Friday, May 17, 2013

The Watch Everyone is Talking About. The Opus XIII. A Harry Winston with Ludovic Ballouard

Peering at the Harry Winston Opus XIII, I feel as if I am being drawn into an horological vortex.  Staring into the depths of its geometric design, I feel a sense of hypnotic unreality washing over me.
"Wow!", I exude with an exhilaration in the face of excellence.  "Wow!" Emotions give way to a curiosity of mechanical function.  "How does this timepiece work?  In what way is time displayed? What is the manner of the movement? With what materials is this masterpiece made?  The questions whirl in my head like tumbleweed in a Texan dust storm. 

Of the maker of this timepiece, Harry Winston commissioned a master: Ludovic Ballouard.  You may be familiar with his brilliant "Upside Down' Complication - whereby all hours are upside down except for the current hour - read more about it here

Time display does seem a tad complicated, as hands and indices look like the makings of a complicated psychological test.  However time display as complicated as it may seem, is powered by a movement of extreme complication and  complexity. The time display utilizes 59 pivoting minute hands and 11 rotating  triangular  hour indices. A trapdoor where hours and minutes are as fleeting as time itself add to the hypnotic dimension of the Opus XIII.

An 18k white gold case of 44.25mm in diameter and 13.6 mm in diameter house the manual winding mechanical movement of 364 parts. 242 jewels ensure smooth transitions of motion.  Each pivoting minute hand is secured by a steel shaft and two ruby bearings. The balance wheel swings at 21,600 vph - an excellent frequency for a mechanical movement.  35 hours of power reserve enables one to forgo a day of winding.  As this watch is not an automatic, winding is required manually at the crown and their is no rotor inhibiting the view of the complex mechanics revealed by a sapphire crystal case back.

The dial is displayed beneath a faceted sapphire crystal dome creating a magical effect.  Polished, rhodium plated minute and five-minute hands are differentiated by black and white transfer for the minutes and black and red for the five minutes. The 59 pivoting minute hands rotate at 40-degrees. Hours are represented by 11 polished, rhodium plated triangular shapes which rotate at 180-degrees to point to the correct hour.  At the end of every hour, an outer hour ring moves forward simultaneously drawing in the "old" hour beneath the faceted dome at the dial center.    Only 11 hour hands and 59 minute hands are required , as at noon and midnight the time display is only represented by  an“HW” logo revealed at the center of the watch.

The 18k white gold bezel is emblazoned with Harry Winston at the 12 'o'clock and Opus XIII at the 6 'o'clock.

Fastened securely between 18k white gold lugs, a supple hand sown black alligator strap is secured by an 18k white gold folding buckle.  The Opus XIII is water resistant to 30 meters. 

If your heart desires an attractive and magically charming display of time, take heed, the Opus XIII is limited to 130 pieces world wide. The price remains under wraps, but I have a hunch it will be well into the five figure range.


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