outstanding horological artistry and high-quality manufactory production.
The gleaming golden gears are laboriously crafted in a laborious multistage method which calls for each tooth to be individually and sequentially milled from the solid brass blank. Milling a single wheel requires many minutes of labor, followed by other time-consuming finishing steps such as deburring, polishing the surfaces of the wheels and the flanks of the teeth, and plating with gold, which protects the wheels against corrosion and gives them high-gloss surfaces that reduce friction.
The 360-hour rate autonomy requires a correspondingly large barrel containing a lengthy mainspring. Compensation for the continual decline of torque in the mainspring is achieved by a so-called “fuseau transmission,” which transfers energy to the first wheel in the gear-train via a cable wrapped around a conically shaped fusee (or fuseau in French).
As the power in the barrel wanes, the tapering radius of the fusee continually alters the active leverage so an unchanging moment of force can be conveyed to the gear-train despite the steadily decreasing torque in the mainspring. This transmission of energy is regulated via a Swiss lever escapement and a screw balance with a blued hairspring. The balance and its spring oscillate at of 2.5 hertz (18,000 semi-oscillations per hour), are visible through an aperture in the dial at 1 o`clock.
The Montblanc Regulateur Nautique navigational clock is a lavish artwork with an exclusive design that attracts everyone’s gaze and with superlative functions that capture the interest of its viewers.
Standing aboard a yacht, its attractive appearance recalls the safe harbor; standing on a motionless floor on terra firma, this commanding clock evokes dreams of freedom on the high seas; and when its owner wears the matching Régulateur Nautique chronograph on the wrist, the clock is always – as it were – close at hand.
Only sixteen specimens of the Montblanc Régulateur Nautique watch set will be manufactured worldwide – eight sets with red gold wristwatch chronographs and eight more with wristwatch chronographs in white gold cases. These exclusively limited sets will be available in Montblanc boutiques and in selected jewelers in June 2012.
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