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Trilobe - Taking leave of time with Nuit Fantastique

Trilobe Taking leave of time with Nuit Fantastique

Most watch brands focus on keeping time. Trilobe intends for us to lose track of time. Its latest release, Nuit Fantastique, carries on this unconventional approach

When Gautier Massonneau set up Trilobe, he did so with the aim of creating “ultra-innovative luxury watches at reasonable price points.” The brand’s first watch, Les Matinaux, debuted in 2018. Massonneau, an engineer born into a family of architects, came up with the unconventional time display which was then “mechanised” by watchmaker Jean-François Mojon. The patented X-Centric module lends itself to endless interpretations: “enough for the next ten years!” promises Massonneau with a smile. For the time being, Watches and Wonders 2021 is where Trilobe presented Nuit Fantastique, the new face of a watch that is eccentric in every sense of the word. And, in line with the brand’s credo, there are versions priced under CHF 8,000.

Taking leave of time with Nuit Fantastique

Nuit Fantastique © Trilobe

Infinity rather than seconds

Trilobe’s premise is to show the time by means of three rotating rings, off-centre for the minutes and seconds. Nuit Fantastique displays minutes through an aperture while the trilobe indicator for the seconds – visible on Les Matinaux – disappears: “Seconds aren’t something you really need to know in everyday life.” The disk for the seconds and the minutes aperture form a figure of eight, “symbolising infinity. We’re creating artworks that give the time. We’re making time less ordinary, more poetic.”

Taking leave of time with Nuit Fantastique

Nuit Fantastique © Trilobe

The brand likes to do things differently, such as choosing not to align the trilobe indicators. “We got a call about that from the Manufacture that makes our watches in Switzerland!” says Gautier Massonneau, clearly amused. Shaking things up further still, the rings rotate in an anti-clockwise direction. Once again, Trilobe sidesteps convention, making sense from what can seem counter-intuitive. A keen eye will also spot the water-resistance symbol on the case back: not the usual fish but a rubber duck.

A bridge between arts

Every Trilobe watch is “a work in its own right forging new connections between the arts.” References to architecture abound, starting with the brand’s name. “As a universal symbol, the trilobe goes beyond a specific period in history,” says Massonneau. Inspiration for the openworked rosette on the dial of Les Matinaux came from the Sainte Chapelle in Paris; Nuit Fantastique looks to the deconstructivism of postmodern architecture. “The idea is to rethink forms using open and ‘empty’ spaces – such as the grained or sunbrushed dial – alongside others that are more elaborate: the seconds disk has a Clous de Paris decoration and a classic railroad scale. Traditional watches follow a more centred structure. These contrasts are a means of moving away from that.”

While Les Matinaux takes its name from a compendium of works by the French poet René Char (The Dawn Breakers in English), Nuit Fantastique looks to the writing of the Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig. Trilobe’s philosophy that by freeing time we can live life to the full is echoed in one of Zweig’s short stories, Fantastic Night. In it, a jaded young baron is reawakened to the thrills and emotions of life. And what could be more thrilling than to take leave of time in the company of this Nuit Fantastique!


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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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