Some watch companies just don’t do ordinary; not for them the sensible mass market appeal of contemporary design, burdened too with the practicality required for everyday wear In the not so distant past Harry Winston was a name synonymous with gems and jewellery. Not just any common or garden gems and jewellery either: since 1932 Harry Winston the man made his name designing and creating some of the most exquisite, artistic and sought after examples of haute joaillerie from his New York headquarters.
In 1989, armed with an extensive client list which bulged with the who’s who of New York (and much farther) society, the company took their first steps into watchmaking, right at the time mechanical watchmaking was firing its first salvos in its fightback against quartz, with a new luxury watch collection which would bear the famous Harry Winston name.
Harry Winston Project Z8 – A brand name set in stone(s)
As with their jewellery, a Harry Winston timepiece was far from ordinary. Constantly pushing the boundaries of design, coupled with an insatiable thirst for exploring unchartered technical waters, and for extra spice employing each year the services of a guest watch maker, invited from a pool of the worlds finest independent watchmakers, to oversee and work on their annual Opus series spectaculars, the collections would evolve to become horlogic high spots of the year.
Harry Winston opened in 2007 a new watch manufacture in Geneva, and unlike the satellite approach to the Opus, that is where Project Z happens. On show at Baselworld 2014 the new Harry Winston Project Z8 is yet another bold statement in technicality and design. Taking advantage of the resourses available under the Swatch umbrella the new Project Z8 boasts the specially modified HW3502 automatic calibre from first cousin Blancpain.
Harry Winston Project Z8 – 3D Sensory Overload
Cast in a typically uncompromising 44mm case, and made out of their proprietory and ultra hard zirconium based alloy Zalium, the Project Z8 creates something of a sensory blur with its marriage of textures, directional finishings and colour, all of which combine to result in a dramatic three dimensional piece with considerable presence.
The main functions of the watch are the dual time home and local displays which are each demarked in blue for home and red for local time, but with a Harry Winston, there is always plenty going on elsewhere to amuse the eye. The main ‘home time’ hours and minutes are displayed on a penny sized decentralized dial with a day/night disc, blued screws and indicators, and a spider web effect which permits a look through to the activity going on beneath. This main dial is fixed to an upper bridge which straddles the dial from the 5 to the 12. Emerging from underneath this dial appears the retrograde red tipped second time zone pointer which rises and falls along the 12 hour scale. Through the slatted section of the dial the date ring is visible as it progresses through to its aperture at the 4 o’clock position. Just below centre the Shuriken – a curious rotating blue device and one which features across the Project Z range – reassures that the watch is operational.
The Harry Winston Project Z8 is offered on a natural rubber strap, complete with Shuriken motif and hobnail patterning. Only 300 examples will be produced.