Baden-Baden, a city so pretty they named it twice. And the unlikely setting for the launch of the new Harry Winston Opus watch. Then again, there is nothing conventional about this particular line of watches, spearheaded by the Swiss jewelry and watch brand since 2001.
Opus is the brand’s creative outlet, a think-tank through which independent watchmakers have produced some of the most avant-garde pieces of the 21st century. A rare laboratory, where risk is encouraged.
The Harry Winston Opus 14 is its latest product. A rock’n’roll watch, inspired by the 1950’s, it features a functioning jukebox mechanism which can select and ‘play’ one of three discs: a GMT, a Date complication, as well as a more decorative disc featuring Harry Winston’s signature.
“That’s what is so fun about Opus,” said a jubilant Marc A. Hayek. “Usually, you have to follow a strict line of conduct when designing a watch. With Opus, you have to find that line, and cross it, into something totally new.”
His excitement is clear for all to see. The CEO of Blancpain is unabashedly fanatical about watchmaking, and seems to revel in this type of challenge. Already, we saw him showcase that enthusiasm during the presentation of the Blancpain L-evolution, an unexpected watch coming from one of the more conservative brands in the industry.
However, Opus 14 is another beast. One that, according to Hayek, “deserves its own day.” Which brings us back to Baden-Baden, the picturesque German village providing the perfect cover, under an autumn fog, for the brand’s well-guarded surprise.
But the silence was broken, and in some style, by a chain of vintage Cadillacs roaring into town to drive guests to the city’s infamous Casino, where they were greeted with pop-corn by derby girls in roller-skates. For a single, solitarily moment, we were transported through time and space to 1950’s Hollywood.
Perhaps unexpectedly, the evening set the tone for the Opus 14, the first watch in the world to feature a jukebox mechanism, patented by Harry Winston. Located beneath a sapphire crystal cut from a single block, it is housed within a gorgeous and immense 18K gold case.
There’s a lot to admire on the dial. The local time at 9 o’clock, the vinyl-style finishes on the various dials, the two-toned insignia bearing the number 14, the shaded red of the retrograde minutes arc, all these fun-loving design that will “put a spell on you. ”
But it is the movement, as with all Opus watch, that is the real showstopper. The discs take just shy of 9 seconds to go back and forth, and emit a faint mechanical sound, reminiscent of the jukebox when activated. All together, the watch contains 1,066 components, which explains the size and depth of the case.
Does it play any music? Unfortunately, no, not yet. But it is something Harry Winston said it would like to explore in the future, and not necessarily with a new Opus. In all likelihood, it would have increased the already monumental size of the case anyways, and that could have been a problem.
Because if it does not appear much larger than most modern pieces, the true size of the piece reveals itself once the watch is placed on the wrist. Measuring a whopping 54.7 mm in diameter, it does not go unnoticed, and definitely does’t hide under the cuff. But why would you want to hide such a whimsical watch.
The Harry Winston Opus 14 will be limited to only 50 pieces, and will be priced at CHF 428,000 Swiss Francs. Delivery of the first pieces is expected shortly.
Photo Credit: Haute Time. For more information, please visit the official Harry Winston website. Follow Haute Time on Instagram to catch all of the new releases as they happen.