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The Peter Roberts “Concentrique” Grand Complication 5 – Exclusive Review For Watchuseek

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History

It’s been a long time coming but finally I have the very first completed timepiece from Peter Roberts Watches. Until now the only watch available to journalists was an unfinished prototype.

For those of you who are unaware of this legendary watch i will give a brief history.
In the early 70s, Peter Roberts was the first Englishman to attend Wostep in Neuchatel Switzerland under the direction of founder Mr Andre Farine.

As part of his graduation project Peter made the world’s first wrist-watch with five hands running coaxially from the centre of the dial after seeing a diagram in a book. He was told at the time that it was theoretical and had never been built before but unable to grasp this fact and eager to prove his watch making talent, Peter went away and added two extra hands to his watch project using a modified Valjoux 72 movement to power the timepiece.

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Over the past forty years this watch has reached a mythical status amongst collectors, and Peter is often seen wearing it at various gatherings.

It has always been a dream to put this watch into production and back in 2012 Peter Roberts announced to the world that he would be releasing a new version of the original Wostep watch called the Concentrique, and only 44 pieces will ever be made.

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The Original

The original watch used a modified Valjoux 726 – one of the finest manual chronograph movements ever made. In addition to the chronograph functions, Peter fitted two hands to the original hours, minutes and chronograph sweep seconds: one pointed to the date and the second pointed out the hours on the twenty four hour bezel.

The case was made entirely by Roberts himself and featured screw-down crowns on the pushers and winder along with a bespoke dial and bezel.

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Details Matter

It is no easy task to create something new and unique, while trying to retain the aesthetics of the original watch which everyone found so alluring; however it is safe to say that on this occasion everything was a huge success.

The watch has taken over one year to design. From the case and dial, right down to the strap and buckle – Peter has strived for perfection. Everything blends perfectly to create a truly unique and original timepiece unlike any other.

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The Dial

It was always important that the watch retained its vintage appeal and the choice of colours on the hands and dial surely reflect this. The red hour and minute hands look simply stunning and remind me of a vintage Omega or Tag from the sixties or seventies.

Peter has chosen to use various colours on the hands to differentiate between the functions as well as keep the vintage appeal.

The hours and minutes are presented in red. The chronograph seconds hand is in white while orange is used for the date indication and finally yellow is used for the GMT hand.
The superluminova which is used on the hours and minutes hands and also the on the hour batons is simply excellent. It defines the batons in all lights, and this looks stunning against the black dial.

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Although this is a very complicated dial which conveys much information, it doesn’t look overly cluttered. A lot of thought and understanding went into the design and Peter understood from the start that he needed to make a user-friendly dial.

The day and month are displayed in the aperture below the 12 o’clock baton while the two inner chapter rings show the chronograph running seconds in white and the day of the month in orange. You will note the colour of these two rings matches the colour on the corresponding hands.

The subdial at the 3 o’clock position shows the 30-second chronograph counter while the 12-hour chronograph counter is at the 6 o’clock position. This also displays the moon-phase.
At 9 o’clock we have the subsidiary seconds.

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The case

While collectors tend to like smaller size watches (around 40mm), with a watch this complicated it would of been impossible. At 42mm the size is perfect and does not look unduly large.

The case is truly exceptional in its finish and was manufactured by the best case maker in the Swiss watchmaking industry. It is also worth pointing out the exceptional detail on the crown which features the Peter Roberts logo.

Something often overlooked on a manual wind watch is the ability to easily wind the watch. You may think this is obvious, but check out some watches from leading watchmakers and you will find a rather small and fiddly crown. Not so with this watch. The oversized crown allows even the largest of fingers to easily wind the timepiece.

The bezel shows the 24 hour GMT scale, and features a special type of beryllium bronze which has never been used on a watch case before. The colour and sleek design portray sophistication and class.

The exhibition caseback proudly displays the beautiful hand finished manual-wind movement.

The crystal features a brand new anti-reflective coating which renders it almost invisible to the eye.

