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4N 4N-MVT01/D01 Watch Hands-On + Flash Sale

4N 4N-MVT01/D01 Watch Hands-On + Flash Sale Hands-On

In 2009 Francois Quentin started the new brand 4N to produce the 4N-MVT01/D01 watch that we debuted back here in 2010. It was an ambitious project that involved the production of a fully mechanical watch that showed the time digitally on a series of overlapping discs. In 2011 we offered a hands-on look at a more complete prototype of the 4N, but one that wasn’t quite working yet. Now, his own piece is being sold and Francois will hand deliver the watch to whomever buys it.

Francois informed us that the system to move the discs wasn’t quite done yet and that 4N was going to use the services of expert watch movement design house Renaud & Papi. In early 2013 I finally got to see the finished version of the 4N-MVT01/D01 limited edition watch. About four years of work for just 16 watches. In reality though 4N will produce some additional versions in the future, but the first 16 will always be a reminder of the efforts and the challenges of designing new types of mechanical movements.

4N 4N-MVT01/D01 Watch Hands-On + Flash Sale Hands-On

4N 4N-MVT01/D01 Watch Hands-On + Flash Sale Hands-On

4N has promised that future versions of the watch will not have orange, but perhaps other colors and case styles. We still love the original 4N-MVT01/D01, though I would have thought after four years they could have come up with an actual name versus reference number. I still just call it “the 4N” watch, and am hoping for 4N to give the timepiece a proper name if they are going to produce more of them. The 16 watches come in either titanium, 18k white gold, or platinum. All of them are sold save for one that will be the subject of a flash sale on TouchOfModern today, June 13th. There is a link to where you can register for the sale tomorrow. I am pretty sure the watch will come with that typical flash sale discount – by the way, it is one of the 18k white gold 4N watches.

The whole point of the 4N watch was to be mechanically interesting, yet modern and legible. The case looks like a rectangular version of the Louis Vuitton Tambour. The time is framed in a small orange box on the dial, and yes it is very legible. Positioning the discs close together, but also giving them enough room to move around, was a challenge. The final movement is of course manually wound, and has a power reserve of 10 days (237 hours), which is quite a long time.



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  • Grinnie Jax

    Nice watch for Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi

  • FalconerInd

    It’s rare that i really dislike a piece. But this one almost made me barf.
    Although i do appreciate the craftmanship and ‘innovation’ behind it, i find it seriously ugly, and at that price i m not gonna lose any sleep over it.

  • Never saw a watch in this price range at a flash sale. I wonder if this is a trend…

    • MarkCarson

      maestromind I can’t recall what it was, but TouchOfModern did a sale a while back where the watch was also a 6 figure watch and one of a very limited edition. So they have done this before, but obviously it’s not a volume part of their business (but the profit for even one would be still be worth it for ToMo). I can look up what the previous $$$ watch was when I get home if you are interested.

      • MarkCarson maestromind It was this piece–2/rgt-cisaille. Reminds me of a cross between Hautlence and SevenFridays…

  • Ulysses31

    I like it.  I like the sardine can shaped case, the high legibility and the complex yet simple appearance from the front.  Nicely finished.  Way too expensive but that’s a given for watches like this it seems.

  • Kris C

    Very cool to see this become a relaity – I was a fan when it was first debuted here, and I still am. The original renderings I still think are a little nicer than the finished product, but they stayed very true to the concept, and I’d relish the opportunity to try one on.
    Speaking of which, why are there so many pictures of you holding this thing and not wearing it? I want to see how tall it looks on the wrist.

  • Grinnie Jax

    I find the watch very specific and eye-catching, however, its back side is something like being from another watch from different style. Well, maybe I am mistaking

  • Neil C

    If it wasn’t in a sardine tin, I’d love it. Maybe a tinted out crystal where needed.

    • MarkCarson

      Neil CI think that (the smoked crystal) is a great idea. Just have the current time’s digits in the clear, the rest only somewhat visible like the A. Lange & Sohne Grand Lange 1 Lumen Watch:
      Plus I wish they have done some decoration (Cote de Geneve, perlage,etc.) for the main/base plate. And something more visually interesting that the current, slab-sided sardine can case would have been nice too.
      I do like it for what it is and 30% off is cool – but still out of my price range.

      • Ryan B

        yes damn good idea on the smoked crystal because no matter how hard I try all I see is numbers ….. numbers everywhere.

    • MarkCarson

      Neil CHere is a link to a quick and dirty ‘photoshopped’ version of the lead photo in this article shows how a smoked crystal might have looked. ‘Might have’ because looks like this production run of 16 is done.

  • JasonDunn

    It reminds me of the old Sanyo electro-mechanical alarm clock I had before the gears eventually wore out.

