Fabergé places its second time zone at the center of the dial
Jean-Marc Wiederrecht has designed the Visionnaire DTZ which puts a magnified jumping hour in the center of the dial, framed by a refined dome.
Jean-Marc Wiederrecht is retired…or is he? He is the only one to actually believe the little white lie that he uttered with sparkling eyes at Fabergé’s stand at Baselworld. There, he received journalists and clients alike with disarming ease. He greeted everyone, went from group to group and passed around unique pieces for everyone to see. These he been removed from their presentation cases and handled with the pleasure and the manners that give away the craftsman. He had a sling on an arm as a result of a mild domestic accident but that did not deter his enthusiasm.
Intuitive reading on a complex dial
He explained the specifics of the movement of the amazing Visionnaire DTZ, a GMT watch that presents an unprecedented display of the second time zone. By the way, DTZ stands for "Dual Time Zone”and is represented by a magnified jumping hour. The second time zone pops out from the center of the watch.
Despite the complex dial that comprises of a magnifying glass, a dome as well as a circular oscillating mass, a sapphire plate with indexes and thick hour/minute local time hands, the watch’s display is intuitive and clear. It saw the light of day in the Genevan workshops of Agenhor, Wiederrecht’s family company which offers its services to leading luxury brands when they search to create unique pieces: "Le Temps suspendu" for Hermès, the "Pont des Amoureux" for Van Cleef & Arpels, several creations for Harry Winston, and so much more.
Twelve months for a creation
This year we found him at Fabergé's for the second time in a row. He appreciates many things about the brand, its legacy and its capacity to make quick decisions in order to launch and finish projects without getting lost in the technocratic mazes leading watchmaking groups sometimes get caught in. In 2015, he introduced the Peacock which featured peacock feathers that spread to indicate the minutes; a retrograde prowess. Now hardly twelve months later, he is back with the Visionnaire DTZ.. the brand indeed finishes its projects quickly! So we concluded that when he talked about retirement he only really flirted with the possibility.
Elegant technique and delightful creativity have always been his forte. The caliber is entirely integrated; he did not just add modules to a base movement. What's more, the central display of the second time zone hints at an original assembly. For example, the case back offers a nice view on the entirely skeletonized hour disk through the sapphire back on which the 24 numerals are only held by invisible metal barbs. Real time is displayed under a cover whose black back stands out against the white numeral, thus providing clear readability.
When a peacock pecks at wheat grains
The watch is so creative that it is hard to choose an element to elaborate on. Where there would have usually been a simple disk to cover the hour numeral, we find a sun-shaped contrasting cover engraved with a moon. "It costs the same with or without these details, so we might as well indulge”explained an amused Wiederrecht. There are many other details; for example, one of the components of the jumping hour mechanism, barely visible under the hour disk, is cut in the shape of a peacock, and when the mechanism is started, the peacock peaks at the wheat grains engraved on the cam.
The small screw that watchmakers can open and close is also eye-catching. When I ask him about it, he puts the watch down and grabs a plexiglass model of his invention to give me a full explanation. In short, the screw controls a plier that replaces the balance-spring stud and helps to set the active length of the balance-spring without having to intervene on the balance. It is a technical subtlety that simplified the craftsmen's work. While he was explaining he digressed long enough to rant about the use of silicon balance-springs, which according to him are a big industrial mistake as leading groups bypass the expertise of watchmakers for the setting, thus robbing watches of their essence.
A moon instead of a GMT
He then resumes his explanation and moves on to the dial where we can see the hands that come from under the central cover that frames the second time zone. He specifies that: "they are normal hands whose holes have simply been widened to adapt to the particular constraints of the movement". This helps to insert a GMT module or any other central element, such as the moon face seen through the mother-of-pearl, depending on the angle through which we look at the other model, the FabergéDalliance.
The DTZ comes with either a gold or titanium case and has other eye-catching elements even if its aesthetics is monopolized by the jumping hour. The circular oscillating mass is decorated with fine stripes that discreetly indicate its rotation by creating an animation under the sapphire disc affixed with the indexes. The sapphire disk is metallic on its external side to ensure a stark contrast as well as enhanced readability.