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!