Krayon D1A

Ultra-thin watches that redefine horological ingenuity

For many watchmakers and collectors alike, the thinner a timepiece is, the better. That may be a matter of preference – or debate – but there’s no disputing the breathtaking, infinitesimal complexity of ultra-thin watches.

“A rotating dial eliminates the need for conventional moving hands.”

The dawn of time

Let’s face it, moonphase indicators are often admired for their beauty rather than their utility. But independent watchmaker Krayon has reimagined this complication with the Anywhere collection, offering a truly functional twist. Instead of just tracking lunar phases, the Anywhere displays sunrise and sunset times as well.

The Anywhere Aurora, housed in a lightweight titanium case, makes a bold statement with its vibrant green hue. The dial’s intricate tapestry pattern is achieved through ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition), a cutting-edge process that ensures exceptional precision and uniformity. With a wearable 39mm diameter, this manual-wound timepiece boasts a slender 9mm profile and a 72-hour power reserve.

Domed wonder

In a watchmaking industry dominated by conglomerates, innovative independent brands often struggle to stand out. However, Ressence has defied the odds, literally reinventing how time is displayed. Founder Benoît Mintiens, with his background in industrial design, brings a fresh perspective to this traditional craft. 

Ressence’s unique approach revolves around a rotating dial, eliminating the need for conventional hands.

The brand’s latest collection, the Type 8, showcases this innovation with remarkable flair. Hours can be read in two ways: either from the hour hand within a subdial or from the position of the subdial itself, which moves with time. The longer hand indicates the minutes. While it may sound complex, the concept is surprisingly intuitive, resulting in a minimalist aesthetic. The domed sapphire crystal, eliminating the need for a bezel, further enhances the clean lines. Crafted in titanium, the Type 8 is exceptionally lightweight, making it a joy to wear.

Ressence Type 8.

Survival of the fittest

When ultra-thin watches are mentioned today, the Piaget Altiplano immediately comes to mind, a testament to Piaget’s rich legacy of crafting slender timepieces since the 1960s. The introduction of Calibre 1200P, which measured a scant 2.35mm, in 2014 was pivotal, igniting the 2000s trend for ultra-thin complications and sparking a horological race for ultimate slimness.

Initially conceived as a concept, Piaget eventually launched the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic for discerning collectors and commercial viability. At a mere 4.3mm thick, it’s a remarkable feat for an automatic watch. To achieve this exceptional thinness, Piaget reimagined movement design, creatively integrating components so that some of the intricate workings are visible through the dial – a testament to the brand’s meticulous attention to detail.

Crafted in white gold, the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic features blue accents that harmonise with the striking alligator strap.

Timeless precision

Building a perpetual calendar complication is no mean feat. Collectors often joke that perpetual calendars spend more time in the workshop than on the wrist, and that’s because of the sheer complexity that goes into designing a movement that can tell the time, as well as the date, month and year all while taking into account leap years.

This makes the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin a true marvel. Its integrated automatic movement, the 1120 QP/1, measures a mere 4.05mm, a testament to engineering ingenuity.

Visually, the Patrimony Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin exudes classic refinement. The symmetrical dial harmoniously displays the perpetual calendar indications, while the moonphase indicator at 6 o’clock adds a touch of celestial poetry. Encased in rose gold (with a version available in white gold), it celebrates both form and function.

“The brand’s founder was the ingenious mind behind the tourbillon.”

A tribute to a watchmaking greatness

A Breguet tourbillon may be considered a watchmaking cliché, but it’s one we readily embrace. After all, the brand’s founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, was the ingenious mind behind the tourbillon mechanism, designed to counteract gravity’s effects on pocket watch accuracy.

Today, the Swiss watchmaker remains a master of the tourbillon, as seen in this Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367 in white gold. While it no longer holds the record for the thinnest self-winding tourbillon (Bulgari has taken the crown), the watch, which measures 7mm thick, is imbued with elements that harken to Abraham Louis’ watchmaking and design genius, such as the italicised Breguet numerals as well as the apple-topped hands, and the pristine white enamel dial. It’s a watch that transcends all trends and cycles, demonstrating the timelessness of Breguet’s designs.

Oechslin’s influence is palpable in the Blast Moonstruck, a watch that ingeniously displays moon phases, lunar dates, tidal coefficients, world time, dual time, and the positions of the sun and moon globally. Despite the number of features, the watch is surprisingly uncluttered, although you would probably need a course or two to understand and read the numerous indications. Wrought in black ceramic and black DLC titanium, the watch also features a domed sapphire glass with a protruding globe. Talk about bringing the cosmos to our wrists.

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