Démence Timepiece Is An Ultra-Luxury Toy For A New Watch Economy

Démence Timepiece Is An Ultra-Luxury Toy For A New Watch Economy

Démence Timepiece Is An Ultra-Luxury Toy For A New Watch Economy Watch Releases

Now is a great time to produce extremely high-end exotic wrist watches... if of course, you have a reliable way to get customers to buy them. The continued watch industry downsizing in Switzerland and around the world has a series of interesting side-effects, among the most pronounced of which is a growing pool of very talented people who have less and less work to do. The Démence Timepiece is a concept watch (UPDATE: that is coming in about 18 months after the publication date of this article) which perfectly illustrates this point and the tricky place many of the watch industry's best are finding themselves in.

Stephane Lacroix-Gachet runs the Lucky Luxe design studio in Geneva and has produced a range of high-end and accessible timepieces for many of the major watch brands over the years. In around 2005 he said that "everything was possible," as investors and brands alike competed with one another to produce even more exotic and complicated (and expensive) timepieces. The financial crash of 2008 and the later slumping of the Chinese market more or less put an end to lavish development and spending. With that came a very pronounced reduction in the volume of modern high-complication timepieces. Accordingly, it meant a reduction in work for people like Stephane and his many colleagues who are designers, prototypers, and manufacturers.

Démence Timepiece Is An Ultra-Luxury Toy For A New Watch Economy Watch Releases

The Démence Timepiece is a concept that Lucky Luxe sought to build and was looking for a financial partner. There isn't a lot of success for $100,000 plus watches on Kickstarter, so people like Stephane need to build traction the traditional way. Listening to Stephane talk about it, you'd easily mistake him for seeking a mate. "Someone who understands that small details can make a difference. Someone who wants to get involved in various processes other than pure watch creation. A real partner... someone who sometimes has to support you psychologically."

He isn't being picky, but practical. Some of the most interesting untold stories in the watch industry are tales of watchmaker meeting investor. This has led to more drama in the world of haute horology than everything else. Watchmakers and designers dream of that "perfect" partner who is supportive, patient, and resource-generous (aren't we all). While some might come across as a prima donna, without such accommodations, often times new watches or brands can be stillborn. In an era obsessed with efficiency volume, investors looking to be a part of a seriously high-end watch must utterly adapt their exceptions for the venture. If you haven't learned anything about the Swiss watch industry until now, know that it is both slow and full of personalities to win over.

Démence Timepiece Is An Ultra-Luxury Toy For A New Watch Economy Watch Releases

Démence Timepiece Is An Ultra-Luxury Toy For A New Watch Economy Watch Releases

The Démence Timepiece is the type of watch you want if you love machines, love radically different design, and love to show off (at least a little bit). With a planned production of only 21 pieces total, the watch should deliver customers both inherent value and exclusivity. Many of the tech specs (such as case material - even though this concept has a matte white ceramic case) are yet to be determined, but the Démence Timepiece is more or less completed from a technical perspective. Planned to have a 43mm wide square case, the movement is designed to have indication systems on both sides. Accordingly, the inner part of the case (which appears to be in a sapphire crystal box) is designed to flip around so that the wearer can choose the dial to display.

One part Richard Mille and one part Harry Winston, the Démence Timepiece is both showy and complicated. It also has plenty of functional diamonds. The diamonds are mostly decorative on the more traditional side of the watch as they decorate the hour marker ring. On the reserve side of the watch they are placed in sets of six diamonds on small sections that look like playing dice. These sections (the "prisms") move around to indicate the time digitally and are decorated with either white or black diamonds. The process of mechanically changing the time on the digital side is planned to take three seconds. This small element is crucial because that relatively slow animation is key to the piece's emotional intrigue. Little details like that are things that designers and investors can typically fight about.

Démence Timepiece Is An Ultra-Luxury Toy For A New Watch Economy Watch Releases

The unique mechanical manually wound movement will have a frequency of 3Hz along with 40 hours of power reserve. The movement will have a tourbillon as well as be able to indicate two time zones. This is simply because the time on each side of the case can be set independently. Despite the highly exotic nature of the Démence Timepiece, it is rather practical in its own exaggerated manner.

An interesting and appealing design cue is in the form of what appears to be a power reserve indicator. In a slightly ironic move, the design of the power reserve indicator icon is a battery - a decision which appears to be playful and is pulling from the mobile device world. Here a row of nine diamonds flip over one at a time as you wind the movement with more energy. I've never seen anything quite like this in action, and I'm sure if created, it would be fun to watch in action.

Démence Timepiece Is An Ultra-Luxury Toy For A New Watch Economy Watch Releases

The Démence Timepiece is a cool horological toy for adults with a lot of cash for toys. In recent years, such watches have come under fire for being overly-priced and under-marketed. Both of these accusations are true. Stephane might find himself in the same situation if he follows the same route as many before him have in getting their new exotic watch idea made. The traditional model was to sell the idea to a big brand that will put their branding all over it and probably change the design. The other approach is the often very risky and hard to find success strategy of building your own brand using an investor. Will either of these methods work for the Démence Timepiece in 2017?

