Faces of Time: 8 Watches with Unusual Time Displays

Posted by & filed under .

swiss watches

Many watches show “only” the time. But there’s plenty of latitude for creativity, as we can see on display in this selection of eight unconventionally designed timepieces from eight innovative watch brands.

1. Andersen Genève Montre à Tact

Andersen Geneve Montre a Tact
Andersen Genève Montre à Tact

“Tactful” watches enable their wearers to discreetly check the time, e.g., while in a theater or at a business meeting, without having to turn their wrists. That’s why Svend Andersen provides a second time display between the lower pair of lugs of the Andersen Genève Montre à Tact. The tactful indicator runs synchronously with the large display on the dial. Andersen’s watches are set via an inset wheel in the back of the case. (White and rose gold, 42 mm, modified historical Adolph Schild caliber, automatic, around 64,000 euros)

2. Bell & Ross BR01-92 Turn Coordinator

Bell & Ross BR01-92 Turn Coordinator
Bell & Ross BR01-92 Turn Coordinator

Emulating the turn-and-bank indicator in the cockpit of an aircraft, the Bell & Ross brand of pilots’ watches indicates the time only in the upper half of the dial. Disks rotate below a motionless hand to show the hours and minutes. The disk module can be installed atop a conventional basic caliber. (PVD-coated stainless steel, 46 x 46 mm, ETA 2892, automatic, $6,000)

3. Botta-Design Uno-24 Plus

Botta-Design Uno-24 Plus
Botta-Design Uno-24 Plus

Like Breitling’s model (below), the Uno-24-Plus from Botta-Design in Taunus, Germany, likewise has a 24-hour indicator. As a single-handed watch, its concept is even more extraordinary – and its time display is more difficult to read. Incidentally, this brand’s founder, Klaus Botta, established the historical single-handed concept among modern wristwatches in the 1980s. (Stainless steel, 45 mm, Ronda 515.24H, quartz, 548 euros)

4. Breitling Avenger Hurricane

Breitling Avenger Hurricane
Breitling Avenger Hurricane

A 24-hour indicator, like the one in this piece, the Avenger Hurricane, is especially helpful for pilots who use coordinated universal time (UTC). Alongside its unusual time display, this 50-mm-diameter Breitling behemoth also boasts an extremely lightweight yet sturdy case made of “Breitlight” and a chronometer-certified movement with a 70-hour power reserve. (Polymer composite material, 50 mm, manufacture Caliber B12, automatic, $8,390; for more details on the Avenger Hurricane, click here.)

5. Christophe Claret X-Trem-1

Christophe Claret X-TREM-1
Christophe Claret X-Trem-1

Under his own brand name, Christophe Claret offers an “extreme watch” in the truest sense of the phrase. Available only in damascene steel, the X-Trem-1 has two spherules that seem to float weightlessly in their tubes alongside the minutes and hour scales. The trick: The metal balls follow magnets, which are raised and lowered along the edges of the movement. (Damascene steel and rose gold, 40.8 x 56.8 mm, manufacture Caliber FLY11, hand-wound, 8 pieces, $308,000; for more on the X-Trem-1 and other notable Christophe Claret watches, read our profile of the man and his brand.)

6. Hublot MP05 LaFerrari

Hublot MP05 LaFerrari
Hublot MP05 LaFerrari

While Bell & Ross relies on turning disks, Hublot deploys rotating drums: The MP05 LaFerrari combines the unconventional indicator with a vertical tourbillon and 11 vertically aligned barrels for 50 days (yes: days, not hours!) of power reserve. A battery-powered screwdriver is used to wind this marathon runner. The newest version is made of sapphire. (Sapphire, 29.5 mm x 45.8 mm, manufacture Caliber LaFerrari, hand-wound, 20 pieces, $575,000)

7. Meistersinger Salthora Meta

Meistersinger Salthora Meta
Meistersinger Salthora Meta

MeisterSinger ranks among the best-known brands for single-handed watches. Unlike most of this label’s timepieces, which feature a lone hour hand that turns its circles above the dial and indicates the minutes with less than to-the-minute legibility, the Salthora Meta combines a conventional minutes hand and a jumping digital hour in a window at the 12. (Stainless steel, 43 mm, Sellita SW 200 with module from Synergies Horlogères, automatic, $3,675)

8. Ulysse Nardin Marine Grand Deck Tourbillon

Ulysse Nardin Marine Grand Deck Tourbillon
Ulysse Nardin Marine Grand Deck Tourbillon

The tourbillon at 6 o’clock is interesting, but the minutes hand of the Ulysse Nardin Marine Grand Deck Tourbillon is even more remarkable. The minutes are shown by a mast that’s pulled across a linear scale by miniature “rigging.” The accompanying rollers recall the winches used to adjust the tension on a sailboat’s mast. The hours are indicated on a jumping display in a double window below the 12. (White gold, 44 mm, Caliber UN630 from Christophe Claret, hand-wound, 18 pieces, $280,000; for a more in-depth look at the Grand Deck Tourbillon, read our report on the watch from Baselworld 2016.)

This article appears in the July-August 2017 issue of WatchTime, on sale now in our online shop.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *