Manifesto Magazine

November 1, 2013

WHAT GOES AROUND… COMES ROUND Maîtres du Temps Chapter One Round Transparence

Don’t limit yourself to just those watch brands. Here is one you should know but probably haven’t heard about. Maîtres du Temps, which means Masters of Time, is an ambitious watchmaking project kickstarted by its founder Steven Holtzman nearly a decade ago. His goal is to unite legends and up-and-comers in the field to create extremely limited albeit pricey pieces of technical watchmaking. Who are involved? The likes of Christophe Claret, Roger Dubuis, Peter Speake-Marin, Daniel Roth, Kari Voutilainen and Andreas Strehler have contributed to at least one of three existing models, which are classified by Maîtres du Temps as Chapters. So why haven’t you heard much about independent watchmaking’s equivalent of assembling the Justice League or The Avengers? That’s a question probably only Holtzman could answer but don’t let this minor issue distract you from the fruits of their labour. This year, Maîtres du Temps is reflecting on its roots, revisiting the debut Chapter One timepiece launched in 2008, which is a partnership between Dubuis, Claret and Speake-Marin. The original in a tonneau case combines complications that have never shared a platform: a tourbillon with mono-pusher column wheel chronograph, 60-minute counter (12 o’clock), retrograde date and GMT indicators (3 and 9 o’clock), and a moonphase and day of the week indicators on rolling bars (above 12 and 6 o’clock). With the new Chapter One, entitled Round Transparence, think of it as the remastered edition of your favourite movie. The key changes are as stated in the name. This is the same complication timepiece with a new red gold case sporting curves of a Botero sculpture. In addition, the dial is now available in a round shape and the intricate inner workings, which took two years to develop, are exposed with similar opacity as a steamed-up mirror. Even a simple outfit change is a job not made any easier at Maîtres du Temps. They designed a 0.4mm-thin sapphire dial – not to be confused by the sapphire crystal above it – that is precisely cut by laser, including all the holes required for embellishments and as anchor points to the case. This is a time-sapping process and one that is made even more challenging with the manual installation of the tourbillon cage on it. The visible characteristic to this timepiece that has not altered very much from the forebear are the beast-like dimensions (62mm by 59mm by 22mm). Some like it; some won’t. But judging by the price tag and quantities manufactured for this edition – 11 pieces – we think these guys know it too. So why is this a collector’s must-have? Even if we’re a betting man, the chances of Dubuis, Claret and Speake- Marin working on another timepiece together are not favourable odds.