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The Movement

Much has already been written about this watch, and most people already know that it uses a NOS Valjoux 88 manual wind movement however it is worth pointing out the reason for this.

The original Wostep creation used a Valjoux 726 modified to work in conjunction with Peters mechanism. These movements are no longer available but Peter managed to find a limited supply of new-old Valjoux 88 movements - a development of the Valjoux 726. As I have already stated the watch had to remain true to the original concept, and the movement was the most important aspect of the entire design.

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The Valjoux 88 is fitted with Peters own mechanism which he calls the Concentrique.
All the brass parts are hand finished and burnished by Peter. The plates are hand-bevelled, grained, polished and gold plated. The steel parts are also hand grained and burnished.
The movement also features a unique balance cock dubbed the “sablier” which is another unique Roberts creation.

The Strap

The watch has a choice of straps in red or black soft leather. I wore the watch with a red strap at Salon QP and everyone loved it, however I have now grown rather fond of the black version. It complements the black dial and looks rather sophisticated.

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As you can see from the pictures no attention to detail has been spared on the buckle. I think you may find this is simply the best buckle ever to have been created. I say that with some authority as I have a rather fine collection of luxury timepieces, with many buckles none of which are it's equal.

Thoughts

Over the past 12 months there have been many articles written about this watch, and most will be the same, simply listing the functions and history. As any blogger or journalist will tell you-it is hard to write something totally different or unique, unless there is a good story or history to shout about.

The thing that separates this watch from the norm is this. The original timepiece has a unique place in history as the world’s first wrist-watch with 5 hands running from the centre of the dial, and all created by a young watchmaker at the incredible age of 20. Not wanting to short change his loving admirers Peter has personally designed and hand finished every single watch and with no personal gain.

This was simply a dream that had to be pursued. If you consider the numbers involved (44 pieces) then you can clearly see there is very little profit for all involved, if any. The price was always dictated by the costing, but the man hours involved were never taken into consideration and thank god for that because the watch is way to cheap and should of been at least twice the price.

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You may think my last statement is a little strange but other journalists (I don ‘t consider myself one) have all said the same. It happens very rarely in the watch business that such a limited run of watches, with a unique story and history are ever available to anyone who doesn’t own a private yacht or villa in Italy.

From the first time I ever saw the prototype, to the day I received my very own timepiece, I have been under its spell. I love this watch more than any other, but also admire greatly, the man behind it.

I have devoted the last few months of my life to promoting it, and purely because of the passion I have. I have gained nothing from doing it except, a new friend in Peter his loving and long-suffering wife Marie-Louise and their family.

If as I do, you knew what a struggle it was to bring this watch to the market, you would also be in awe of the whole project, but that story I will save for another day.

Having now owned mine for some weeks I can say without any reservation that my passion has not diminished. Imagine the feeling of wearing a watch that is one of only 44 pieces in the entire world.

It looks stunning and has been the topic of conversation at many gatherings. Just like slipping into a fine silk shirt, there is something very satisfying about strapping this watch to my wrist.

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At £18000 (gbp) this is sadly beyond the reach of some budding enthusiasts but I personally know of 2 people who raided their life savings to procure one. The price doesn’t reflect the true cost of this timepiece, but you really can’t put a price on a dream and the very fact this watch was ever made, or even came to market speaks volumes for its creator.

I think I am in love........

You can find more information on the Concentrique Grand Complication 5 at www.peterrobertswatches.com

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© Pictures and review by David Brailsford – Blogger at GiftfinderUK - Luxury Watch Blog Site | Industry News and Reviews by David Brailsford, Watch Collector and admirer of the Peter Roberts Grand Complication 5
 

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I'm sure it's a great watch and I know folks that buy it will love it, as well they should.

My view is that five hands are better than two if one is an octopus. However, a five-handed octopus, like penta-palmed people, are at a societal disadvantage.

All the best.
 
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Personally, I love the look of the watch. It would be something else owning a piece of this horological history.
 
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