After taking a step back from the limelight during the last year and a half, luxury watch-maker Maîtres du Temps is back and ready to woo connoisseurs again with a remarkable new timepiece. Following on the success of their Chapter One and Chapter Two collections the brand unveiled the all-new Chapter Three Reveal at Baselworld this year, showcasing the superb talents of independent watch-makers Kari Voutilainen and Andreas Strehler.
A Different Direction
The Chapter Three is so unlike its predecessors that one almost questions if it has come from the same book. For a start the case is round, instead of the tonneau style the brand has become associated with and at just 42mm it is tiny compared to its elder siblings. Whilst this makes it slightly less distinctive on the wrist (from a distance at least) the upside is that the more conventional design makes the timepiece far more accessible and attractive to a wider market, which in my opinion is definitely a good thing.
There are a couple of key similarities however, which denote this timepiece as an undeniable product of Maîtres du Temps. For a start, like both Chapter One and Two before it, the Chapter Three is the result of a unique partnership, conceived and created by the brand in collaboration with two highly celebrated independent watchmakers. In this case; Mr. Kari Voutilainen and Mr. Andreas Strehler. Secondly is the use of rollers, a trademark of the brand designed to be both functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.
Given that the Chapter Three doesn’t have the bold design or large wrist presence that defined the previous models, it had to find another, more subtle way, to stand out. The solution? Ingeniously hidden second time-zone and day-night indicators.
At first glance the gorgeous blue guilloche dial displays hours, minutes, seconds, date, and phase of the moon. Everything has its place and each indication is well laid out and easy to read, successfully striking the delicate balance between clutter and functionality. I would even go so far as to say that adding any additional indications, whilst potentially useful, could in fact detract from the attractiveness of the dial.
And I would be wrong.
Let’s face it, generally speaking access to a second time-zone indicator is not always essential but for frequent travellers it can be quite useful. That is why two very clever watch-makers; Strehler and Voutilainen, have devised a manner in which the Chapter Three can provide this additional information but only when it is necessary, thus preserving the harmony of the dial.
When the need arises the wearer simply activates a pusher set into the crown, which magically lowers two invisible panels in the dial to reveal the two previously hidden indications: the second time zone indicator at six o’clock and a day/night indicator at 12 o’clock, both displayed on Maîtres du Temps’ signature rollers. Check out the live video below via WatchAnish to see how it looks in action:
I particularly like the ornate day/night roller, which rotates in 24 hours and features engraved, polished, printed, and hand-painted icons: the sun to symbolize day and the night sky to represent night. Although it may seem a bit frivolous at first this indication is as actually quite useful in conjunction with the second time zone as it enables the user to see at a glance if it is day or night at their home time-zone. Plus it’s quite pleasant to look at.
The second time zone is adjusted by using a quick-set pusher at 9 o’clock, with each push advancing the roller by one hour. According to the brand the time zone and day/night rollers are permanently synchronized with each other and can adjust both forwards and backwards in time through the crown. To maximize legibility the second time zone is displayed on two separate rollers: hours 1–6 on one and 7–12 on the other. Using two rollers instead of one means that only six numbers have to be displayed around the circumference of each roller, enabling them to be twice as large, so twice as easy to read.
As you can see in the video, when the rollers transition (forwards or backwards) between 6 and 7 or 12 and 1, the superseded roller slides horizontally out of the way and the new roller moves into place. This innovative mechanism was designed specifically for the Chapter Three and has been awarded a patent.
Keeping It In-House
In a first for the brand the movement has been made completely in-house, allowing for the rollers to be integrated directly into the caliber and thus saving space. Developed by Voutilainen with refinements and technical solutions by Strehler, the Caliber SHC03 is also the first movement Voutilainen has developed for a brand other than his own and took more than three years of collaborative work.
At present the Chapter Three Reveal is only offered in an 18k gold case, with matching 18k solid gold hands and blue guilloche dial, however one would think that future models will offer different metal and color selections.
The Final Word
The Chapter Three Reveal is definitely the most subdued piece to be produced by Maîtres du Temps to date and represents a more accessible timepiece, yet one that still embodies something special. Arguably it has sacrificed some of the elements that made the previous models stand out so much however this has more than addressed by the understated elegance and high quality craftsmanship, not to mention the unusual complication.
Whilst it may not be as grandiose as the Chapter One, I see the Chapter Three as being a very smart and probably necessary move by Maîtres du Temps, providing a real anchor piece for the brand and increasing its appeal to a wider audience.
For more information please visit the official website: www.maitresdutemps.com
Category: Basel World