Regular visitors to The Watch Lounge will no doubt already be familiar with young AHCI member Marc Jenni and his crownless creation, the Prologue (after all, we’ve previously written about him here, here and here). Well, today we are proud to share with you the latest edition of his rather remarkable timepiece, the Prologue WDT: R Evolutionary.
Loyal readers may recall that a few months ago we introduced you to the amazing watch-making talents of up-and-coming independent watch-maker and AHCI candidate, Marc Jenni (click here to read that article). His debut piece, the Prologue, garnered a great deal of attention worldwide thanks to its successful integration of the world’s first lateral winding mechanism. Whilst appearing deceptively simple on the surface, achieving this feat of mechanical ingenuity was no small feat.
Now Marc has released an excellent video showing the step-by-step dismantling of a Prologue case that illustrates the number of parts involved in this rather unique construction. If you haven’t seen it already we really recommend you check it out below, as it is very cool!
The Final Word
Marc Jenni has already demonstrated exceptional skills and expertise that belie his young age and it will be truly a pleasure to observe the results of the development of his craft as he continues to grow in knowledge, experience and confidence. For now though we are more than satisfied to just sit and appreciate the pure ingenuity that characterizes the Prologue.
If you’d like to see more and perhaps even order your own Prologue check our Marc’s official website: www.marcjenni.com
Every so often a new, up and coming watch-maker comes along and in a heartbeat completely alters our perception of the complicated art of watch-making. Marc Jenni is such a watch-maker and believe us, when you see his first creation the ‘Prologue’, you’ll understand exactly what we’re talking about. Presented earlier this year at Basel World, at first glance it will draw you in with its aesthetic simplicity and then as soon as you stray closer it will completely seduce you with its mechanical ingenuity.
Our advice? Don’t fight it.
You may not be familiar with the name Marc Jenni yet but judging from his first piece we think this AHCI candidate has a very bright future ahead of him as an independent watch-maker. In order to appreciate the true level of Marc’s skill though we think it’s important you know a bit about his background. It may come as a bit of surprise to learn that Marc was somewhat of a reluctant watch-maker, especially given that both his father and grandfather shared a passion for the craft. Still, when it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood.
So, Jenni went to study as apprentice watch-maker for four years under none other than the world famous and highly respected master watch-maker Paul Gerber. He then spent ten years working for famed American jeweler Tiffany & Co. in both New York and Lausanne before founding Nobletime with long-term partner and friend, Vicente Mafé and producing the very first piece under his own name.
At first look the Prologue appears relatively normal, really not that different from the myriad of other high quality Swiss made dress watches. Take a closer look though. You’ll notice that the sub-dial to the right of the face is unlike anything you have seen before. Instead of having a date display or seconds display, this dial simply reads ‘Time’, ‘Date’, ‘Wind’.
Have you guessed what’s different about this extraordinary piece yet?
We’ll give you a hint. What looks like a standard crown at 4 o’clock is actually a pusher, which is used to select the function you wish to perform. You see, you may not realize it, but what you see in front of you is actually the world’s first lateral winding mechanism. Now we could explain to you how this works with boring old words but the reality is it’s far more exciting (and effective) to simply show you. It seems that Marc anticipated this might be the case so fortunately for us he put together an excellent little video to show how this groundbreaking piece works.
Utterly delightful, isn’t it?
You probably wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it with your own eyes and that’s what we love so much about this piece, it is an exercise in discretion and subtlety designed purely for the enjoyment of the wearer.
Like the beautifully presented 44mm case, the turning ring is made from either 18 carat rose or white gold. To ensure it is soft to the touch and easy to use it has been treated with a soft-touch coating and as you can see from the video its trajectory is as smooth as any traditional crown we’ve ever seen.
Powering the Prologue is an automatic Caliber 2010 movement with date function and a power reserve of 42 hours, with remaining power indicated on the dial at 9 o’clock. Although it is an automatic movement you may find yourself deliberately letting the stored power run down so that you have another excuse to use the undeniably cool turning ring.
Presented in your choice of 18k rose or white gold, the Prologue is finished off on a hand-stitched black alligator strap with a matching 18k gold deployant buckle with locking mechanism.
The Final Word
We are simply blown away by Jenni’s creativity and originality, especially given that this is his first piece. Rather than using gimmicks or other tricks he has presented us with a piece that is completely pure and authentic, allowing his exceptional skills instead to speak for themselves. Like the lucky wearer of this piece, Marc does not need to loudly announce his presence, the stunning simplicity of his creation effortlessly draws all the attention for him and with good reason.
Needless to say we are very excited to see what the future holds for this young independent watch-maker.
If you would like to find out more check out Marc Jenni’s fantastic website: www.marcjenni.com. We have to say it is one of the cleanest and easiest to navigate websites we have seen from any of the watch-makers, be they big or small.
Then again, after seeing the Prologue we wouldn’t expect anything less than this practical simplicity.
UPDATE: We have just received confirmation of pricing from Mr. Jenni and we think you will be very pleasantly surprised!
Rose Gold – CHF 36’000
White Gold – CHF 39’000
That is amazing value when you consider that this complication is the first of its kind and the level of craftmanship is absolutely superb!
