In this author’s opinion, Borro Blog’s industry analyst will be examining jump hour watch complications. The perfect balance between complication and use is struck when just a single additional function is employed, and given the space to breathe and the wearer room to explore it to its fullest potential.
What drives value?
The brand of a watch will be the driving force in determining how much of a collectible it will be. We’ve touched on that in this column frequently, but what is also crucial is an element of stylistic timelessness. Generally that means simplicity. A subtle, pared back device that is very clearly a watch (rather than a tooled-up wrist spaceship), has a better chance of aging well.
Just how complicated are these jump hour watch complications?
Removing the hour hand and replacing it with a jumping indicator might not sound too complicated, but really perfecting it is an exercise in restraint. For three examples of how it has been done well, we can look to A. Lange & Söhne, Franck Muller, and IWC, three brands with elaborate jump hour watch complications.
The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute repeater is probably the most exquisite example of a jump hour complication, simply because they’ve gone the whole hog and realised the minutes in the same way for a totally digital readout. The one thing that reminds you this is a mechanical watch (aside from the superlative level of finishing), is the going seconds hand on the typically German sub-dial at six o’clock.
What I really like about the Zeitwerk is the total commitment to the concept, and the utterly gorgeous layout of the dial. The finishing on the chime hammers (located around 5 and 7 o’clock) is just about the highest grade of polishing you’re likely to see on the dial-side of a watch. The prices start at $70,000 for the rose gold version, and creep all the way up to $467,000 for the platinum.
For those of you who like something a little busier in terms of design, the Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Jump Hour Tourbillon ($262,500) might float your boat. The guilloche dial and prominent tourbillon at six o’clock make for much more extravagant look that is typical of the brand. The shape of the case itself adds a little more character to the watch if you’re looking for something that will stand out in a crowd.
For lovers of minimalist design and an unabashed focus on craftsmanship, the IWC tribute to Pallweber is a peach. The amount of space and focus given to the complication is refreshing, and is a by-the-book homage to the traditional IWC pocket watch on which this model is based. Priced at $36,000 the IWC is not cheap, but of the three is certainly the most attainable and a truly excellent example of the exercise.
About the Author
Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.