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THE WATCHISMO TIMES WATCH BLOG A reliquary of obscure timepieces from bygone eras as well as the cutting-edge watch designs of today.

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Papillon by Andreas Strehler

Watchmaker Andreas Strehler is introducing the Papillon, his independent follow-up to last years Opus 7 for Harry Winston.

Strehler's representative Curtis Thomson of Tempered Online described it for me;

"The Papillon functions differently than the Opus 7. The 7’s time was actuated via a button in the crow, with hours and minutes indicated on one disc – an ingenious system. The Papillon has two separate discs (an hours disc and a minutes disc), with each of the two mainspring barrels receiving a time disc. Normally this wouldn’t be possible, as the barrel turns too fast to indicate the hours and turns too slowly to indicate the minutes… normally. Andreas has developed a system to allow this to happen, with winding and time setting done with the crown. How? Some crazy ass gearing – that’s how ;-). The Papillon is artistic and technical – a super watch." The price is 140,000 CHF

“How to tell the time?” The “butterfly” bridge has two points – one towards the top and the second towards the bottom – which indicate the time (hours on top, minutes on bottom) as the respective discs travel past."


Watching The Passage of Time

At this year's Basel World, Swiss watchmaker Andreas Strehler will be presenting his latest masterpiece, the Papillon, for the first time. This watch, with its unusual time display, is fascinating at first sight and it inspires not only timepiece connoisseurs.

The Creation

The unusual movement design was first employed in 2007. That was when renowned watch manufacturer, Harry Winston, asked Andreas Strehler if he would like to develop the legendary OPUS 7. Andreas Strehler, who had previously already collaborated with Chronoswiss, H.Moser&Cie and Maurice Lacroix, took up the challenge. He set himself the aim of designing a watch movement that would be captivating in its technical brilliance. But it still had to be easy to tell the time with it. At this stage he probably did not suppose that telling the time was actually to become a particular pleasure.

This concept is repeated in his latest work, the Papillon, but with Andreas Strehler's unmistakable signature and new technical refinements. The design and virtuoso technical sophistication of the watch movement puts everything that came before it into the shade, turning the watch into a coveted collector's item.


Mysterious Time Display

Spring barrels normally turn too slowly for the display of minutes and too fast for the hours. But in the Papillon the timing works differently. Its spring barrels are not firmly tied into the sequence of the movement. As a result the time display can be adjusted by means of the hand setting. In addition, two giant gear wheels with 192 and 175 teeth remove the need for a third wheel. This reduction in the number of wheels and the double spring barrel arrangement result in energy savings which extend the life of the watch enormously.

Fascinating Design

Along with the technical advantages, the unusual design is also astounding. The first thing you notice when looking at the movement is the shape of a butterfly, which seems to arise naturally from the arrangement of the bridges, hence too the watch’s name, Papillon.
Thanks to the special arrangement of the gear wheels, it has been possible to design the watch in an open way, offering the user the special experience of being able to watch the passage of time. The movement assumes the function of design. The consistently applied flowing forms endow the watch with elegance, and are reminiscent of the famous technical masterpieces of the Art Nouveau era.


Expressive Yet Quiet

Constructing a beautiful watch takes time. And it takes patience and endurance to achieve the longed-for perfection. Andreas Strehler combines these virtues most impressively. Anyone who can call a watch by Andreas Strehler his own also possesses the certainty of having discovered something special and unique. The exclusivity, the outstanding engineering and the deliberate understatement of the Papillon do not need to be shouted from the rooftops. The watch speaks for itself, emphasising the unconventional character of the wearer.


Made in Switzerland

Andreas Strehler is the owner of Uhrteil AG in Sirnach, where with a team of twelve experts, watchmakers, technicians and precision mechanics, he pursues his passion. The team not only develops and produces all the movements for the innovative mechanisms itself, but also the machines and computer software needed to make them. Andreas Strehler is convinced that opportunities in the field of "haute horlogerie" are still far from being exhausted. We will just have to wait and see what the visionary comes up with next.




Strehler Opus 7 Video-->Link

Andreas Strehler's Tempered page-->Link


All New 2008 Watch Posts-->Link


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Animations of Mechanicality - Video of Opus 7


Recently featured here-->Link, the Opus 7 developed by Andreas Strehler for Harry Winston Fine Timepieces really needs to be seen in (on) the flesh. The video shown above doesn't really do it justice but it does help illuminate the complex simplicity of its unusual alternating mechanical digital display. As the watch journalist, Ian Skellern describes, "With only one display indication, the Opus 7 can 'remember' hours, minutes or the power reserve while displaying only one of them." These innovative mechanical memory devolopments are being discussed at Horomundi-->Link, where a post about another watch, the Maurice LaCroix "
Mémoire1", the world's first, and yet unseen by the public, chronograph with memory. (...and which I'll be posting more about this week)

But back to the video...More brands need to shoot live action videos of their complicated watches in motion. Potential enthusiasts and future collectors would really appreciate seeing the convoluted mechanics mingle. Computer animated presentations are fantastic, they go inside the watches like no other physical possibility. They all start to look the same with the spiraling video game slickness. Why not hire a filmmaker who shoots insect documentaries and could really examine the watches in its their actual micro-mechanical-environments.




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