During September this year the list of pre-selected timepieces was announced for the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (you can read the full list here if you haven’t seen it already). Included in that list (not surprisingly) was the mesmerizing Opus X by Harry Winston, a timepiece that has already won high praise from industry players for its technical brilliance and innovation. Although Harry Winston has made a habit of setting the bar extremely high with the Opus series, it seems that they have truly outdone themselves with this year’s creation.
So what makes it so special? Read on to find out.
The Opus Series
Before we dive right in and start exploring the Opus X we think it’s important to put a bit of context around the remarkable heritage of this latest creation. In 2001, Harry Winston launched The Opus Series – a creative new initiative designed to reconstruct and redesign time. The idea was to partner with the industry’s most revered independent watch makers to create truly groundbreaking timepieces that neither partner could have imagined alone. Crafted only from the finest materials, existing technologies are pushed to their absolute boundaries to create an innovative and abstract expression of time.
To date the Series has been hugely successful, cementing Harry Winston’s position as a true high-end luxury watch-maker and building the brand’s reputation for quality and innovation.
The Opus X
The latest model in the series, the Opus X, has been created in partnership with Jean-Francois Mojon, a highly gifted individual who specializes in the development of high complication movements. After earning his diploma in engineering and microtechnology in Le Locle, Mojon joined the industry working on research and development of movements and new complications for several international timepiece brands, including Swatch Group and IWC. In 2005, he began his own company, Chronode SA to further pursue his passion in this area.
An invitation from Harry Winston to work on a project of this magnitude is not something to be taken lightly, after all, practically the whole industry is watching to see what will come next. Mojon and company have not disappointed, however. The result of this highly successful collaboration is the Opux X, inspired by planetary movements and the space-time continuum. According to the brand this special timepiece captures the shape and dimensionality of time through the synchronous rotation of circular motions. Replacing a traditional fixed dial and watch hands, time is displayed as system of rotating indicators mounted on a revolving frame.
That all sounds well and good, but what does it actually mean?
Well, inspired by the celestial mechanics of the solar system, the hand-wound mechanical movement functions as a planetary gear train, consisting of solar wheel, satellite wheels, and frame. As the frame completes a full rotation, the dials of each indicator turn in the opposite direction, ensuring orientation remains constant in any position. The indicators for hours, minutes, seconds, and secondary timezone, are set on the individual satellite wheels, which orbit around the central, solar wheel. Each indicator is set at a slight incline, allowing the dials to follow the curvature of the case, while ensuring fluidity in rotation. The frame is driven separately to complete a full rotation in 24-hours.
It sounds complicated, and it is. That’s why we have these two great videos from our good friend Russell Hatton over at House of Ram to show you exactly what it looks like. The first is the official marketing video from Harry Winston, and shows the piece from a number of different angles. The second shows actual footage of the timepiece in action and is really quite remarkable to behold. Check them out below:
Creating coherency throughout the design, the 72-hour power reserve operates as a special planetary gear train, in which the diameter of the satellite wheel equals the radius of the crown wheel resulting in a linear indication. Balance regulation and chamfered bridges enhance the stability and functionality of the power reserve.
Demonstrating their innate understanding of the beauty in craftsmanship, the 46mm white gold case is designed without a bezel, thus adding light and transparency to the design. A sapphire exhibition case-back allows for uninterrupted views of the geometric precision and beautiful finishing of the movement. In the collaborative tradition of Opus, the names of both partners – Harry Winston and watch engineer Jean-François Mojon – are marked on the bottom of the case.
The Final Word
There are few timepieces that can boast the complexity and stunning beauty of the Harry Winston Opus X and we must say that we think it will definitely be a strong contender in the Complicated Watch category of the GPHG. However, regardless of the outcome, the Opus X is already considered a resounding success for Harry Winston and sets the bar even higher still for future creations.
What will come next? Only time will tell!