  • Lesthepom

    I think the lucky person that gets to own on of the 16 isn’t buying it as a sophisticated dress watch but is buying a time pice that will be the envy of every one who knowers what they are looking at as a watch it is a little cluttered but as a time pice it is fantastic how they got this thing to actually work and work it does I don’t think they need to change any thing the sapphire is not too clear the gold is not too heavy and it is definitely not too big
    But if I wanted it as an everyday watch ( lucky ba###d ) then maybe a smoky sapphire would make it a lot easier to read a different color may be more legible may be we will find out if they do another run of them if it was ant for people like Harry Winston and the team at 4n we would all be saying how nice our timex watches were
    Keep up the good work and I ( hopefully we ) look forward to seeing more unusual pice’s from you

  • Zeitblom

    Don’t take this the wrong way… but… you seem of late to be putting out a lot of reviews of watches that are either ridiculously ugly [like the most recent Patek you reviewed] or ridiculously overpriced [like this idiotic thing] or ridiculously poor quality [like the cheap tourbillon] or just ridiculous [like that Stallone thing]. Maybe it would be better to do a few more reviews of watches that normal humans might either wear or reasonably aspire to wear? The watches that are just out of reach would be a good target. I’m thinking Glashuette Original or Zenith or JLC. Sure, we all enjoy a good laugh, but not all the time.

    • Kris C

      Zeitblom Disagree. I wouldn’t feel the need to come here regularly if all that was posted were run-of-the mill watches. The best part about aBtW is that you can’t predict what you might see next. I can appreciate that you might like to think you can speak on the behalf of everyone, but it’s not required – your idea of what ‘normal humans’ might aspire to own will differ from the views of many others, so maybe you should just climb down off the ledge.
      Case in point – you think the 4N is “idiotic” and I personally find it to be awesome. Also, while I agree that the latest iteration of the Patek sky moon is gaudy, I don’t think there is a better place for it on the web than right here, in terms of conversation.

    • Zeitblom We don’t take it the wrong way at all. We know that people are interested in coverage of more popular brands, but when it comes down to it there are in reality only a handful of brands that make the products MOST (but not all) people are buying. We couldn’t really fill our site up with their new watches or stories about them because they simply don’t release 100s of new watches a year. On a good year Glashutte Original, for example, releases maybe six new watches. Having said that, we try to cover the best stuff from all the major brands like Rolex, Omega, Zenith, JLC, etc… each year. We just mix in stuff in between. 
      At the same time, we love all this wild stuff. It doesn’t mean we think people are going to be buying it, but it helps us get excited about watches overall. I wouldn’t want to get up in the morning if all I was writing about were three-handers, chronographs, and the occasional calendar or tourbillon watch offered by the big boys. While some new model with a blue dial can be nice and salable, it isn’t what invokes our passion to write about regularly. So basically all the stuff we think people are going to buy we write about, and all the things which are entertaining and interesting we also like to write abut to cover the largest range of stuff that is fun to look at or lust over. Thanks for being a great and participating reader.

      • MarkCarson

        “in reality only a handful of brands that make the products MOST (but not all) people are buying.”
        How true – sad, but true.

      • Zeitblom

        aBlogtoWatch Zeitblom 
        OK, point taken, but… [a] I wasn’t suggesting that you completely drop the wild stuff…it’s just a question of getting the balance right.
        And… most importantly… [b] I hope you won’t get fixated on covering *new* watches. There are plenty of excellent watches out there that didn’t appear very recently, but which you haven’t discussed yet. For example: the GO pilot watches. Now, alas, no longer made, but there are still plenty of them out there in watch shops. Another example: the Zenith EP 1969 Chronomaster. One of the best watches released in the last 10 years, but you haven’t discussed it yet. Another example: some of the Parmigiani watches. There are tons of superb watches out there just waiting for you to talk about them. Who cares that they have been on the market a while? I think many of us have benefited tremendously from your past articles about relatively mundane watches like these. Thanks!

    • Lesthepom

      Most of the normal human watch brands have there own websites and news letters may be subscribe to all of them and just read ABTW when you want to see how the other half live I get news letters from about 10 different companies but lots of what I get I just delete as it is just boring corporate drivel and most of the so called photographs are only Cad drawings the real life pictures from Ariel ( apart from the hairy arm ) show the watch in ther true colors
      I think if you look at the numbers Zenith and JLC are no way normal when I walk around my town the norm is a $200 or $300 and the 4 jewelry shops closest to me don’t have a Swiss watch between them
      Keep up the good work ABTW I will read about enyy watch from cheep Chinese to one off Swiss masterpiece it’s all good fun

  • karsonb

    Still not quite on sale enough for my price range, but a remarkable feat of horology.
    Very cool watch

  • OngWeisheng

    I love this watch and the way it tells the time, reminds me of those flip-clocks. I have an old Time Recorder Swiss watch that functions similar except mine’s just a jump hour with single digit wandering minutes. Oh and of course it doesn’t look nowhere as cool as this.

  • LorenzoViola

    Love it but is soooooooo expensive for me 🙁

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