Considered one of the brightest watch minds of our generation, Emmanuel Bouchet was instrumental in the creation of the Harry Winston Opus 12, helped to create the Parmigiani Bugatti, and is a thought leader and watch consultant to many famous brands. Building on the success of his work on the Opus 12, Bouchet struck out on his own in late 2014, starting his own eponymous brand.
The Complication One, nominated for the GPHG 2015, is the first piece in the line. Firsts are meant to be bold and genre defining, and with the launch of the Complication One, master watchmaker Emmanuel Bouchet has given the watch world plenty to fawn over as he pays homage to watchmaking tradition. The visual aspects of the watch, its movement and the unique way of telling time are the focal points of the piece. The end result is a watch that presents a unique visual display for the wearer and offers plenty to admire.
Some unique things about the Complication One: the case was designed before the movement. Additionally, in what is meant to be a nod to watches of the past, the case back is clipped in and not screwed down as is the case with contemporary pieces; and the sapphire caseback and the main plate are both ergonomically curved.
The Complication One is powered by the EB-1963 mechanical hand wound movement and comprised of 283 parts made exclusively for this watch. The entire watch made in Switzerland and housed in a contemporary 44mm case. Visible front and center is the double escapement wheel with inward teeth and pallet fork allow for an impressive visual effect. To continue the visual dance of the piece the manufacturer has reduced the frequency of the oscillation of the regulatory organs from the industry standard of 21,600 – 36,000 to 18,000 with no loss of accuracy. The deliberately low oscillation is done to pay homage to traditional watches of the past and to highlight just how mesmerizing watching the oscillation can be. Think slow-mo highlight reel of Michael Jordan dunking or Barry Sanders juking, slow is glorious.
The double barrels of the piece allow a 72 hour power reserve which is displayed on the back of the piece. One barrel drives the gear train which is the component that powers the watch and the other barrel keeps the transmission escapement on the dial under tension. This escapement snaps forward every fifteen second to replicate what goes on in the other escapement five times a second. The center wheel of the first train rotates an elliptical triangle, which turns in the lever fork on the dial, swinging it aside every fifteen seconds to unlock and lock the double escape wheel.
On the dial you will find a particular innovation of Bouchet’s, sapphire discs that appear to float over the black and white onyx dial base. To tell the time, hours are displayed at the 8 o’clock while minutes and tens of minutes are indicated at the 4 o’clock by two jumping hands. The short hand points to the tens of minutes and the long hand to the minute.
The ten minute hand is also done in a retrograde fashion. In other words, every ten minutes the minute hand will complte a full rotation on the tens of minute dial. Once that is complete the short ten minute hand will jump to the next indicator all the way to 5. When the long minute hand comes around, the short minute hand will fly back to the 0 to start the process all over again. The hour hand on the hour dial will also jump to the next hour. So to tell time you read the hour hand, then the tens of minute hand and then the minute hand. For example on the photo below the time is 10:59.
To add to the legibility, the tips of the hour and ten-minute hands are finished with sanded sapphire which also offers an added bit of luxury to the look of the piece. At the twelve o’clock a day night indicator can be found underneath the seconds disc. This also plays into the three dimensionality of the watch.
Perspective buyers will have three metal options to choose from, 18k gold, platinum or titanium with black ADLC treatment. Additionally, Bouchet offers options for further customization with a unique dial or diamond setting, personalized hands, finishes or movement decorations. Prices begin at $98,000– but hurry, just 100 pieces will be made.