BY COLIN MENEZES
Projekt8, not at all traditional by name and staying true to its quirky aesthetic, the multi-watch brand boutique is recreating retail luxury experience. The brain behind this concept store is Bahraini entrepreneur Ali Mudara, whose eye for design combined with his penchant for horology lead him to launching the two-section store in Bahrain’s prestigious Moda Mall.
One side of the boutique, customers open the door into the dimly lit, Steampunk-style dedicated especially to the artisanal watch brand SEVENFRIDAY, and from the other entrance, customers step into the industrial-themed area of the store which houses multiple high-end independent watch brands, showcased in a manner to draw attention to each individual brand and its defining properties. Keeping the overall interior classy and minimalist, with its exposed concrete walls, the not so black ceiling and the natural wood displays. Of the many interesting and exquisite items in Projekt8, is the boutique’s lounge area which boasts a chandelier created using a wooden cargo pallet with antique Edison-style bulbs hanging through, and beneath it a coffee table made from a V8 engine (created by the 2000 Art Foundry). The walls are subtly decorated with selective art pieces, which give the boutique its sophisticated yet relaxed ambiance.
There’s an artistic sense within the boutique, from the products to the décor. A bulb, for example, its purpose is to emit light but much like everything else, the unique bulb levitates while lighting up the corner, watch winders spinning gyroscopically by Bernard Favre – truly mechanical art to suit the wrist; clocks formulating sentences to give out time in Arabic and English text created by Qlocktwo. All these elements combined give the boutique a magical aura in which the horologists and watch enthusiasts can be lost for hours, and can – ironically – lose track of time. But lets talk about what this concept store prides on: the Independent watch brands. They are brands that stand-alone while others are under the umbrella of ‘multinational luxury goods conglomerate’. Projekt8 aims to not only showcase these individual and exceptional brands, but also aims to answer why such brands come to existence; why is this segment different than other watch making companies; and why is this culture adopted by renowned watchmakers.
As French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gaugin once said: “Art is either plagiarism or revolution”, and the brands that Projekt8 carries have taken the step to revolutionise the Horological society but with finesse, opulence and while doing so they have created a disruption.
However, it is important to note that to measure these brands against those who have been part of the industry for a long time would be unfair, as there are many longstanding brands that do not experiment with the market, not because they can not, but at times shareholders involvements in a company would suggest them to prioritise on other things. Understandably, even brands with longevity have adopted the use of CNC machine and CAD designing to complete a watch-making process, whereas independents had to recreate the machinery from scratch since the idea is not of the past but future. But there’s always a downside if these small independents do not continue to innovate, the mechanical watch industry will stagnate and in time wither away only to be remembered as the past, so let them take the risks and bring beautiful creations in this electronic age.
HYT- The Hydro Mechanical Horologists
Alchemists, physicist, glassblowers and approximately over 10 PhD laureates have come together to draw upon the strictest of codes of fine watchmaking to build an HYT timepiece.
An HYT serves as more than just a watch as it displays Mechanics of Haute Horology and Fluids of Medical Science within a wristwatch: calculating every passing second pushing the microliter, while maintaining right meniscus between 2 liquids and bringing accurate timekeeping with broadening on nanotechnology. The idea of Liquid Time Display came to its inventor Lucien Vouillamoz in 2002, and by 2012 the HYT H1 was launched, taking the team 10 years worth of research to get all the principles right. The oldest found water clock or Clepsydras dates back to the age of the Pharaohs, and it took 3400 years to overcome the force of gravity and indicate the time with a liquid in a mechanical wristwatch.
Founded in 2002 by Morten Linde and Jorn Werdeline, LINDE WERDELIN watches and attachable dive and ski instruments have redefined the world of highly crafted luxury sports watches by bringing together the best of Swiss craftsmanship with Danish design ingenuity and avant-garde technology. The brand chooses to cater to the niche watch collectors, and it specialises in producing only limited and numbered series of watches and instruments.
Being such a small player, their prime objective has always been that watches should be able to handle extreme sports of high density. Designing the case at their lab, the material and alloys used are undoubtedly of high quality and from the aerospace industry.
MCT Manufacture Contemporaine Du Temps
“Beauty with mechanical brains!” that’s what you get when you come across this timepiece; MCT was founded by Denis Giguet in 2007 who has spent 20 years working with the biggest names in the industry like Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, Rolex. Offering an innovative approach to time telling, the reliability of its in-house movement, calibre-refined architecture clearly expresses the excellence and passion towards watchmaking.
The Sequential One, a modern take on the cushion-shape design, the watch has a very cinematic view for time display. The sapphire crystal reveals the entire movement. A sapphire inserted in the middle brings light to the centre of the movement, revealing the details of the micro-mechanical finish. The dial has four-module displays each with five revolving triangular prisms, which pivot to reveal the time. Calibre MCT S1 is made with 471 components and 83 rubies and is limited to only 25 pieces throughout the world.
At beginning of 2010, founder Benoît Minitens showed the Horological world a never before imagined concept. Considering Benoît is an industrial designer with an eclectic portfolio of designing high speed trains, aircraft cabins, medical devices even hunting guns, his approach to fine watchmaking is entirely fresh. They say think outside the box, Benoît has proved he is the man always on the outside.
With every passing minute the entire dial of a Ressence is always in a clockwise motion, this process is called planetary gear system. In an interview with Hondinkee, the Ressence team described it “ as set of gears rotating all together, in a similar way as planets would do in a solar system. They are powered by the rotation of the movement’s centre pinion. This is somewhat unique in watchmaking.”
Ressence managed to bring to the industry an intuitive reading experience: in any watch today – other than the smart watches – there is a glass/crystal, then a slight space for the hands that are suspended up, and below it is a dial, whereas in Ressence there are no hands and no crown so there’s no need for that gap. The sapphire crystal is sitting on the dial, thus the best reading experience and better ergonomics (left hand or the right) is achieved. As per Ressence: “Type 3 and Type 5 uses a water drop effect. Both these models features two separate sealed chambers, one filled with oil includes the ROCS as the other one filled with air includes the base calibre. The upper half is filled with about 35 ml of oil to obtain a never-before-seen visual effect – called water drop. Graphs appear to be projected onto the top crystal as if onto a screen.” Why was it so important to fill the upper dial with oil? To overcome light Refraction.
The Ressence Type 3 has won the prestigious GPHG award (Grand Prix D’Horlogerie De Genéve) in 2013 for its Horological Revelation and in 2016 the Type 5B has been pre-selected for being the first mechanical watch to be perfectly readable underwater regardless of the viewing angle.
All the brands and their respective pieces are available at Projekt8 for customers to witness and experience their unique set of characteristics that has set them apart in the vast world of horology. Using state of the art mechanisms, elegant and chic designs, and competitive prices, these watch brands are stepping out of the norm and giving watches more of a functionality than simply telling the time, and through Projekt8, The Kingdom has the opportunity to experience it first hand.
For more information:
Moda Mall, Manama
(00973) 6677 7600
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