French brand Alto debuts with Art 01 model

May 2024

French brand Alto debuts with Art 01 model

This newcomer to the watchmaking world makes its mark with a radical approach. Its inaugural model features a seconds hand that turns backward. It is the brand’s philosophy to extend the boundaries of creativity and technicality, merging art and time to offer a unique experience.


ith its first model, Art 01, Alto lays the foundation for a contemporary project that stands in stark contrast to a polished and standardised watchmaking industry. A project that respects yet challenges the codes of an age-old art.

With its form inspired by the wedge design of 1970s concept cars, the Art 01 is arguably to watchmaking what brutalism is to architecture. It plays with light through its facets while its shape squares the polyhedron.

The Art 01 shows that it is possible to interweave extreme and antinomic elements into a coherent whole. Alto’s radical design philosophy is translated into a sleek, ergonomic, and elegant watch.

The Art 01 also reflects Alto’s concept of time. Time moves forward and marches on – no one can resist it.

Yet Alto has again chosen to display its disruptive vision and break away from the established order. The Art 01 subtly reverses the traditional march of time, with a seconds hand that turns backwards.

French brand Alto debuts with Art 01 model

A countdown. A contradiction. A counterpoint to established conventions. That is for you to decide. Whatever the case, it is an invitation to the wearer to reflect on the meaning of time as it passes.

The Art 01 marks the beginning of Alto’s watchmaking adventure. An artistic adventure without limits.

Alto, an acronym for “Art and Limited Time Objects”, takes a radical approach to watchmaking in which art and time merge to create a unique experience.

Alto invites a bold exploration of the passage of time through the prism of creativity.

Alto believes in the profound interconnection between art and time, asserting that art has the unique power to capture, reflect and even transform the perception of time.

Alto is pushing back the boundaries of traditional watchmaking and ushering in a new era with its first creation, the Art 01.

The Art 01 embodies Alto’s design vision. Conceived as a symbol of the artistic expression of time, this watch challenges traditional watchmaking both through its radical design and its technical innovations.

French brand Alto debuts with Art 01 model

The Art 01 stands out with its unique sapphire crystal.
It combines a curved and facetted outer surface with a hemispherical inner surface. A technical feat never before achieved in watchmaking.

Crafted from grade 5 titanium, the case of Art 01 is both strong and lightweight. Its distinctive shape, in continuity with the sapphire crystal, required three years of development and over 20 machining steps. The brushed, satin, and polished finishes are entirely hand-crafted.

The shape of the Art 01 dial is inspired by the major Greek arts of sculpture and architecture. It pays tribute to light as a source of artistic inspiration. The brass dial has a matt finish obtained using the bead-blasting technique, and is designed to maximise the light entering the watch. A natural dialogue is created between the play of light and shadow through the louvred apertures.

The Art 01 houses the A01 calibre, an automatic micro-rotor movement conceived and designed exclusively for Alto. Drawn up by designer Barth Nussbaumer and developed by the Cercle des Horlogers in La Chaux-de-Fonds, this movement combines performance and elegance, with an unprecedented architecture that can be admired through the caseback. The different materials used, the fully customised decorations and the “traits tirés” surfaces on several components give the A01 calibre its distinctive character and unique design. Another special feature is the seconds hand, which turns counter-clockwise and powers the hour and minute hands, which turn in the traditional clockwise direction.

The Art 01 has been produced in 25 numbered pieces and is priced at CHF18,450 (excl. VAT) or EUR19,100 (excl. VAT).

French brand Alto debuts with Art 01 model


Reference MK1 TI


  • Grade 5 titanium
  • Hand-rubbed satin finish
  • Water resistance: 3 ATM


  • Main sapphire crystal: curved surface, double 17-degree chamfer, hemispherical inner cut (anti-reflective treatment)
  • Caseback sapphire crystal: flat surface with lateral chamfers (anti-reflective treatment)
  • Hardness: 2300 Vickers


  • 7 elements
  • Matt black lacquered brass


  • Manufacture A01 calibre with automatic micro-rotor movement
  • Dimensions: 37.5mm (W) x 33.15mm (H)
  • Thickness: 4.04mm (including rotor)
  • Weight: 18.4g
  • Plate: Grade 5 titanium (PVD treatment)
  • Bridges: Brass with diamond-cut angle (PVD treatment)
  • Modules: Grade 5 titanium, satin finish on two planes (PVD treatment)
  • Rotor: Reconit® 18 with engraving and rhodium plating
  • Number of jewels: 32
  • Frequency: 4Hz
  • “Back in time” seconds hand in reverse operation
  • Power reserve: 48 hours


  • FKM
  • Alto folding clasp

Weight 56g

French brand Alto debuts with Art 01 model

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