Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Basel 2010 Sneak Peak: Harry Winston

Project Z6 is the newest addition to Harry Winston's remarkable array of timepieces. The intriguing aspect of this watch ,as well as its Project's Z's predecessors, is the case material Zalium. Never heard of it? Well it is a zirconium-based alloy used exclusively by Harry Winston. Its name originates of `Z`irconium and `al`l`ium` lily. Zalium is much harder than titanium. It is also used in jet engines and surgical tools. The reason it is used so sparingly in the watch industry is that it is exceedingly difficult to work with and must be machined from an ingot. Harry Winston has developed a procedure to work with Zalium with remarkable success.
The latest success is Project Z6, a fine watch with the signature Harry Winston moldings on the bezel. The Project Z6 is equipped with a 24 hour alarm, a complication developed exclusively for Harry Winston. One needs only to set the alarm via the crown; the striking mechanism is activated by a trigger at the 4'o'clock. An aperture on the dial allows for optimal view of the hammer which is attached to the 44mm Zalium watch case. The resulting sound has a powerful resonance which is achieved by a solid rectangular gong. The hand wound mechanical movement has a 72 hour power reserve owing to two barrels, one for the movement and the other for the striking mechanism. The movement contains no less than 340 components, 45 jewels and hand chamfered bridges. The two overlapping off center sub dials are punctuated by vibrant blue and red markings; one displaying the time and one indicating the alarm mechanism. A double day/night indicator adds too, but does not clutter, the elegant dial which is protected by a sapphire crystal.

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