Like fine art, tastes in watchmaking are often extremely subjective. That’s why many of the larger brands spends millions of dollars each year researching and identifying current and emerging consumer trends to ensure that each new model has the best chance of success in its target market/s, and well they should, this is a multi-billion dollar business after all. Some watchmakers however, much like their artistic counterparts, create simply for the sake of creating. They are not so concerned with what’s popular as they are with realising their creative vision for a unique timepiece. The Variocurve from Nord Zeitmaschine falls decidedly into this latter category.
The first thing that strikes you is the unusual dial and case design. There is a certain sense of rawness, almost as if the time display has been stripped back to its most basic elements. Everything feels very industrious and mechanical, which seems to fit with the overall theme of the piece but to be honest I’m still not sure whether I like it or not. One thing is for sure though, this unique display, at first glance at least, is extremely confusing to read. Fortunately though we have this handy graphic below to help you decipher just what is actually going on:
As you can the hour is indicated by the disc on the lower left-side of the dial, whilst the date is indicated by the disc on the right hand side. All relatively straightforward so far but it’s the indication of the minutes where things really start to get interesting. Nord have modified the base Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement so that the large central hand moves in a decentralised manner, along a “variocurve” as it were, to indicate the minutes.
To add an extra level of complexity there are also an additional two rotating discs on either side of the dial that are also involved in the indication of the minute display. As the hand moves these discs rotate accordingly so that when its their turn, they are displaying the right number at the right time. It’s hard to imagine how it would look in action but fortunately we have this excellent video below from tendancehorologerie.com, so you don’t have to!
The stainless steel case is nicely sized at 43.6mm and also includes an exhibition case back so you can get a better look at the movement. This particular model is presented on black calf leather strap and retails for US$15,500, which is pretty reasonable for those looking for something completely different.
The Final Word
Certainly this is not a piece for the masses and as far as complications go this is arguably one of the more impractical ones. Certainly the trajectory of the minute hand is very cool to watch, but only when you moving it manually via the crown through its full range of motion (as in the video above). Having said that though, mass appeal is not the intention of this piece, rather it has been created to celebrate the expression and realisation of an idea. Plus it’s sure to turn a few heads at parties.
For more information please visit the official Nord Zeitmaschine website: http://www.nord-zeitmaschine.ch
Category: Wow Watch Wednesday