Today, time is inescapable. From every corner, buzzing inside our pockets, staring emotionlessly at us from a myriad of screens, intruding from a seemingly endless array of devices — our dependence on the electronic world has caused us to be ceaselessly confronted by reminders of the fleeting nature of our existence upon this mortal coil. And so, a mechanical watch exists in an amusing dichotomy. On the one hand, its raison d’être is to provide a constant and accurate measurement for the passing of time — a noble function that reaches back to Harrison and his marine chronometers and beyond. On the other hand, considering the way we are overwhelmingly bombarded with pervasive reminders of time, a mechanical watch actually exists to escape the plodding finality of mortality. Through the beauty of its mechanism, the enchanting language of gear wheels, the inventiveness of its creators and the beauty with which it is executed, a mechanical watch allows us to step outside ourselves and for a moment, lose ourselves in the transportive magnificence of this unique merger of high performance and art known as horology.
So, in some ways, I’ve always found it funny that the majority of watch brands have been creating traditional complications intended to add some other level of empirical information to the watch. For example, a perpetual calendar that will allow you to navigate the shoals of the Gregorian calendar, a minute repeater that will transform empirical time into sound, a chronograph… well, that will give you a precise empirical measure over time during a specific event. It’s interesting that the world’s most expensive Rolex, which sold for nearly 2.5 million Swiss francs at the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction in May 2016, was one of 12 known split-second chronographs of its type created by the brand in 1942, and offered — according to the neatly packaged mythology accompanying it — only to a select group of racecar drivers from professional racing teams. And yes, the amazing movement within it allows you to calculate a lap time thanks to an additional split-second hand, but I can pretty much assure you that it was never actually used by any professional driver ever, while he was racing. Have you ever tried to read a split time off a rattrapante? Imagine doing that at speed, inside a car cockpit.