1. HALDIMANN H9 REDUCTION
Before this peculiar piece made its debut at Baselworld 2012, its predecessor, the H8 Flying Sculpture, caught attention for lacking basic hour or minute hands. Its defining feature was the only visible complication on its dial, a centred one-minute flying tourbillon, which made the H8 Flying Sculpture still feel like a watch. But why stop there? Boundaries were pushed further when the next expression, the H9 Reduction was revealed. This time, it featured a completely faceless, domed opaque sapphire crystal concealing the entirety of its inner workings.
Make no mistake, though. Beneath the H9 Reduction’s impenetrable black void lies a world on its own, with perfectly functioning hour and minute displays and a proprietary central triple-barrel flying tourbillon beating at 18,800 vib/h. Not everything in the H9 Reduction is completely concealed, however. Powering the watch is a hand-wound, H.Zen-1 calibre, which can be admired through the sapphire caseback. The H9 Reduction supposedly challenges not just the measurement of time, but the philosophy of what constitutes a watch. Would a watch still be a watch if it measures time, but refuses to display it? Is time real if it is there, but not seen? Is this a waste of impressive watchmaking, or just a severely misunderstood, brilliant objet d’art?
2. ROMAIN JEROME’S DAY AND NIGHT TOURBILLON
In another case of unconventional time-telling, at least from a modern day perspective, Romain Jerome’s Day And Night Tourbillon has reduced the measurement of time to day and night. The 2008 expression is equipped with two differential sequential tourbillons, each spinning exclusively to dawn and dusk, respectively. The Day Tourbillon rotates in its red gold sun-shaped carriage for 12 hours, stopping just as the opposing Night Tourbillon begins to spin solo for 12 hours in its crescent moon steel carriage. Available in limited editions of 9, the semi-skeletonized watch showcases a solid part made from black coal that’s been reportedly recovered from the Titanic’s shipwreck, just like its stabilized Titanic rusted steel bezel. Powering the intriguing piece is a manual winding double tourbillon “RJ One” calibre, developed exclusively by BNB Concept.
3. Hautlence Playground Labyrinth
Unlike the other two watches on the list, Hautlence completely throws out all notion of time with the Playground Labyrinth, which made its debut at Baselworld 2016. Where most people are desperately fighting time and its frustrating habit of flying by, the watch suggests that you forget time altogether with a languid, casual game. The Playground Labyrinth is a nostalgic throwback to Hautlence co-founder and CEO Sandro Reginelli’s youth, when he played similar, old-fashioned games during visits to his grandparents’ place. As he grew absorbed in the games, Reginelli felt like time no longer existed. Likewise, this portable labyrinth tries to engross its wearer in a game of absolute concentration, attempting to halt time in the process. For effect, the Labyrinth does not tell time at all. Instead of adjusting time, the crown activates a mechanical lift, with a camshaft system launching an 18k white gold ball onto the 18k solid red gold maze dial. Visible through the transparent caseback is the in-house movement, lavished with a Côtes de Genève motif. The Labyrinth is also available with an 18k white gold maze with an 18k red gold ball. Both editions are limited to 18 pieces each.
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