Time Æon Naissance d’Une Montre 2
As a general rule, Marvel movies bore the will to live out of me. I see a bunch of attractive people in tight clothing making jokes that all feel like they’ve been through several focus groups. Creative narrative does not tend to arise from these ingredients. However, it seems at various points in my life there’s always been one person close enough to me that I’ve been dragged along to see most of these things, so I have the context to appreciate the one moment that had depth. This happened in 2019’s Endgame, where as the good Captain was facing down a cyber Mongol Horde alone, he hears ‘on your left’ and space travel things appeared behind him with all his friends showing up to help. That’s known as the portal scene, and with Silvestri’s score it almost made a cynical old soul like me feel something. Almost. But this is the Avengers Assemble moment’s watchmaking equivalent, and it’s definitely making me feel many things.
This watch is the result of a foundation, known as Time Æon, whose sole goal is to preserve and revitalize traditional watchmaking techniques and knowledge. The foundation was spearheaded by Greubel Forsey and Philippe Dufour, who then brought other friends into the fray. The first project was known as Naissance d’Une Montre 1 (Birth of a Watch). To finance the foundation, GF and Dufour thought it best to work with students to create limited series for sale, transferring their knowledge in the process. That first watch was a joint effort to educate one budding watchmaker, Michel Boulanger, on 19th century techniques, making an entire watch from hand. Boulanger then passed this learning to his students, resulting in 11 examples and one prototype. From idea inception and foundation creation to production of that first watch took ten years, from 2005 to 2015.
This second effort, the Naissance d’Une Montre 2, started in 2019 and just finished this year. This time, Stephen Forsey and Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei of Urwerk undertook two very talented younger watchmakers Dominique Buser and Cyrano Devanthey. Together, they created this unique constant force with two mainspring barrels connected via continuous mainspring wound across both. The movement reflects the personality of its architects, who created from scratch with total creative freedom. The case too, it’s got a bit of Urwerk madness. This second watch, unlike the first, is a piece unique. This is the sole example, in 41mm white gold, heading for auction in Geneva this spring. All proceeds go to the Foundation, to preserve and transfer knowledge to next generation watchmakers. This is some of the best watchmaking in the world and it’s even morally totally justifiable. It’s the Avengers Assemble of independent watchmaking, but against watchmaking’s real enemy today; loss of knowledge. And that’s nearly enough to bring a tear to my eye.
I normally talk about condition here but this is a one of one that’s just completed assembly. And it’s going to auction. So there’s not much more to add really. Expect it to soar well through the top estimate, if my estimation is anything to go by.