One of the coolest watches at Baselworld this year flew so low under the radar that it’s entirely possible you might have missed it; presenting the Micromegas from Manufacture Royale.
According to Manufacture Royale the Micromegas was inspired by a mythical hero of the same name from a short story by Voltaire, who was the original founder of the brand back in 1770. After exploring space our hero – a 120,000 foot giant – arrives on earth and, after spending some time with the locals, comes to the conclusion that dialogue and tolerance are the keys to living in harmony.
In an impressive feat of extrapolation the team at Manufacture Royale have taken this message and applied it to watchmaking, coming up with the idea that time is given thanks to the harmonious and sincere dialogue between two mechanical combinations, each of a different nature.
Now personally I find this a bit of a stretch but Micromegas – the watch, not the space travelling giant – is so impressive that in this instance I am willing to push my cynicism to the side in favour of some romanticism instead.
So what are these two mechanical combinations working in perfect harmony? Well, they are the two tourbillons on the front of the dial, clearly. What is not so obvious however – at least not at first glance – is that Micromegas actually represents a world-first in watchmaking; this pair of tourbillons rotate at different speeds.
As you can see in the short, shaky video below shot by yours truly, the first cage, on the left, makes one revolution every 6 seconds. The second, on the right, completes its rotation in 60 seconds. The two are connected by a differential which receives energy from the barrel and thus ensures the regulating organs are in direct contact with the source of power. It’s kind of trippy to look at, isn’t it?
Presented in a 45mm case constructed from your choice of Titanium, Titanium and 18K rose gold or just straight 18k rose gold the overall look of the Micromegas is probably best described as minimalist with a slightly industrial feel. At first I found this a little disappointing because I thought Manufacture Royale could have done a little more with the dial but after spending a few minutes with Micromegas in my hands I quickly realized that this understated style was intentional; the viewer’s focus should be on the pair of tourbillons, not some other superfluous details.
I should also be clear here that I’m not trying to suggest the Micromegas looks boring because that is certainly not the case. It does however have more of a technical feel to it which I think will really appeal to mechanical movement connoisseurs. The level of detail and finishing visible on the tourbillons is nothing short of profound and demands close inspection.
Powered by the new MR04 calibre – the details of which are visible through the sapphire caseback – Micromegas offers an impressive power reserve of approximately 80 hours. Best of all though it is an automatic, which is a bit unusual for this type of watch, which means you never have to worry about the tourbillons running out of juice when the watch is on your wrist.
In keeping with the style of the 1770 collection, the case is constructed from multiple elements with two brancards that hug the central section extending on either side to form the lugs. Little touches such as the contrasting satin and polished finishes and the notched bezel, whilst not that significant individually, come together in unison to create a modern, stylish looking watch that is genuinely comfortable on the wrist.
Pricing, although on the higher side of things, is also quite reasonable given the technical complexity of the Micromegas timepiece. The Titanium version will run you $151,000, the Titanium and 18K rose gold version $163,000 and the 18K rose gold version $181,500.
For more information please visit the official Manufacture Royale website.
Subscribe to TWL to get original content like this direct to your inbox.