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Only Watch 2019 - Time without hands

Only Watch 2019 Time without hands

Five watches participating in Only Watch 2019 offer alternative ways of displaying the hours and power reserve.

Their ever-turning presence on watch dials makes us think that hands are an essential means of time-telling for a mechanical watch. Of course, those of us more familiar with the various mechanical displays of time will know of the jumping-hours indication — an exception to the rule. But it’s not the only one. There are different ways of displaying time without hands, ways that are often described as playful or poetic. In addition to Louis Vuitton and its Escale Spin Time Only Watch, five brands offer Only Watch 2019 one-of-a kind watches that are totally or partially free of hands.

Academia Slide Only Watch

A different time display

Academia Slide Only Watch © DeWitt

The watch that the independent brand DeWitt offers this year to Only Watch may enter in the category of playful hour displays. It is inspired by children’s toboggans. Each of the twelve hours is placed on a rectangular plate that can slide along a track. The current hour is showed by the hour that has slid down the "toboggan track" to reach a position parallel with the dial, while the others remain on an inclined plane along the rehaut. Traditional hands indicate the minutes and seconds. For Only Watch 2019, DeWitt has added light blue and red colors to this brand-new model that was unveiled at Baselworld 2019.

Les Matinaux Only Watch Edition 2019

Eccentric. This is the way the young Neuchâtel-made Trilobe timepieces have adopted to tell the time. And by reinventing the wheel too, since the three movable aluminium discs — a material chosen for its lightness — slide on ruby rollers, each of them following its own counter-clockwise path, while three Trilobe indices point to the hours, minutes and seconds. Developed by Jean-François Mojon, the X-Centric module augments a mechanical movement with automatic winding. The watch is not limited to offering a poetic touch, it is totally infused with poetry: its name is a tribute to René Char’s work and the caseback is engraved with the poet’s signature and a quote. For Only Watch 2019, the watch is made of bronze.

A different time display

« Les Matinaux » Only Watch Edition 2019 © Trilobe

Konstantin Chaykin
Joker Selfie

A different time display

Joker Selfie © Konstantin Chaykin

The winner of the Audacity Prize of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2018, Konstantin Chaykin's Joker offers Only Watch 2019 a smile that everyone would hope to see on the faces of the children that the charity auction aims to help. This dial-side smile has a double purpose as a moon phase indicator and the eyes show the hours and minutes. The Joker of the Russian watchmaker is more expressive than ever, probably because he did not hesitate to give it his own features (hence the “selfie” part of the watch name). This is such a playful watch! Turn it vertically or horizontally and some indications will change or be hidden, like the emoji icons that represent the days of the week at 12 o'clock. But make no mistake, behind this jocular face is the hand-wound Konstantin Chaykin manufacture Calibre K.21-0, developed according to completely serious haute horlogerie standards.

Andersen Genève
Montre à Tact Only Watch

A different time display

Montre à Tact Only Watch © Andersen Genève

Svend Andersen, "the watchmaker of the impossible", founded his own brand specializing in complications more than forty years ago. His unique pieces, which are crafted in Geneva in collaboration with local artisans, are now highly sought after by collectors. His “Montre à Tact” revives the concept of an Abraham-Louis Breguet pocket watch whose time display was tactile, allowing time to be read by touching the watch and preserving the strict sense of decorum that frowned upon looking directly at one’s watch whilst in the company of another. Andersen’s watch differs from the historical model, displaying the time via a rotating ring visible through a window located between the lugs, while still maintaining the goal of reading time discreetly. There are no hands to disrupt the view of Geneva on the dial, nor any crown the curve of the case (a patented crown is located on the back of the watch).

Moritz Grossmann
Réserve de Marche Classique Only Watch

A different time display

Réserve de Marche Classique Only Watch © Moritz Grossmann

The design of this timepiece is based on a historical pocket watch by German watchmaker Moritz Grossmann, a friend of Ferdinand Adolph Lange. And yes, it has hands for the hours, minutes and seconds — fine, very classic heat-blued hands. But not for the power reserve. A white and blue bar-shaped element indicates if the 42-hour power reserve of the watch is full (the bar appears white in the window) or is decreasing (an increasing blue bar is then displayed). The manual winding Calibre 100.2 is beautifully finished and made to the highest standards of craftsmanship, equal of those of other major brands from Glashütte. The signature of Christine Hutter, founder of the Grossmann brand in 2008, distinguishes the Only Watch 2019 timepiece, and is visible through the sapphire caseback.


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An audacious idea born out of a desire to break from the traditional watchmaking codes. A new way of reading time. Poetry on the wrist, an intimate link to time. Trilobe is all of those things, and so much more.

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