Chronopassion Laurent Picciotto's Favourite Complications
WorldTempus goes straight to the trendsetters of Planet Horology to discover their favourite timepieces. Find out what Laurent Picciotto (Chronopassion) regards as the best complicated timepieces today.
Laurent Picciotto has chosen to highlight an outstanding category: that of the Complicated Watch. The definition of a complicated watch is (ironically) simple: it is any timepiece that offers something beyond the hours, minutes and seconds — and some people consider the indication of date to be part of this list, unless it’s part of a more sophisticated mechanism like a perpetual calendar. Apart from this, anything goes. The traditional complications such as the perpetual calendar, chronograph, minute repeater, moon phase, multiple time zones, the seasons, equinoxes, countdown timers, astronomical complications, alarms, as well as indications not traditionally found within the strict definition of “complication”: calculators, animations, automatons, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, depth gauge, etc. The list is endless. But how do you choose your complication?
The Rule Of Three
There are three criteria. The first is budget. You can now find good-quality tourbillon timepieces and perpetual calendars for 15,000 francs. That's six times less than it would cost around the beginning of the millennium, but it’s still a significant sum. Adjust your sights according to what you’re able and willing to spend.
Then, make sure that the complication matches the lifestyle of the wearer. Aviation enthusiast? A tourbillon would be a stretch: better to choose a chronograph or a GMT watch. Workaholic? Choose an annual or even perpetual calendar. There are also weekly calendars that are very useful in certain industries where planning is done by week number. If the watch is intended to be worn only during the week, a power reserve can be useful to ensure, at a glance, whether or not intermediate winding is necessary.
Finally, the frequency with which the watch is worn will be decisive. For a collector's item that you don’t intend to wear every day, avoid the perpetual calendar or the moonphase, which will require multi-step adjustments each time you put them on. If you travel a lot, you won’t always have your adjustment stylus on you.
Bulgari, Of Course
At Chronopassion, you’ll find no shortage of complicated watches! For example, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Carbon Minute Repeater (Ref. 102794). “It embodies the quintessence of the complicated watch", explains Laurent Picciotto. "Already, there won't be enough for everyone: 50 pieces, not one more. By its very nature, it is a collector's item, therefore a coveted object for the most discerning collectors, those who want to have what no one else can have".
Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon © Bulgari
Apart from the rarity factor, you have the complication itself. "Here, we are talking about technique," says Laurent Picciotto. "The perpetual calendar, for example, has become quite democratic. With the minute repeater, you’re on a different level. We are among the best manufacturers. It requires a level of mastery that not everyone can have."
On the aesthetic side, "the combination of an ultra-thin minute repeater and case in carbon composite is unheard of. It is the most representative piece of haute horlogerie signed by Bulgari: audacious, technical, innovative."
On The Independent Side
For 35 years, Chronopassion has also been an epicentre of independent watches. Recently, a newcomer has made its debut among the complications of the rue Saint-Honoré: the Armin Strom Pure Resonance. "It's not every day that a young, 100% independent brand brings something really new to the realm of escapements," explains Laurent Picciotto. "The Pure Resonance has a dial that reflects its daulity: technique and aesthetics, in equal parts. It is a strong, coherent piece from a very determined brand that will have to be reckoned with."
Pure Resonance © Armin Strom
Serial Number 0 out of 30
Finally, Chronopassion also offers a very strong complication, by Ulysse Nardin: the Mega Yacht Navy. "It's been a long time since a nautical timepiece offered anything additional to the wearer besides a countdown timer (for regattas) or a helium valve!" Laurent Picciotto smiles. "The Mega Yacht is a creation, in the noblest sense of the word: we've never seen anything like it before.”
Marine Mega Yacht © Ulysse Nardin
At 6 o'clock, the piece displays a flying tourbillon whose cage is a miniature of propeller blades. At 9 o'clock, under the moon phase, is a tide indicator, a complication dear to Ulysse Nardin. Opposite, at 3 o'clock, a power reserve designed like an anchor, that descends as the watch's power reserve is depleted. And the most sought-after example is to be found at Chronopassion: on the back of its case, it is inscribed "00/30".
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