There is a kingdom not too far away, the Palace of which is hidden in a labyrinth, guarded by snakes, chariots and soldiers armed with heavy swords in a land full of prism-shaped traps. However, if you find it and dare to enter with a pure heart the welcome you receive is surprisingly warm. Snakes and swords keep sceptics outside and create magical scenery for grown-up kids.
The Palace at Baselworld is the place where dreams are manifested in silicon and titanium and where you want to walk around and talk day and night. There are so many mechanical objects to see and interwoven stories to hear that here time flies on quick wings.
We had our eventful journey there recently, let us give you the secret map of the Palace we drew.
The first hurdle to overcome is the maze. Christophe Claret depicted it on the timepiece Aventicum we showed you earlier in January. Roman Gaul chariots protect the area circling around at the back, and with their moves they borrow energy for the AVE15 movement. If you manage to trick them and get to Marcus Aurelius in its centre, you’ll be given the chiming key to the Palace.
Allegro is Christophe Claret’s third musical creation, which repeats the number of minutes by steel cathedral gongs that circle the movement twice. When you activate it, make sure you turn the watch upside down so you can see the magic happen by the striking mechanism. You will notice the monotone nodding of the balance wheel doing 21,600 vibrations per hour, which releases the tension of the mainspring in 60 hours. It has a big date aperture and a GMT function too.
When you hear the gongs, Quetzalcoatl the snake will surface his head out from the surrounding ruins.
The legendary green feathered snake Quetzalcoatl from Mesoamerica was born before Columbus discovered the continent. 20 of them now live among the ancient temples of Tenochtitlan situated on the dial of De Bethune’s DB25 limited editions which were cast by Michelle Rothen. The golden reptile who according to the sage governs the time from dawn to dusk is now winding in the centre of the timepiece – his head tells the hours and the tail shows the minutes of the day. Quetzalcoatl’s moves are controlled by the hand-wound 4Hz movement which keeps it continuously going for 6 days.
The snakes ward 10 precious unique treasures, miracles of the known world, the DBS Tourbillons that have the ability to average out gravitation. Descendants of the piece created for the 2005 Only Watch auction share 30-second 5Hz tourbillon constructions that barely weigh 0.18 grams each. The ultra-light regulators together with the DB2019 manually-wound movements are fitted in white gold cases.
If you managed to get your hands on them and go along the path the swords created in the forgery of Manufacture Royale whisk from nowhere. With Voltaire’s words engraved on their blades they have a special power – myths suggest that whoever possess them will be unbeatable in any battle.
The new 1770 Micromegas timepiece with two such bright sword-shaped hands became even greater by bringing Voltaire’s conclusion, tolerance and dialogue, beyond any physical force. The perpetual work that individuals must perform to live in harmony together appears in the form of two flying tourbillons constantly revolving in the same direction at two different speeds. The left makes one turn in 6, the right in 60 seconds, but both are fed from the same barrel with a capacity of 80 hours of uninterrupted energy. The MR04 orchestrating the dance is automatically wound by the hand movements of the wearer. The necessity and importance of every little component in the great whole is emphasized by the vivid colours of the individual wheels through the generous opening around the tourbillons – just as the role of all humans in the welfare of the society.
Still with us? Mind the Trap!
You have been walking in the Palace with your eyes searching for snakes and swords; have you ever looked down below your feet? In the four-cornered room you ended up in, prism-shaped traps have been installed and every hour one of them opens and turns. Cross-bridges lead between the corners above the depths of the complex man-made MCT-S1.0 mechanism developed by the masters of Manufacture Contemporaine Du Temps. It is called Sequential One – S110.
The bridges have just received a new velvety finish that stands in contrast with the blued screws tying down their four ends. The case is made of extremely strong titanium.
MCT created Frequential One – F110, a slightly smaller model sharing the cushion shape of the S110, but coated completely with black DLC. It is operated by the new MCT-F1.0 manual movement, which has hour, minute and power reserve functions. Two barrels supply energy for the gears in the rhythm of the 2.5 Hz variable inertia balance wheel. Frequential One is missing the prisms and it displays time by traditional central hands. It does have a mysterious radiation thanks to the silky matte black titanium.
The Palace, as you have probably already seen is source of tremendous fun and excitement and this map shows just one possible traverse across its rooms – will you share yours?
Photo credits: Christophe Claret, De Bethune, Manufacture Royale, Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps, Loupiosity.com.
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