We take a closer look at futuristic horological mores — wristwatch time machines.
Departing from the traditional six watch manufacturers offer their takes on what the timepieces of the future might look like.
6 Manufacturers on Watches of the Future
Although the brand founded by Maximilian Büsser serves as a redoubt of traditional watchmaking skills, its products could hardly look less futuristic. A case in point is surely this recently released Titanium version of the Legacy Machine Perpetual EVO, with flying saucer-style domed crystal integrated into its lightweight, bezel-less 44mm case.
Against a striking green dial, the watch’s skeletonised movement — with a central balance wheel held in place by a slender, wishbone-shaped bridge — is on full display, surrounded by time, day, month and date subdials at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock respectively. The hand-wound calibre, which is underpinned by a new FlexRing shock absorber, employs a disc-operated “mechanical processor” to calculate the length of each month, which strikes us as being both reassuringly old-school and cutting-edge contemporary; a watch of the future.
Aside from the almost industrial functionality of its 45mm case and skeletonised movement, the Big Bang MP-11 Magic Gold, which Hublot revealed a year ago, features a pair of futuristic innovations. As it says on the label, it’s made from Magic Gold, an in-house-developed and scratchproof 18k alloy of incredible hardness, which includes ceramic powder in its composition. Equally impressive is the mechanism that takes up the bottom half of the dial, which comprises no fewer than seven barrels working in series that provide this watch with a remarkable 14-day power reserve.
From one of the most “out there” brands, er, out there comes Urwerk’s incredibly light UR-100V Full Titanium Jacket, under whose domed crystal a self-winding UR 12.02 movement records time in the most space-age way imaginable — by measuring astronomical functions. Don’t ask us to explain how it works in a single sentence, but essentially it shows hours using orbiting satellites on whose arc the minutes are displayed. If that doesn’t make sense, simply admire the ingenuity — and marvel at the stunning lines of its splendidly supple 32-link titanium bracelet.
Another radical timepiece that wears what would normally be its internals on its dial, Greubel Forsey’s limited-edition Balancier S2 in titanium features a round case that’s curved three-dimensionally around the wrist, and a 30-degree inclined variable-inertia balance wheel at 7 o’clock, which is held in place by an angled open-worked arm. The central hours and minutes hands are suspended by an arch bridge, with a small seconds dial at 8 o’clock and a retrograde power-reserve indicator at 2.30. The watch’s outer bezel, which is also curved three-dimensionally, is in hand-polished titanium, while the hours and minutes scale is displayed on an internal bezel, with polished luminous indexes at five-minute intervals.
One of a pair of Ice & Fire timepieces, the Freak X Magma by Ulysse Nardin comes in a 43mm case of carbon fibre, treated with marbled red epoxy resin. More remarkable still is the self-winding UN-230 flying carousel movement that rotates on its own axis and uses the central bridge to indicate minutes; the hour “hand” is affixed to a wheel at the centre of the mechanism. Supplied on a lava-like leather strap, the Freak X Magma is available only at the brand’s own boutiques.
No round-up of futuristic watches would be complete without a mention of Richard Mille — and what timepiece could better exemplify the brand’s “racing machine on the wrist” ethos than this tribute to McLaren’s latest hypercar? With an asymmetric case in titanium and carbon TPT that echoes the car’s slippery silhouette, the RM 40-01 Automatic Winding Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail features a skeletonised titanium calibre with a variable-geometry rotor, enabling the owner to regulate the winding to his/her own activity level, while a pusher at 4 o’clock selects winding, neutral and hand-setting functions. A McLaren-orange stripe on the integrated rubber strap completes the package.