Dominique Renaud left the Swiss watch industry in 2000, but you’ll be familiar with his name even if you’ve only come to know mechanical watchmaking recently. Some of the most technically exciting and brilliant watches of the last 15 years are the product of a company — Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi — that has borne his name ever since he co-founded it in 1986.

Dominique Renaud and Giulio Papi standing outside the movement company they co-founded in 1986

Dominique Renaud and Giulio Papi standing outside the movement company they co-founded in 1986

In the last two years, however, those who have been following industry news closely will have reacquainted themselves with the work of Dominique Renaud. His unofficial return in 2014 was in association with HYT and their innovative fluid-display watches as he took on a consulting role with the company.

The time that Renaud spent away from the industry — including his inspirations and creative energies — was funnelled into a watch that he will reveal fully in a week. Our exclusive preview of the watch and its technical capabilities allows us to state that the completely new escapement and movement construction challenges everything we know about mechanical watchmaking.

This watch, named the Dominique Renaud DR01 Twelve First, will come in a strictly limited edition of 12 watches with a starting price of one million Swiss francs each. In accordance with Renaud’s classical training and his family’s horological background, the individual watches will be finished to the very highest standards of traditional watchmaking.

A sneak peek of the DR01 Twelve First, seen from the watch’s 6 o’clock position

The eventual owners of the DR01 Twelve First will be able to customise certain aspects of the watch to their preferences, as befits a watch described by Renaud as his “response to the request from all lovers of mechanical watches for a new mechanical spectacle of a beating heart”.

Renaud sees the DR01 Twelve First as the first step towards a new wave of horological innovation and creativity, stating his wish “to inspire more pioneers to embark on their own Watch Odyssey,”

According to Dominique Renaud, on the edge of revealing his creation: “It’s just the beginning of the journey. Everything can still be reinvented.”

We can’t wait to share the full details of the watch next week. Stay tuned for our exclusive updates!