It’s been the years of the tourbillon and uber-complication with brands trying to outdo each other with the wow factor. How many axes can you (or do you want to) spin a tourbillon around and when does stuffing complications into a watch become, well, a bit too much (Franck Muller Aeternitas, anyonone)?
Technology also produced some interesting materials and techniques that the brands have eagerly adopted for form and function, such as silicon in escapements and balance wheels and ceramic for case fortification. So where do you go to explore other ideas with a watch. You explore the concept and symbolic meaning of time and its expression.
Since acquiring the talent at BNB after its bankruptcy, Hublot has dedicated these men and women to developing high complications, allowing this department the freedom to dream outside the lines. MB&F devised a whole company from this idea of jumping across a wide cliff without a parachute, including such examples as the HM2 and HM3.
Out of Matthias Buttet’s lab at Hublot has come the second specimen in the Masterpiece collection called “Key of Time,” because you get to control the time… on the watch, at least. Perhaps, more accurately, you have the illusion of playing with time. With this watch you can choose how fast or slow you’d like the hands to move round the dial. For instance, set the mode to work in real time or else speed up the mechanics to move time four times faster and conversely slow it down to a quarter of its rate.
Through a three-position crown, you can pick how you’d like to pass the time. An indicator in the form of a star displays which mode you are in. Positions one and three alter time’s perception, while position 2 resets the hands back to “real” time. And yes, the “Key of Time,” in a limited edition of 50, incorporates a tourbillon, but it’s a flying one with a seconds indicator.
Playing with time: We all wish we could somehow either accelerate through time when we are dealing with the droning of a buffoon or else slam on the brakes to savor what we know is a poignant moment. Hublot has captured this universal desire in the “Key of Time.” I only wish I had one right now so that the writing could go faster and I could savor more watches in the metal.
If you’d like to see the how Hermes took up the challenge of stopping time, check out the the Arceau Le Temps Suspendu they released this year.
“Key of Time”
Series 50 pieces numbered from 01/50 to 50/50
Case Microblasted titanium (Grade 5), with black DLC coating
Functions Hour, minute
Seconds via the vertical tourbillon cage
Power reserve indicator
Speed of time indicator (3-position)
Tourbillon without ball bearing
Time-setting 3 o’clock, 2-position: Manual winding and time-setting stem
Speed function 9 o’clock, 3-position:
stem Real time, time 4x quicker, time 4x slower
Dial Multi-part black, with green transfers
Hands Polished black nickel, with green SuperLuminova™
Movement HUB 9002 – Dimensions 40.20 x 40.10 mm – Thickness 9.30 mm
No. of Components 512
Hairspring Flat, for extremely accurate setting
Frequency 21,600 Vib/hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve Approximately 100 hours (4 days)
Oscillator Balance with adjustment inertia-blocks
Moment of inertia 16 mg/cm2
Lift angle 53°
Shock absorbers Shock absorption for main plate and balance bridge
Main plate & bridges Brass, bevelled with drawn rims, and circular-grained recesses
Black nickel coating
Gear train Circular-grained & bevelled wheels. Coating: black gold and rhodium
Screws Polished and bevelled heads, rounded and polished ends
Wristlet Black rubber strap
Clasp Microblasted black ceramic and black PVD steel deployant buckle