he man behind Cyrus is Jean-François Mojon (co-owner of the brand together with “a wealthy Swiss family”), an innovative and expert movement manufacturer and watchmaker who won a top award at the 2010 GPHG in the independent watchmaker category and whose list of creations with his Le Locle-based manufacture, Chronode, (same co-owners) reads like a Who’s Who of contemporary haute horlogerie. Judge for yourself: MB&F, Czapek, HYT, Harry Winston Opus X, MCT, Urban Jürgensen, Trilobe and, more recently, Hermès have all collaborated, or are still collaborating, with Chronode. And that’s not counting other major brands who demand confidentiality about the developments entrusted to the manufacture. Twenty people work there, building and developing in 2D and 3D, delivering complete movements which they decorate, or even building an entire product which they deliver in its finished state.
“We control the entire chain, from the concept to customer service,” explains J.-F. Mojon, “but we don’t make the components. We entrust that part to a select circle of local subcontractors, which aren’t lacking round here. But we do all the finishing, decoration and assembling.”
Founded in 2005, Chronode, which has grown impressively over the last three or four years, is also an innovating force for the brands, whether in terms of movements, functions, or the exteriors. It devises its offerings together with a small group of designers, always centred on “the universe of the brand we are addressing”. So why launch Cyrus, out of the blue? The answer: “With Cyrus, we aim to build a totally contemporary brand free from all previous history and all watchmaking heritage. Hence the name of Cyrus, a great conqueror who founded the Persian empire. Like him, we want to explore new frontiers – horological ones – and offer unique and exclusive creations. Each and every one of our models has to constitute a new take on timekeeping.”
The inaugural model, Klepcys Moon, launched in 2015, expresses this ambition very well, with two patents, three completely new functions and two functional crowns, which have become the Cyrus signature. It has an imposing 48mm case resembling the walls of a for89 tress embedded between four spectacular lugs, a retrograde hours hand which changes colour depending on whether it is day or night, central discs for the minutes and seconds, indication of the date by means of mobile and retrograde parts and, lastly, a spherical moon of jawdropping realism, the phases of which are indicated by a black lacquer cover that gradually veils the surface.
Having hosted the Solo Tempo (a three-hander), a closed or skeletonised Chronograph, and an Alarm (which chimes like a minute repeater), this very same highly recognisable Klepcys case – the 44mm version is illustrated here – this year hosts the Vertical Tourbillon Skeleton.
Placed for the first time at the centre of the watch on a vertical axis inclined at 90° and appearing between the two arches of a decorative bridge inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, the tourbillon, on which the seconds can be read engraved on tiny plates, is flanked by the retrograde hour indicator on one side and that of the minutes on the other. A spherical 4-day power reserve is displayed at 12 o’ clock. Two functional crowns – one conventional one for setting the watch and the other, at 9 o’ clock, to adjust it forward by one jumping hour at a time – round out the perfect symmetry of this rather monumental, three-dimensional whole. The central position of the vertical tourbillon reveals the entire space occupied by the movement to the observer’s gaze.
Reasonably priced for horology of this exclusive standard of innovation and build (the Solo Tempo starts at CHF 8,500 / Valjoux Chronograph at CHF 13,000 / Alarm at CHF 39,000 / Vertical Tourbillon from CHF 100,000), in just a few short years Cyrus has already built a strong presence in Asia (Japan, HK, Macau, China), Italy (10 outlets), France and London, and is now also in the US.
Discover more of The New Haute Horlogerie porfolio here below.