Unusual times: the most original watches of 2015

Richard Mille, Urwerk and HYT watches resist convention with telling the time, proving that the only way is forward.

Richard Mille RM 26-02 Evil Eye watch

Whoever thought that watchmaking was the domain of conservative patricians protecting their citadel of classic design from futuristic invaders is mistaken. It’s wild out there in the world of men’s watches with avant-garde watchmakers turning up the creative heat.

Richard Mille’s RM 26-02 Tourbillon Evil Eye watch is literally smoking hot. This timely talisman, designed to ward off the suffering and misfortunes associated with the pernicious Evil Eye, is decorated by acclaimed artist Olivier Vaucher with tongues of burning flames and a glowing yellow eye positioned just between 8 and 9 o’clock. Sculpted from red gold, the flames and eye are hand-carved and then treated to grand feu enamelling to create a unique visual depth and richness of colour. 

Read about emancipated times with the new Richard Mille watches for women 

Housed in a sleek black ceramic case - no doubt to counter the heat of the flames - the baseplate of the sophisticated tourbillon calibre is skeletonised and reveals the Evil Eye through the back of the watch, nestled in the movement and ready to protect its wearer from any malign influences. Be warned though, only 25 of these Richard Mille watches will be produced, so if temptation to cavort with dark forces is high, hurry now to one of the 25 Richard Mille boutiques dotted around the world. 

Why are Richard Mille watches so expensive?

What happens when you unite an engraver of shotguns and pistols with a progressive watchmaking duo? The answer is the EMC Pistol watch by Urwerk. This unusual concoction of avant-garde horology housed in an elaborately engraved case is a daring hybrid of old and new on both the aesthetic and the mechanical front. The titanium and steel cases of these Urwerk watches have been decorated by the hand of Florian Güllert, a maestro of firearm engraving. “Engraving is a way of capturing light,” explains Güllert. “It bares the metal and creates zones of shade.” The challenge for Güllert in decorating the EMC Pistol watch was manifold: “I had to find a pattern that contrasted with the very mechanical and technical aspects of the object. I was looking for scrolls and arabesques that would break up the rectilinear architecture of the EMC.” 

The motor of this watch is no less riveting and combines an optical sensor to supervise the operation of the manual-winding mechanical movement to ensure impeccable performance. Watch geeks will swoon with delight when they discover that a precision indicator at 10 o’clock shows the current rate of the watch - covering a range of +20 to -20 seconds per day - and its accuracy can be adjusted with a winding handle positioned on the right side of the case. 

Read more about Urwerk's spaceship chic ladies' watches

Time is fluid at HYT (Hydro Mechanical Horologists) - the young, independent Swiss brand that has made a name for itself thanks to its liquid representation of time. Instead of using hands to indicate the passing hours and minutes, all HYT watches use a fluorescent fluid that travels in a glass tube propelled by an ingenious system of bellows. In the latest H3 model, the bellows can be seen at the very top of the large rectangular watch case, which measures 63 x 41mm and is shaped like the head of a futuristic razor. 

Read about HYT’s high tech and high design men’s watches at Baselworld

The H3 watch takes things one step further and displays time in a linear continuum as the fluid is read off against six rotating cubes to display the 24-hour clock. The minutes are also read in a linear display as a small red hand travels along the ruler and springs back from 60 to 00 in a retrograde jump. The high-tech titanium and platinum case houses a manual-winding movement with two barrels to offer an impressive 170-hour power reserve. These HYT watches are limited to just 25 worldwide.


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