uring the presentation of the 25th Gaïa Prize, the Musée international d’horlogerie (MIH) launched the MIH Gaïa watch, a synthesis of the spirit of the place that saw its birth. Original in its shape and design, it is inspired by the architecture of the museum, combining a tangle of curves and straight lines.
Its domed dial recalls the spherical shape of the Gaïa Prize trophy. In an attempt to break with the tradition of analogue display without affecting the simplicity of reading, the hours and minutes are not indicated by hands but by two discs. Finally, the back of the watch hides a secret: the winding oscillating weight on which the name of the museum is engraved.
This first version with a blue dial, produced in a limited series of 200 pieces, received extraordinary support from the specialised press and collectors who elevated it to the rank of a watchmaking icon.
Encouraged by this success, the MIH is continuing the experiment by creating a non-limited series in deep black, the first 75 pieces of which will enable the restoration of François Ducommun’s Tellurium. Built at the beginning of the 19th century, this rare piece, emblematic of the museum and of the watchmaking know-how of La Chaux-de-Fonds, has an astronomical mechanism consisting of the Earth and the Moon revolving around the Sun.
The cylindrical gilt bronze cabinet is decorated with garlands of roses, leaves and ribbons. An oval medallion, painted on enamel, representing an allegory of Astronomy appears under the white enamel dial with Roman numerals. The case is surmounted by the planetarium and a silver circle with the following astronomical indications: date, month, leap year, age and phases of the moon. The signs of the zodiac are represented in medallions painted on enamel. The clock movement has a recoiling anchor escapement and an hour and quarter chime.
The MIH Gaïa II watch is produced thanks to the close collaboration of craftsmen and companies in La Chaux-de-Fonds, all experts in their field and recognised worldwide for the quality of their work. The Atelier XJC imagined the design; Sellita breathed life into it with its movement; Singer fashioned its dial; Stila offered it a made-to-measure case; Brasport dressed it in a leather strap; Cornu & Cie made the buckle; and the Laboratoire Dubois contributed to its reliability by applying a series of tests. In partnership with the MIH and the craftsmen of its antique watch restoration workshop, each of these experts redoubled their efforts to create a resolutely unique aesthetic and performance watch.
The selling price of this watch made in La Chaux-de-Fonds is set at CHF 2,900.-. Although not limited, only 75 examples of this series II will be sold at the MIH boutique and on the www.montremih.ch website, to allow for the restoration of the Tellurium. Delivery is scheduled between November 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.