Photo: via Watchmaker.com
I love a good mystery and in the case of Chapter Three I’m getting that tingling feeling up my spine that comes along with a good mystery… or comedy. Though don’t get me wrong, Chapter Three is no laughing matter.Or maybe Kari Voutilainen and Andreas Strehler, the two superstar independent watchmakers behind the concept, are laughing like mad scientists over their creation. Maybe not a Mystery watch in the strictest sense, especially because of the exhibition back to show off Voutilainen’s second-to-none finishing skills, I think Chapter Three still qualifies.
The concept behind Mystery clocks and watches is to hide the mechanics from view, creating a “mystery” of functionality. LeCoultre put out a lovely Mystery watch with diamond markers and Cartier is famous for their Mystery clocks, which bring big bucks at auction.
Chapter Three starts out with a traditional presentation, a blue dial with guilloche centre set against a rose or white gold case. It shows a calendar between 1 and 3 o’clock, moonphase between 4 and 5 o’clock and small seconds between 7 and 9 o’clock.
Why, oh why, did they have to clutter up this gorgeous dial with writing indicating the small seconds and calendar. I think we could’ve figured it out ourselves without the school lesson. Still, I can’t argue with the presentation of the thematic circles balancing out the dial. The 18K gold hands and Roman numerals finish it off with a flourish.
There’s a pusher set into the crown and you wonder what it’s there for. Here’s where the mystery comes in. Push the button and—peek-a-boo—two panels in the dial lower to reveal a second time zone indicator at 6 o’clock and day/night indicator at 12 o’clock on rollers that are a signature of the series and this time integrated into the movement, as are the panels. A second push hides the complications again. I bet this could provide endless fun for the elementary school set, though I wouldn’t recommend it with a $88CHF watch. Montblanc also did a similar concept with the Metamorphoses.
A lot of numbers can be rather scrawny and difficult to see. Voutilainen and Strahler got around this on the GMT by putting 1-6 on one roller and 7-12 on another to help those of us out who suffer from myopia. The boys achieved this feat through a nifty mechanism that slides one roller out of the way to make room for the other. Watchmakers always like to come up with fun, and this case functional, complications and this one deserved a patent. In fact, the whole movement is the first complete original from Maîtres du Temps, built from the ground up.
Voutilainen is known for his chronometric precision (remember the Observatoire) and he and Strehler made sure Chapter Three was up to snuff. The movement features a Straumann escapement with lightweight energy-efficient escape lever and a balance spring with Breguet overcoil.
The 42mm case is water resistant to 30mm and wraps around the wrist with a hand-sewn alligator strap with 18K gold tang buckle
Bravo to CEO Holtzman who has a winner on his hands. Better giddy up if you want one because I get a lot of people will be getting in line.
87k CHF for rose gold and 88.5k CHF for white gold.
This post originally appeared on Watchmaker.com.
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