Démence Timepiece Is An Ultra-Luxury Toy For A New Watch Economy Watch Releases

Or is perhaps now the time for a new approach? Demence itself isn't sure at this point the precise way it will share its product with potential customers (i.e. directly or via third-party sales agents). I think the first battle is a consumer one. Watches like this have been the butt of many jokes given their avant garde designs and lack of classic lines. Watch designers have rued the fact that all but the most conservative of designs seem to get interest from mainstream consumers. Then again, with a limited edition of 21 watches and a planned "under" $350,000 price point, the Démence Timepiece is certainly not for the mainstream audience. Perhaps it is then a matter of pricing? Will wild designs make more sense at lower prices? Is there even a way of getting this level of detail in a product priced significantly less?

In the current watch economy, the answer to many of these questions is still "no." A new production and marketing economy needs to be set up to support watches like this - which in my opinion will be the real legacy of early 21st century watch making in 50-100 years from now. If watch design studios like Lucky Luxe (and its colleagues) can manage to find a supportive system, then they are clearly ready to produce a new flock of interesting and innovative horological toys. The ideas are there, now the watch industry needs to build a new structure to support them. I look forward to seeing the Demence timepiece when it finally comes out - and experiencing how they plan to run a business around it given today's market.

What do you think?
  • I love it! (38)
  • Interesting (33)
  • I want it! (16)
  • Thumbs up (6)
  • Classy (3)
  • BrJean

    That’s how you properly use diamonds! 10/10 watch in my opinion. This design has a great potential: a lot of ground to play witch colors and materials (like MB&F is doing with their watches). Personally, I’d like to see this with leather strap and roman numerals on one side to stress the contrast even more.

    Hope we’ll have a chance to see hands-on on this.

  • Moonraker

    Using diamonds for those functions is very interesting although there doesn’t seem to be enough contrast for the time display. Démence is a terrible name, but I doubt more than a prototype will ever be made.

  • Martin Cerny

    Démence…. are you serious? That is the most hilarious name I ever seen on a “luxury” watch.

    • Moonraker

      Yes. Worse than Krayon by a country mile.

      • Berndt Norten

        But Gentlemen Warfare is still the best

    • Sam Soul

      Démence=insanity.

  • Esteban

    Not enough diamonds and illegible “regular” side because lack of contrast, but otherwise it’s a pretty cool (if huge) idea!

  • DanW94

    “Listening to Stephane talk about it, you’d easily mistake him for seeking a mate. “Someone who understands that small details can make a difference. Someone who wants to get involved in various processes other than pure watch creation. A real partner…” – I suggest he try watch.com….
    Seriously though, looks interesting. When you feeling haute horlogerie you can display the traditional tourbillon side and when you want to go all Casio just flip it and go digital.

    • Moonraker

      I suggest HourTime for watchmakers over 50. Or if you’re tired of those uppity city folks with their fancy tourbillons, go to TimersOnly.com.

      “You don’t have to be lonely at TimersOnly.com.”

      • DanW94

        Watchurbate…..lol. Also stay away from WindersandGrinders.com. And there’s always IG’s favorite site, HandCrankMe. com.

        • Word Merchant

          Windr?

        • Moonraker

          There’s fattrapants.org for those plus-sized or “more to love” watch lovers.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            Tick Talk, for the guy not understanding how the internet works and who`s still stuck in 1985.

  • SuperStrapper

    Pretty damn cool actually. I don’t even mind the diamonds on the ‘digital’ side due dobthe arrangement, but they should be scrapped on the more traditional looking dial.

    Would be interested in seeing more.

  • Moonraker

    Démence. Inspired by my grandma who thinks I’m Edward G. Robinson and who tells the same stories over and over and over.

    • Martin Cerny

      check out wikipedia: Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases that cause a long term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember that is great enough to affect a person’s daily functioning. Other common symptoms include emotional problems, problems with language, and a decrease in motivation.

      Well, fits perfectly to the watch…!

      • Raymond Wilkie

        If anyone i knew in a response to a question thrown at them said ” Check out Wikipedia ” , i would have them shot at dawn ( and i don’t mean Dawn French a fat English comedian( tress ?) can that be feminised, anyhoo……………………………Moving on.

  • BNABOD

    Démence what a great name for it . Just fits and the watch that rotates on one axis is pretty neat but then you got to take it off to read the time on the other side. Anyhow I still find the digital looking numbers hard to read and a different and by that I mean visible set of hands should not be too much to ask at 350gs

  • Yan Fin

    It should be a special category, say dumbwatch. May overlap with ‘smartwatch’ category. Dumbwatch Dementia…

  • Marius
  • Simon_Hell

    So is this Android only or will it work with iOS too?

