It’s not often that you see a young brand find its feet so quickly, especially in the fiercely competitive luxury watch industry. Newcomer Antoine Martin has done exactly that however unveiling a very impressive 2012 collection at Baselworld this year, including the gorgeous Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel, a complex timepiece that features both a flying tourbillon and perpetual calendar.
Antoine Martin – The Man Behind The Brand
Arguably it could be said that Antoine Martin has a few unfair advantages over other young brands looking to break into the industry, and one in particular has certainly tipped the balance in their favor. His name is Martin Braun.
Don’t be surprised if you’re familiar with the name already, you should be. With over 30 years experience in this incredibly tough industry Martin is a trained Master Watchmaker and qualified design engineer. Much of that time was spent building a highly successful watch brand bearing his own name, which was eventually acquired by the Franck Muller Group.
After what can perhaps best be described as a tumultuous period in his professional career – during which his namesake was eventually shut down by the new owners – Braun founded a new company, Manufacture Horlogère Obwalden, in 2009 with the declared aim of realizing his idea for his own watch movement featuring the Swiss club-tooth lever escapement he had developed himself. What would follow were two years of research, development and plenty of good old-fashioned hard work culminating in the creation of the first Antoine Martin movement, developed and manufactured entirely in-house.
Fast-forward to Baselworld 2012 and the brand was ready to introduce its first piece of haute horology to the world; the Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel.
The Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel
One of the first things that stood out to me looking at this new timepiece was just how evenly balanced the dial is. There is an inherent symmetry in the design that I find quite appealing and this somehow manages to accentuate the prominent flying tourbillon without causing it to become overpowering.
Of course at an impressive 14.1mm there is really no missing this captivating miniature whirlwind, which has been placed as close to the sapphire crystal as possible to ensure the wearer fully appreciates the visual feast on show at it completes its one minute journey. What is even more remarkable however is that at just 0.62 grams this particular tourbillon is the lightest in the world, relative to its size. No mean feat to achieve and for sure a testament to the exceptional talents of Braun and his team.
To accommodate such a large tourbillon cage and also to achieve that sense of symmetry I was referring to earlier, the timepiece has been created as a regulator, meaning that the minutes and hours are displayed on separate dials. In this case the hours are shown on a smaller sub-dial located between 9 and 10 o’clock whilst the minutes are displayed on the outer ring of the main dial. Seconds are indicated via the flying tourbillon, although there are no specific markings to allow for accurate tracking.
At about 3 o’clock we find the retrograde date display, part of the highly useful yet understatedly complex perpetual calendar complication. This is complemented by the remaining displays for the calendar, including the day, month and leap-year indicators found at the top of the dial.
Animated by the in-house manually wound calibre 39.002, this bold new timepiece is offered initially in your choice of an 18k rose or white gold case with either a black or brown alligator strap. The white gold version features a dark gray dial, while the dial rose gold model is predominantly silver.
The Final Word
I must say that I am really quite taken by bold new timepiece from Antoine Martin. Certainly not a shrinking violet in any sense of the word it defiantly announces the arrival of a serious new entrant into the world of high-end watchmaking and backs up the claim with exceptional quality and craftmanship. It’s complicated without being over the top and the certain sense of masculinity that resonates throughout the design causes it to stand out without overtly calling for attention. Undoubtedly it will not suit all tastes but I really do recommend a closer look.
For more information please visit the official Antoine Martin website: www.antoinemartin.ch