In this post I’m going to talk about the Opus watch made by Harry Winston, a company used to be known only for its jewelry, and now known for the extremely innovative and complicated wristwatches that can reach a price of $ 200 000 without even integrating a tourbillon in the movement.
The history of Opus began 13 years ago in the year 2000, when a great watch maker Francois Paul Journe (known for a different brand F.P. Journe) created the Opus One for Harry Winston, making 6 pieces of chronometer with a 5 day power reserve, 6 pieces with 2 movements in each and 6 pieces with a tourbillon,combining it in an interesting for that time, yet classy design.
I would skip the next 3 creations and jump directly to the Opus V (released in 2005). Anyone who is familiar with a brand Urwerk would immediately spot a similarity between this model and almost any Urwerk watch, which is the rotating hours arrows with 3 ‘satellites’ built in the arrows each carrying 4 sides with 4 numbers, making a total of 12 (and rotating one after another with each hour).
This similarity is visible because Harry Winston has developed the watch with the help of Felix Baumgartner. No, not the guy who jumped from space, the other Baumgartner – founder of Urwerk (thus the similar movement). The watch was limited to 100 pieces and was available in rose gold as well.
And again I would jump from the Opus 5 directly to the 10th model, which does not resemble these two designs at all. It is my personal favorite from the design point of view. It might not be so easy to understand time from the first look, but after 1 minute of just looking at it everything becomes pretty obvious. It features main hour indicator between 10 and 11 o’clock, a minute dial between 4 and 5 o’clock, a seconds dial at 7 o’clock and a second time zone arrow at 1 o’clock. The entire watch rotates from the inside. The hours, minutes and seconds rotate within their dials and the arrow pointing at the second time zone rotates all the dials within the case. As I already said its my favorite Opus judging by the look – out of them all its the most dynamic one. Recently I’ve tried it on, and just loved the feel of it. The price for it is somewhere around $250000.
After presenting Opus X, in just one year, Harry Winston made their (in my opinion) most complicated movement. In collaboration with Denis Giguet it created Opus 11, or otherwise known as an engineering puzzle or an explosive temperament. There’s really not much to say about this watch, as it only features minutes and hours, but there’s plenty to watch. So if you really want to be amazed and you haven’t seen this watch in action before just watch the video and start saving you $ 200000.
Needless to say, this is a fascinating watch that anyone would probably like to show off if he had one.
Moving on, to the last year’s model – Opus 12 was presented at BaselWorld 2012 and even though it did not look as weird and complex as its older (if you could call it that) ‘version’ it still was a very interesting piece with a complicated movement.
This model was created with a talented watchmaker Emmanuel Bouchet, who (as Harry Winston stated) was dreaming about this watch coming true for years. It features Hours, Minutes, 5 minute indicator, Power reserve indicator and a seconds dial below the 5 minute indicator, in the center of the main dial. The ‘thing’ about this watch is that instead of the hour and minute arrows it has arrows coming out of the borders of the dial at each hour (or each 10 minutes) and you can read the time by spotting the blue arrows (the shorter one is hours and longer one is minutes). So at the picture above we would see 10:12, as the minute arrow is blue at the 10 minute mark and the 5 minute indicator is showing 2 minutes. And something really nice happens whenever the hour changes.. Again, just watch.
Finally, we arrive to the newest model – Opus 13, presented today at BaselWorld 2013
From the little we know about it we can say how the time is measured in this one: The central disk has arrows coming out of it at each hour, showing the hours, and the minutes are the little metal parts around the dial, and the ones ‘standing’ are the minutes that have already past in the hour.
Here’s another picture from the side showing the movement a little bit more clear. In my opinion #10 still stays the best by the looks, #11 not out bested by the complexity, but compared to #12 the showing time technique is more interesting. However these timepieces were not created to be compared, even though they come from the same family of watches they do not replace the previous models.