The very first thing that strikes you concerning the Haute-Rive Honoris I is its prolonged 1,000-hour energy reserve, which is perhaps harking back to an precedent days in fashionable watchmaking when manufacturers competed fiercely for the longest energy reserve. Nonetheless, that’s the least of what makes the watch uncommon. At a fast look, the Honoris I seems extremely conventional, that includes a fluted bezel and a grand feu enamel dial with a classical linear dial structure that ends with the flying tourbillon positioned at six o’clock — solely that turning the bezel winds the mainspring, and the wheel at 12 o’clock just isn’t the mainspring barrel however the nice wheel, positioned simply above a planetary differential. The presence of this differential is important as a result of, just like the Ulysse Nardin Freak, the mainspring barrel within the Honoris I occupies your complete caseback and requires energy to be transmitted to the gear prepare whereas enabling the mainspring to be wound through the bezel. The genius behind this watch is Stéphane von Gunten.
Stéphane von Gunten was final often known as the director of Analysis and Innovation at Ulysse Nardin, forsaking a legacy outlined by some 30 patents. He was chargeable for a staggering variety of improvements which have emerged from the model since 2007, from the foundational Ulysse Anchor fixed pressure escapement to the revolutionary Grinder automated winding system. Along with the quite a few Freaks, most notably the InnoVision 2 and the Freak NeXt, he was additionally behind the creation of the Free Wheel, a cleverly executed watch with its mainspring barrel and flying tourbillon, together with its energy reserve differential and indicator, all mysteriously disconnected and suspended above the dial.
In 2021, he turned the technical director of the Universo manufacturing facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a facility that produces watch palms and appliques for the remainder of the business. Nonetheless, by the summer season of 2022, he had determined to strike out on his personal. He pulled collectively a gaggle of traders and commenced engineering his watch motion. Concurrently, he established an internet of suppliers and specialists primarily based in Neuchâtel and diligently oversaw the manufacturing course of. Earlier than lengthy, Patrik Hoffmann, the previous gross sales director and subsequent CEO of Ulysse Nardin from 2011 to 2017, stepped in to lend his assist. Hoffmann assumed a place on the Haute-Rive board of administrators, concurrently holding the function of government vp at WatchBox.
The mechanics behind the Haute-Rive Honoris I
Just like the Free Wheel, the Haute-Rive Honoris I bears a component of thriller as a result of every little thing on this classically designed watch just isn’t fairly what it appears. Not like the Freak, the mainspring barrel is totally hidden between the mainplate and a canopy plate. It homes a three-meter-long mainspring and has a slipping bridle, which is a function often present in self-winding actions. The slipping bridle holds the outermost coil of the mainspring by friction to the barrel wall. As soon as the strain will get too excessive, the bridle slips, relieving extra stress from overwinding. Because the mainspring barrel occupies the caseback, it supplies a pure elevation for all the opposite parts. However to scale back thickness, the movement works, nice wheel and flying tourbillon are left above the dial.
The ratchet wheel sits on prime of the barrel on the central axis of the motion and drives the differential at 12 o’clock to transmit energy to the gear prepare. When the fluted bezel is wound counterclockwise, it drives a set of pinions on the edge which drives the differential. The differential then winds the ratchet wheel.
The gear prepare begins with the good wheel (conventionally the middle wheel) positioned above the differential. It drives the cannon pinion immediately, which then drives the movement works. A drive wheel meshes with the third wheel pinion offset from the central axis, and the third wheel drives the fourth wheel beneath, simply above the ratchet wheel on the central axis. Which means this tourbillon motion can really be fitted with a central seconds hand.
With the fourth wheel stacked above the ratchet wheel on the central axis, the thriller lies in the way it drives the tourbillon cage the place the tourbillon wheel is on a decrease airplane because it sits immediately above the mainplate and barrel. To unravel this, the axle of the transmission wheel connecting the fourth and tourbillon wheel is barely inclined.
Nonetheless, there’s extra to it. The keyless works have been considerably lowered, because the bezel is used to wind the mainspring. With out the data that the mainspring is positioned within the caseback and wound utilizing the bezel, all of this would appear extremely uncommon at first look. Because the movement works are elevated above the dial, the winding shaft sits flush throughout the dial and thus must be lowered even additional in order that the crown can sit on the heart of the caseband. The winding shaft is thus related to a winding stem positioned on a decrease airplane through two pinions. As such, the crown can’t be pulled out.
As a substitute of a clutch, the selector pusher linked to a column wheel seen good above the threaded shaft is used to modify between winding and setting. In setting mode, a round indicator with a gold end seems by means of an aperture on the dial. When the pusher is depressed, the column wheel rotates and a lever carrying the round gold indicator is pushed out of the pillars, enabling the beak of the pivoted lever to interact with the threaded shaft. This in flip causes the sliding pinion with enamel on its outer floor to interact with the minute wheel, permitting the time to be set. When the sliding pinion is disengaged, the round indicator is both white or black matching the colour of the dial, and the bezel will be wound within the counterclockwise route to cost the mainspring.
The craftsmanship of the Honoris I
Past the intriguing engineering, the motion additionally showcases a remarkably excessive diploma of ending with an abundance of inward angles. The 15-spoke nice wheel as an example options beveled and polished spokes with sharp inside angles whereas the intricate form of the central bridge, which helps the movement works, additionally lends itself to essentially the most tedious hand ending. The identical goes for the higher cage of the flying tourbillon. One other attention-grabbing element is that the HR brand on the hub of the good wheel all the time stays upright as it’s really a pivot cowl.
On the reverse facet of the watch is an influence reserve show the place a peripheral ring rotates round a grained central cowl to point the ability reserve. The graduated scale ranges from 0 to 1,000, with every marker denoting 25 hours, equal to a bit over a day, permitting for straightforward and intuitive studying.
The Honoris I measures 42.5mm vast and simply 11.95mm in peak. It’s obtainable in both white or yellow gold with a black or white grand feu enamel dial, respectively. The enamel dials are made by 2b8 a small provider of top of the range elements and dials in Neuchatel. The normal aesthetic of the watch is additional enhanced by polished leaf-shaped palms which can be white gold to match the white gold case or flame-blued metal on the yellow gold model.
Whereas the white gold model would possibly look like the subtler, extra naturally interesting choice, the yellow gold model with its profoundly conventional façade, sarcastically takes the subtlety even additional because it affords a stronger disguise for all of the unconventional mechanics. In conception, execution and impact, it’s painfully intelligent.
Tech Specs: Haute-Rive Honoris I
Motion: Handbook winding caliber HR01; 1,000-hour energy reserve
Features: Hours and minutes
Case: 42.5mm; 18K white or yellow gold; waterproof to 30m
Dial: Openworked, black or white grand feu enamel
Strap: Handstitched black or brown nubuck calfskin with tone-on-tone topstitching; 18K white or yellow gold buckle
Worth: CHF 148,000, excluding taxes
Availability: Restricted manufacturing of 10 watches per 12 months