In this world of mechanical pissing contests, the Opus 8 from Harry Winston Rare Timepieces streamed out very far at Baselworld.
Inspired by early electronic LED watches of the 1970s (like the first Hamilton Pulsar), creator Frédéric Garinaud (of Renaud & Papi) & CSH developed the Opus 8 with a new twist on mechanical-digital watches. Time is shown by pulling the side-lever down which in turn activates mechanical pixels to rise up from the digitally segmented dial displaying the hour of the day, am/pm, and indication of minutes by rising five minute markers located in a vertical scale next to the primary display.
My attempts to describe this to you might be complicating matters from what might be best explained with images. I should also compare the functions to the contouring rods of the Pinpression toy (shown below) but instead of pressing the pins against your hand or face, the time is reflected by the precisely placed pegs of a music box-style mechanism.
Rumor has it that these were sold out before they being presented (from an edition of 50). Max Büsser's original vision (Opus 1-5) continues to have a lasting impression with this innovative series.
Biography of Frédéric Garinaud;
Born in southwest France in 1971, for Frédéric Garinaud the road to watchmaking and Opus 8 had an interesting and unlikely origin. Neither watchmaker nor designer by trade, Garinaud got his start in the French naval academy where he specialized as an on-board mechanic. In 1999, Garinaud attended the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Lyon to formalize his graduate studies and began working as a development manager for special machinery in a galvanoplasty laboratory. In 2001, he joined Audemars Piguet (Renaud & Papi) as a technical office manager. In 2005, paving the way for his current role, Garinaud founded the watchmaking specialties unit - la Cellule des Spécialités Horlogères (CSH). Aiming to bridge ultramodern training with watchmaking tradition, the unit combines all of the trades involved in watchmaking -- from drawings to timing, to development and construction, and even micro-mechanical manufacture, decoration and product assembly. Garinaud wanted to bring to high-quality watchmaking some of the product developments that have enriched and advanced our consumer world, including: microelectronics, clothing design, ecology and innovative materials.
Five years ago, Frédéric Garinaud came up with an idea: To invent a hybrid timepiece that would bring together complicated mechanics and digital electronics. Around the same time, Garinaud first learned of the Opus concept developed by Harry Winston and began dreaming of an innovative piece to bring to the brand, which would come to be known as Opus 8.
Interested in developing his hybrid idea, Harry Winston met with Garinaud in early 2007 and presented him with a new challenge: Why not transform the hybrid display into a digital display? Garinaud immediately returned to his design table to create a prototype design.
Arriving at Basel 2007, armed with rolls of design drawings and his team from the Cellule des Spécialités Horlogères, the “Magician” revealed his latest tricks, presenting his preliminary plan for Opus 8. Though the brand was initially unconvinced, Garinaud continued to work his innovative magic 10 days later, he would receive an important and enthusiastic call. Harry Winston had accepted the plans. The Opus adventure had begun.
The Man behind the Opus 8, Frédéric Garinaud
This Opus 8 project also reminds me of the remarkable mechanical mirrors of artist Daniel Rozin. The mirrors reflect the viewer with a wide array of wooden rods, tiles, metal balls and many other materials. See his amazing work in the videos below;
Wooden Mechanical Mirror Video->Link
Weave Mirror Video->Link
OPUS 8: THE ART OF DIGITAL EMOTION
REINTERPRETATION OF A (R)EVOLUTION
Rooted in the Pop Art moment of the 1970s, Digital Art and Technology have revolutionized our way of life and continue to influence contemporary art and culture. Allowing artists to create works of extreme complexity, these same advances in digital technology have also transformed the art of modern watchmaking. Armed with the avant-garde and innovative spirit that defined this decade, Opus 8 represents a continuation of this technological and artistic (r)evolution...
A MECHANISM INSPIRED BY A GAME
An exceptional and advanced timepiece, Opus 8 utilizes hand-wound mechanical movements to create a modern, digital time display. Inspired by pin art games, which create 3D impressions of objects pressed against them, the numbers in the display will only appear “upon request,” activated by a bolt on the right hand side of the case. Nothing appears until the mechanism is wound.
A plate joins together small segments, both mobile and fixed. Just underneath is a disc driven by the movement, which turns independently in real time. When the mechanism is wound, the pieces adjust to display the time. As the plate descends, the small segments remain visible, “blocked” by the crystal, allowing the hour to be read for 5 seconds. Technically, all functions are related, enabling everything to be displayed on demand – the minute hand turns the hour that then turns the AM/PM function.
The dial’s microbead blasted coating is similar to that of a calculator, while the segments are made of black anthracite with polished sides. As innovative in materials, as in mechanics, the sides of the segments are crafted of amorphous carbon. A material more commonly known in Formula 1 racing, Garinaud’s team successfully adapted it to use for watch microparts. The specialized material has an extremely low friction coefficient and highly resistant coating. Wear, blockages and material discharge become almost non-existent.
THE INNOVATION’S MAGIC
In addition to a modern, sophisticated technique, Opus 8 features a strikingly original dial display. On the left is a four-digit hour display – two for the hour and two for the time of day (AM/PM). When it is 20h00, the watch will display 08PM. On the right is an innovative minute counter, with a layout and display from bottom to top. Set in 5 minute segments (precision being secondary), the 5 minute indicator is an arrow-shaped ring. The hour and minute numbers recalls the symmetrical hexagonal typography found in liquid crystal mechanics.
A VERY “SEVENTIES CASE”
With its imposing rectangular dimensions – 43mm wide, 41mm long, 13 thick – Opus 8’s bold, graphic shape resembles a retro-style television set. The case front has a resolutely digital display with its 4mm-thick domed crystal blocking the segments . With the display winding bolt located on the right and the winding crown on left, the mechanism has a movement rotation of 180 °. The display of the hour is not possible during winding. In the middle, an opening allows us to admire the heart – the balance. The movement’s back is decorated like a printed circuit, with lines leading to the various time elements. At the top, the hours (H) and the minutes (M). On the left, the periods of the day (AM/PM), and on the right, the 48-hour power reserve indicator (PRI). At the bottom, two lines indicate the co-designers of the watch, Garinaud & CSH (Cellule de Spécialités Horlogères), and the serial number.
OPUS 8 TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION
MOVEMENT: TYPE: Mechanical, elliptical, with mechanical digital display module, Manual winding
DISPLAY: Hours, minutes (every 5 minutes), AM/PM.
FREQUENCY: 3 Hz
MAIN DIAMETER: 35 mm
DISPLAY MODULE: 35.5 mm by 22.5 mm
POWER RESERVE: 48 hours
FUNCTIONS: On the face: Digital display indicated by segments: Hour (AM/PM) and
minutes (every 5)
On the back: Digital display indicated by discs: Hour (AM/PM) and
minutes (every 5)
Power reserve also indicated on the back of the watch
CASE: MATERIAL: White gold
DIMENSIONS: WIDTH: 45.8 mm
LENGTH: 33.5 mm
LEFT: Crown for setting the time and winding
RIGHT: Winding bolt for digital displays
DIAL: Display module: black anthracite segments with polished sides
Side of segments crafted from amorphous carbon
Hours, minutes and letters in digital form
CRYSTAL: Anti- reflective Sapphire, 4 mm
WATER RESISTANCE: 30 meters
LIMITED EDITION: 50 pieces
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