Dubai Watch Week – Day Three Report

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As part of the education on watchmaking, DWW offered several master watchmaker classes today.  The first class was conducted by Vianney Halter, one of the most renowned master watchmaker responsible for watches like Antiqua and Deep Space Tourbillon.

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Vianney demonstrated the basic, yet most important step for dissembling a watch – winding down the power of mainspring.   A fully wound mainspring contains a lot of energy and disassembling the movement without draining the power can be dangerous as the part will fly out.  The simple exercise was to hold the click while slowly releasing the power on an Unitas movement.

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The second class was conducted by Jaeger LeCoultre’s master watchmaker.  The participants were provided hands-on class for partially disassembling and re-assembling of the 986 calibre, which is used in Reverso Duo with different timezone on each side of the movement.

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Afternoon session with Bulgari provided good insight into the development of Octo series.  Bulgari is diverging from the current trend of designing round cases by committing to further develop the octagonal shaped cases.  The brand is also focusing on The Middle East market with its haute joaillerie and women’s watch collection.

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The second session with MB&F in the afternoon was possibly the best session of the DWW so far.  MB&F had won the grand prize for the best calendar watch with its Legacy Machine Perpetual.  Max Busser, founder of MB&F, introduced the designer of the complex and ingenious movement, Stephen McDonnell.

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Stephen gave a 30-minute fast paced description of how he solved the complex design and solved the puzzle to remove any human or machine error by developing a mechanical processor system architecture with inbuilt safety mechanisms. He reminded me of the genius of John Forbes Nash Jr. (brilliant mathematician), as played by Russell Crowe in the movie A Beautiful Mind.

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Final impromptu session of the day was with another movement designer and genius in his own right, Andreas Strehler.  Andreas has been a member of the AHCI since 1998 and also the creator of 2006 Harry Winston’s Opus 7.  He focuses on complex movements, like the Constant Force he helped develop for the Gronefelds, who also won the GPHG award for the watch this year.

4734Besides running his movement design company (UhrTeil AG), Andreas also manufactures watches under his own name.  He frankly states that, “I am not a brand, I am a watchmaker” to emphasize that he only produces 10 watches a year.

Photography Credit: Scott Sitkiewitz

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