It’s been over two years now since Rodolphe Cattin parted ways with the Franck Muller group under what can only be described as strained conditions (read our exclusive interview with Rodolphe about the split here). Now, after a hiatus of sorts he has made his triumphant return to Baselworld, this time under his own brand name, Manufacture Rodolphe Cattin and I, for one, was curious to see exactly what the new manufacturer was all about…
Manufacture Rodolphe Cattin
As far as I can tell the lines of the Manufacture Rodolphe Cattin range are weighted 60/40 in favor of ladies models which is a bit of a change from many brands nowadays, especially considering MRC (as we will now refer to them!) produce in-house movements for their men’s pieces (though I believe with a little help from Soprod and Concepto).
The various gem set ladies models were quite fetching but I was far more interested in seeing what they had to offer us discerning horologically obsessed gentlemen and so after a quick ‘pit-stop’ for a much need cup of coffee (walking through miles upon miles of exhibition halls takes its toll you know!) I sat down and went through the lines with Thomas Meyer, co-founder of the brand.
The World’s Biggest ‘Big Date’
One piece that really stood out to me was the Tempovision Big Date GMT. You can probably deduce the complications from the name but even that is inadequate to describe just how big this big date is! Taking up a vast amount of space in the center of the semi open-worked dial there are 2 huge metal discs displaying the double digit date in a very legible manner, not only for the wearer but also for curious bystanders standing several blocks away (ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration).
The numbers are cut outs, and a colored base highlights the current date at the 3 o’clock position. The size of these discs means that a large amount of power must be generated in order for it to function correctly and without fault. The movement I am told is made completely in-house and has been tested ‘to breaking point’ to ensure the changeover is smooth and instantaneous.
What Caught My Eye
I have to say I was really impressed with the finer details and finishing of this watch. For example the way the brushed date discs contrast nicely with the polished hour and minute hands make reading the time quite a pleasant experience. Similarly the unusual indents on the oversized crown actually help to grip it and change the time/wind the watch (useful if you are as clumsy as I am!) and the bridges on the movement are matte finished complete with Mr Cattin’s signature, which you can also find on the front in the lower left corner of the sapphire crystal.
In addition to this MRC have added a GMT function, shown with a blue skeletonized and bevelled hand which points to a 24 hour marked track outside of the date discs. Again it’s pretty useful and the coloring is a must to ensure it doesn’t get lost in the dial. Blue is actually a bit of a signature color for the brand and appears again on the underside of the movement and the strap.
Retail price is quite reasonable starting at somewhere around the $10,000 mark, and the watches are available in a mixture of materials (steel, rose gold, DLC treated) and shapes (round or square).
The Final Word
The Tempovision Big Date is a very solid offering from MRC and represents excellent value for money for those looking for an entry-level piece with an in-house movement and unique styling. It’s also great to see Cattin back in the game after a few years on the side-lines and I really look forward to seeing what he can do with this exciting new brand.
Be sure to tune in next time when I get hands on with the MRC Tempovision Tourbillon and of course if you would like more information please visit the brand’s official website: www.manufacture-rodolphe-cattin.ch.