The old adage has it that after sleeping on a problem, you can often come up with the solution. This seems to be the case for the young watch constructor Anthony Saunier of AJS Production (located in Porrentruy, in the Swiss Jura). One fine morning, he woke up in a good mood. During his rather fitful sleep, he had dreamed up a mechanical innovation that could very well upset the apple cart of watch displays—and, at the same time, turn the pyramid of mechanical products upside down. So, what was it?
Total modularity for the display
Just imagine for a moment a “universal additional plate”—that is its name—drilled with a large series of holes permitting the placement of “all that you could want, wherever you want” on the dial: GMT, Big Date, Day of the week, Regulator, Moon Phase, Day and Night indicator…
Ordinarily, these indications are positioned in rigorously predetermined spots, but with this totally modular plate, they can be placed by sectors of 30 degrees anywhere you want over the entire surface of the dial. You can thus design four different GMT indications, for example, on the same dial, for those who insist on having four time zones available to them.
The great advantage of this additional plate (measuring 2.2 mm in thickness and 30 mm in diameter) is that it can be mounted on standard, three-hand, ETA, or ETA-clone mechanical movements. At the centre of the movement, on the principal axis, are three levels of gears: hours, minutes, and seconds. Using different gearing systems (or coded gears as in the case of the Big Date), you can thus offset the desired indications and position them in any angular sector of the dial. Depending on their size, they will occupy a smaller or bigger space in that sector. Thus a GMT will take up a 90º segment, a Day of the week will consume 60º, a Regulator will take up 30º to 60º of the space, while a Large Date will occupy 30º of the space.
As another example, you can also place indications side by side, such as a GMT (90º), Moon Phase (90º), Day of the week (60º), Seconds Regulator (30º), Big Date (30º), and a Day and Night indicator (60º), thus giving six complications over the 360º circle. We also must mention that all can be rotated and positioned to the hundredth of a degree, which opens all sorts of creative opportunities.
A revolution for the mechanical mid-range?
For AJS Production, the main interest in this patented innovation is that it allows for the production of an assortment of pieces that are ready to be assembled according to a client’s wishes. Brands can therefore make very specific displays, very recognisable, without having to pay expensive development costs. This universal additional and modular plate thus prefigures the arrival on the marketplace of small complications that are both original and competitively priced. This should give a boost to the mid-range mechanical sector and return some of its lustre.
Here are the links to the other articles in our “mechanical alternatives” dossier:
Introduction - alternative solutions
Optimo, a new alternative source for assortments
Technotime: double barrels, tourbillons and balance springs
Citizen acquires Manufacture La Joux-Perret
Centagora, a new type of watchmaking “coach”
Source: Europa Star August - September 2012 Magazine Issue