“Because I’m about that case, about that case, no development . . . ” with apologies to Meghan Trainor and Kevin Kadish, ” All About That Bass .”
Can you review the last time that you read an audit of a recently presented watch and the first few paragraphs of the article were about the case?
Yeah – thought not.
There are a few watches out there, including the MB&F HM6 Space Pirate, that welcome commentary on their physical forms.
However, it appears to be that most watch outlines (counting my own) start with deep thought given to the mechanical features of the piece, the appearance of the dial, and the complexities and finishing of the development before going hesitantly to the external layer that protects the entirety of different pieces and, if progressed nicely, makes a monstrous commitment to the appeal of the watch.
At the outrageous, case configuration can define the appeal of a whole scope of watches: witness the Royal Oak arrangement from Audemars Piguet, which a seemingly endless amount of time after year destroys the business quantities of the brand’s different lines, including numerous exquisite presentations of the very same inward operations in the more customary Jules Audemars case.
What presents a defense distinctive?
As I amassed my personal picks for a sampling of “intriguing” watch cases among those I have photographed in the course of recent years, I started to see a few patterns: the pieces that made the cut were unmistakable on at least one of five measurements: form, plan, fabrication, function, and decoration.
Let’s beginning with form, which I’ll define for our purposes here to mean the physical shape of the case or significant components like the bezel. The Royal Oak fits into this class for me, as does its in like manner Genta-planned family member, the Patek Philippe Nautilus .
And so do a few of the watches that I acquired from my grandfather (see My Grandfather, The Watch Collector ), which may help to explain my advantage in this topic, just as the unmistakable shape of my own first-since forever watch purchase may (see A Watch Collection Begins: GaryG And His Bucherer Chronometer) , appeared in the photo below.
A later example in the form class is MrsG’s F.P. Journe Elégante with its enlisted “tortue plate” case shape.
The plan classification overlaps a piece with form, yet here I’ll focus on conventional (that is, for the most part round) pieces where careful consideration has been given to making visual interest. I could pretty much sit the entire day taking a gander at the surfaces and shapes of my Patek Philippe Reference 5370’s platinum case (see Why I Bought It: Patek Philippe Reference 5370P ).
Another favorite of mine in this class is the Upside Down from Ludovic Ballouard: everything from the natural bends of the case and vital carries to the crown watch and deeply engraved crown sounds good to me. Furthermore, as a little something extra, the inward sides of the case provide the watcher with an “upside down” picture of oneself when seen straightforwardly (see Why I Bought It: Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down ).
And some place on the edge among form and configuration are the fascinating watches of Stepan Sarpaneva, whose unmistakable case shapes make for a significant component of their appeal.
Fabrication is about how it’s made and the materials from which it’s made. While I could undoubtedly have placed Vianney Halter’s Antiqua in both of the prior classifications, for me it fits most normally here with its mob of bolts, bezels, and brilliant galleries supporting the overhanging dials (see Why I Bought It: Vianney Halter Antiqua ).
Halter’s latest watch, the Deep Space Tourbillon, is additionally a wonder of complex fabrication, and is produced using super light titanium for sure (see Why I Bought It: Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon ).
Kari Voutilainen’s cases are additionally amazing, not just for their dazzling proportions and teardrop carries, however for the exemplary sophistication of their development. For me this is particularly valid for the early cases made for Voutilainen by Gideon Levingston that were fabricated from gold sheets and wires as opposed to being stamped and formed.
In the photo underneath of an old buddy’s Voutilainen Masterpiece 8 Decimal Repeater , you can plainly see the vertical joining line where it was welded at the lower part of the case.
At F.P. Journe, the emphasis is on daintiness: if you’ve at any point gotten the opportunity to wear a platinum A. Lange & Söhne Double Split and afterward swap it out for a platinum watch by Journe, you’d swear that they couldn’t possibly have been produced using the equivalent metal.
When I visited the Journe case factory a year ago, I discovered that Journe’s cases are sensitive to the point that it’s important to weld a little supplemental support inside them to support the heaps on the winding stem.
There are many watch cases that are planned around function; here, pieces, for example, the Rolex Sea-Dweller with its helium escape valve (for those of you who plan to take your late spring get-away in a plunging ringer) come to mind.
In my assortment, the “instrument watch” functionality of case configuration is most straightforwardly reflected in my Omega Seamaster Ploprof, a watch planned with a “monobloc” case cut from a solitary steel block, screw-down crown with reinforced support, and mono-directional pivoting bezel constrained by a brilliant red bolting button.
Another functional case that likewise happens to have a fascinating form is obviously the Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
I grin each time I slide the focal part of the case aside, flip it over, and afterward snap it safely home in its support as the converse side shows either another complication or a protective shield of metal (see Why I Bought It: Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute To Reverso 1931 ).
Another component of function is transmission of sound in tolling watches, which is a rich enough topic that it has the right to be left for another day.
So, we should finish up by considering decoration.
While it appeared to be for some time that top of the line case enrichment in the style of the terrific pocket watches may stay away forever, lately we have seen a resurgence of case ornamentation, including shocking pieces from Romain Gauthier and Kari Voutialinen.
I’m adequately fortunate to claim a Voutilainen watch with a case back engraved by splendid craftsman Eddy Jaquet (check whether you can find Jaquet’s initials to one side of Chronos’ lower hand in the photo beneath). See Commissioning A Watch: My Journey With The Kari Voutilainen Masterpiece Chronograph II .
All of the above may help to explain why I was so emphatically attracted to the F.P. Journe Anniversary Tourbillon T30 when it appeared on the scene: its gold-and-silver case with officer back and cross-incubated etching resembled nothing I’d at any point seen. Also, it was the perfect complement to different components of a piece made to reflect the plan of Journe’s absolute first tourbillon pocket watch.
Has case shape, plan, fabrication, function, or enrichment at any point played a significant job in your purchase of a watch?
If in this way, I’d love to find out about it in the comments area underneath. If it hasn’t, whenever you’re watch shopping you should seriously mull over giving simply somewhat more consideration regarding this overlooked aspect of the watches we as a whole love.
* This article was first published on June 1, 2017 at Why I’m All About That Case, That Case . . .
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