WithBasel World only a days away now, we are beginning to see more and more press releases for new products, but just as exciting we will also have some great books to read. We’ve already told you about the launch of the wonderful new book from Elizabeth Doerr “The Twelve Faces Of Time”, now it gives us great pleasure to introduce a new book from master watcher maker Peter Speake-Marin and celebrated writer and photographer Ian Skellern; “The Hands of Time”.
Away from the glitz and the glamour often associated with the world of horology are a group of artisans producing some of the most fantastic watches available today. These makers are at the cutting edge of the watchmaking world, often to be found head down at the bench working on their latest prototypes. Many of these individuals are members of the Académie Horlogère Des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI); which is celebrating 25 years this year. To commemorate this exceptional achievement the first ever AHCI book is now available, representing over two years of solid work from the book’s authors.
Conceived by master watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin and written by ace horological photographer Ian Skellern it features 200 pages of the best independent horological instruments available today. The book is beautifully bound and the paper has a nice quality feel and a classy shiny UV coating, this helps the contrast and really makes the pictures stand out from the page.
Rather than going for a more common photo of a watch movement the cover is a very classy white with red accents and the AHCI logo. This can probably be put down to the egalitarian nature of the AHCI which continues inside the book. Each member has the same number of pages to explain their watchmaking vision and display their creations, and the members are listed in the order in which they joined the AHCI rather than say a more normal alphabetical listing.
While many of the names maybe unknown to you, you will recognize the likes of Peter Speake-Marin, Felix Baumgartner (Urwerk) and F.P Journe who are becoming increasingly well-known in the mainstream marketplace. The book displays their products very well but it is the chance to see pieces from smaller makers like Andreas Strehler and Christian Klings that really appeals. The last entry in the book is the McGonigle brothers, two rising stars of the watch world. The text is especially interesting as I didn’t know Stephen also worked at Somlo Antiques in London, which is where Peter Speake-Marin also started, funny how things come around.
I can’t say that it is the sort of book that you would pick up and read cover-to-cover, but it is a great book for dipping into, and you are likely to learn something every time you read it. The only problem is that the pictures just make the credit card itch, oh to be a little bit richer!! Without a doubt this is a book you should have in your reference library.
The “Hands of Time” is available for purchase from the AHCI stand at Basel World from the 18th March until 25th March or from the dedicated website www.ahcibook.com for a very reasonable 60CHF.
One of my favorite non-Swiss watch brands, Pita Barcelona, contacted me earlier this week to tell me about their latest tailor-made Carousel timepiece. Featuring a brown ostrich leather strap, cream dial and 18ct. rose Gold case/rotor/buckle this is truly a unique, one-of-a-kind model demonstrating a level of personalization that it is just not seen that often these days. And that’s what makes Pita such an exciting watchmaker; every creation has its own personal appeal and is crafted with a unique purpose.
No doubt you would be aware from reading this site and from your own knowledge that the majority of watchmakers are of Swiss or German heritage, but don’t let this throw you. Pita master watchmaker Aniceto Jiménez Pita is an exceptionally talented self-taught watchmaker and a well-respected member of the highly regarded Académie Horlogère Des Créateurs Indépendants (which boasts other famous members such as Peter Speake-Marin, Vianney Halter, Philippe Dufour and so on). Passionate about watches since his early childhood Aniceto is renowned for his creativity and innovation in watchmaking.
Importantly, especially for those looking for something a little different, most of Pita’s designs are influenced by Aniceto’s hometown Barcelona, the city where he started his workshop more than 35 years ago. As such every timepiece reflects an authentic Mediterranean character, not seen in their Swiss counterparts. In addition, Pita recognizes that being an independent watchmaker is about hand making unique watches; therefore Aniceto allows customization to a higher extent, giving freedom of choice in every element of the watch, to deliver one of-a-kind timepieces.
Thus, we have the latest Pita Barcelona Carousel Automatic.
The Customized Carousel Automatic
The Carousel automatic watch in its most basic form (i.e. before being customized by its new owner) is quite simply put, exceptional. If you take a second look at the photo above you will notice that the piece does not feature a crown, that essential piece of any watch that is used to control the hands and thus set the time. This is because the Carousel Automatic features a unique 12-hour self-axis rotating movement called the Pita-002 which is equipped with Pita’s patented Pita-TSM System (Time Setting Mechanism) which replaces traditional remontoire and winding systems.
As the name suggests, the whole movement rotates in its own axis to tell time!
The highlight of the dial is undeniably the driving wheel shaped rotor on the front, which shows the watch mechanics on the dial, not the back of the case where they are traditionally found. As previously mentioned the watch is fully customizable with an unlimited assortment of dials, hands, ball bearings, straps and buckles to choose from all encased in your choice of 18 ct. yellow / white / rose Gold, or Platinum 950.
Like all of their timepieces, the Carousel is designed and handmade in Barcelona in a short and numbered series.
The Final Word
It is simply mind blowing when you consider what this small, independent watchmaker has been able to achieve with only hard work and ingenuity (and not the huge R&D budgets of the large manufacturers). The Carousel Automatic is a fantastic representation of watchmaking in its purest form, constantly striving for improvement through innovation but at the same time maintaining the highly customized, personal feel that many other larger brands simply cannot offer.
Do yourself a favor and check out all of Pita Barcelona’s exceptional timepieces on their official website.
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