  • Word Merchant

    If you like the look, but can’t quite budget for this beauty, then may I suggest this – http://www.casio.com/products/watches/databank/db360-1av – as a suitable wallet-friendly alternative.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Define ” accessible “

    • SuperStrapper

      1(of a place) able to be reached or entered.
      ‘the town is accessible by bus’
      ‘this room is not accessible to elderly people’
      More example sentencesSynonyms
      1.1 Able to be easily obtained or used.
      ‘making learning opportunities more accessible to adults’
      More example sentencesSynonyms
      1.2 Easily understood or appreciated.
      ‘an accessible account of his theories’
      More example sentencesSynonyms
      1.3 Able to be reached, entered, or used by people who have a disability.
      ‘features such as non-slip floors and accessible entrances’
      More example sentences
      2(of a person, especially one in a position of authority) friendly and easy to talk to; approachable.
      ‘he is more accessible than most tycoons’
      More example sentencesSynonyms
      Origin
      Late Middle English: from late Latin accessibilis, from Latin access- ‘approached’, from the verb accedere (see accede).

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Am always taken so literally.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    Alzheimer’s?!?
    Apart from that, it’s massively cool. Stupidly expensive, and really pretty ugly. Functional looking, but still ugly.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Quick quiz :
    What do you think my reaction be if i bumped into someone wearing this timepiece.
    Would it be:
    A , ” Wow bud , you have the finger on taste bang on that looks fantastic on you ”
    B , ” Jog on douche bag ”
    C , ” Am guessing you have more money than sense “

    • Phil leavell

      Just a recommendation all of the above

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Trick question B & C is the answer 🙂

        • Phil leavell

          My apologies I took A as an oxymoron
          Like damn Trump your hair looks good

          • Raymond Wilkie

            That’s you’r commander in chief , have some respect :).

          • Phil leavell

            Damn I’m a Foreigner

          • Berndt Norten

            Damn. I wish I was your leader

          • Phil leavell

            Good luck with that my wife says I can’t even be housebroken

          • Lincolnshire Poacher

            Doesn’t it? I always looked at Trump and said to myself, “Gee, I hope I can have such a luxuriant head of hair when I’m his age”.

    • IG

      D, *plants a Glasgow kiss*

  • Sheez Gagoo

    This watch reminds me of the fim “Prometheus”. It`s almost impossible to judge it in our times. It needs a sequel (which sucks in the case os “Prometheus) or different times.

    • Ariel Adams

      Seeing Prometheus a second time (I believe it was the extended cut) after reading some “explanations” online really upgraded the viewing (and comprehension) experience for me.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        But you agree, Prometheus is incomplete without Alien Covenant altough it`s disapointing.

  • Phil leavell
    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      ?.

      • Phil leavell

        The watches just scary & shit

  • Moonraker

    Damnit, I just bought a house that actually exists so I guess I can’t buy this completely hypothetical watch. F#ck if that wasn’t bad timing!

  • Mikita

    I googled “Demence” and the first suggestion was “LA DEMENCE – The Gay Party in Brussels”

  • Ulysses31

    It’s very cool and must be fiendishly complicated, but the (non-functional) jewels ruin it for me. They just scream “tack” wherever I see them.

    • Bladeknight

      Agreed! I do hope this watch has a very amazing back, tradition or may be an art design. But that unnecessary function is… tangled and makes the watch thicker, looks like a brick.

      But overall, I really like this square shape, sapphire crystal box and specially, it has the centre second hand.

  • Yojimbo
  • A diamondless version is hopefully coming. Not because I would buy one but because is the right (not to mention sane (pun intended)) thing to do. Call it… The Cure. It would be more expensive because of the legal costs involved in using that particular name.

  • Gokart Mozart

    I really like this except for all the diamonds, maybe blued steel dots, would be better. Granted the case design is more functional than stylish, but that is one seriously clever double sided watch.

    Is this is the first double sided digital and analogue watch? Definitely the first with a tourbillon I am sure.

    Not a watch the world needed but I think I is really clever and love it.

    Price is not too bad to be honest, especially considering the number of diamonds. Don’t forget all the black ones as well.

    He should have done 2 renders oc the watch, this and a more serious watch collector version that would probably a good 30 to 50 k cheaper.

    Clever, and different, and 2 watches for the price of 1.

  • benjameshodges

    If MCT bought the mechanics it’d be great to see the vantablack material used to really contrast against the diamond for the digital display.

    There’s a lot of room for creative flair here as this is a definitely a bare bones concept.

    • Travis Cannata

      MCT was the first brand I thought about when I saw this watch.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Cool. This watch has more merit and originality than all of the RM collection put together, at a fraction of the price for some of the “limited editions”.