From The Community: The 126° by Zeitwinkel for CronotempVs Collectors is Available For Pre-Order Now
Made by independent brand Zeitwinkel, the collectors club CronotempVs is now taking pre-orders for another specially-commissioned watch, the 126°. Dial, case, and movement: It impresses on all fronts while still offering great value for money.
Fresh from announcing the first deliveries of its 33-piece subscription watch The Endurance by Habring², CronotempVs Collectors has now unveiled another great-looking timepiece that it has commissioned Swiss independent brand Zeitwinkel to make: The 126°.
This eye-catching three-hander features a multi-textured German silver and brass dial designed by CronotempVs co-founder @scaramanga__. Underneath ticks the Saint-Imier brand’s impressively engineered and finely decorated proprietary automatic caliber, the ZW0102. Housed in a smart 42.5mm stainless-steel case with a transparent display caseback, it’s a sight to behold.
Priced at €9,600, the 126° offers great value given its very limited-production, standout manufacture movement, and distinctive dial conceived especially for it.
With the first deliveries expected to arrive in the fall of 2022, the 126° is now available for pre-order here.
Emerging from Under the Radar
When it comes to independent watch brands, the MB&Fs, De Bethunes, and Urwerks of this world may grab a lot of the headlines, but there are plenty of other indies out there making some great watches that are flying a little more under the radar. Zeitwinkel is one of them.
Based at its workshop in Saint-Imier – home to Longines and the birthplace of Breitling – Zeitwinkel was founded in 2006 by a group of enthusiasts and industry insiders with German origins, among them Ivica Maksimovic, Peter Nikolaus, and Albert Edelmann, who still own and manage the brand to this day. Zeitwinkel means “time angle” in German.
Long before their watches, Zeitwinkel’s co-founders were thinking about movements. In their eyes, off-the-shelf movements were not a viable option, nor was modifying existing base calibers. So, they decided early on that they would focus on developing original movements proprietary to Zeitwinkel.
A Standout Automatic Caliber
It was out of this philosophy that the Calibre ZW0102 was born – a smartly constructed, finely-finished movement that is unique to the brand.
Its mainplate, three-quarter plate, and bridges are made out of durable, untreated German silver. And while this material gives these components a nice, warm appearance, it also makes handling them more of a challenge – stray fingerprints or decoration flaws have to be avoided at all costs.
And there is a lot of decoration here, considering this is the movement inside a sub-CHF 10,000 watch. All bridges, plates, and even the bi-directional winding rotor feature polished, beveled flanks. Meanwhile, their surfaces are adorned with a well-chosen mix of straight-graining, snailing, and radial finishing. The gears are circular-grained while the mainplate is adorned with perlage; even the parts that are not visible are decorated.
Packing a 72-hour power reserve, the ZW0102 performs solidly, too, with Zeiwinkel regulating it to ensure a precision between -2 and +8 seconds a day.
The components are machined by nearby partners, but the brand is keen to eschew a production-line style assembly. So, as a result, each movement is hand-assembled, regulated, and tested, A to Z, by one watchmaker at Zeiwinkel’s Saint-Imier atelier.
In a comment about the movement, @scaramanga__ said: “In my opinion, the ZW0102 is one of the most unique automatic movements in its class that hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves. When I saw it, I fell in love with it. That’s why I wanted it to form the basis of the 126° for CronotempVs.”
A Dial with a Difference
Zeitwinkel watches usually have pure, sober dials, made in brass, oven-fired enamel, or translucent sapphire, drawing from an understated palette of white, black, blue, or silver tones. But for added texture, some models feature a dial with a tapisserie pattern based on multiple repetitions of Zeiwinkel’s inverted W-logo.
However, the dial of the 126° is a striking departure from the brand’s usual offering. That is down to @scaramanga__ who, on behalf of ChronotempVs, proposed a fresh design which, he says, was aimed at providing “warmth, color, and contrast.”
The 126°’s dial comprises a raised, vertical-grained German silver central portion, outside of which is a lower, galvanic-silver brass portion decorated with the brand’s 3-D logo tapisserie. That, in turn, is encircled by a raised blackened brass minute track with silvered markers. As you turn the watch, the German silver center changes from a silver hue to a warm, almost golden, shade.
Lending the 126° its name are the sole numerals on the dial: A red “12” and a silvered “6.” Along with the black hour indices, these have been pad-pressed onto the dial, and they stand out in relief.
Contrasting superbly with the dial are the “black or”-treated hour and minute hands and steel sweep second hand. The hour-minute hands are faceted, with one side always reflecting the light, while their appearance changes from medium gray to black depending on the viewing angle. Additionally, the rounded second hand – in the shape of a Venetian stiletto dagger – is unusually long, sharply tapering to a fine point.
With its layered composition, clever mix of tones and textures, and its various subtle details, the dial is really something to behold. Along with the movement, its presence helps set the 126° apart from the vast pack of three-handed watches out there.
Polished and Matte-Finished Case
Such a nuanced dial doesn’t need an elaborate frame around it, and the 126°’s 42.5mm stainless-steel case is appropriately clean and uncomplicated. Considerable thought has gone into the simplicity of its design and execution, though.
The caseband and sides of the lugs are recessed and matte-finished to contrast with the bezel, caseback, and top and bottom surfaces of the lugs, which are all polished. Plus, views of the stunning Calibre ZW0102 are, of course, afforded through the display back.
While a brown leather strap is pictured in some of the images here, the watch will be delivered on a handmade black strap featuring a smooth central band made of calf leather bordered by structured shark leather. A variety of strap sizes from extra-small to extra-large will be available.
No Hype and No Pressure to Buy This Time
As a group, CronotempVs Collectors is wary of the hype surrounding some limited-edition watches where only a short window is open for purchase, essentially holding a pistol to collectors’ heads with a “buy now or miss out” pressure exerted on them.
@scaramanga__ and company appreciate that collectors have to juggle their budgets and pace their purchases throughout the year, and as such, may not be ready to pull the trigger on the 126° right now.
To that end, the 126° is an un-numbered, non-limited edition. Given Zeitwinkel’s low three-digit annual production, only 20 orders of the 126° can be accepted during this first round of pre-orders, with delivery scheduled for the fall of 2022.
Orders can be secured by visiting the CronotempVs website and committing to a 50 per cent down payment on the €9,600 sale price, excluding taxes.
Then, penciled in for the end of this year, the second round of pre-orders will begin. Again, another 20 pieces of the 126° – the same watch with the same specifications, including its fantastic dial and manufacture movement – can be reserved.
Unfortunately, given the current supply-chain challenges affecting not just watchmaking but all industries, CronotempVs won’t be able to guarantee the same price point for people ordering during the reservation period.
For more information, please visit the CronotempVs website.
(Images © Zeitwinkel / CronotempVs)