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Haldimann H9 Reduction Watch

Haldimann H9 Reduction Watch Watch Releases

I thoroughly debated on whether or not I should even cover this “watch.” It is from a brand called Haldimann – eponymously named after the watch maker Beat Haldimann, and I think the man is playing a rather cruel joke on watch lovers. One press release I saw on the watch wasn’t a press release at all, but a rather diplomatic article written by a Swiss journalist based on his reaction to the watch. As a timepiece this item is utterly indefensible – but optimistically creative types will claim that it is some manner of art. This latter description is probably the kindest thing you can say about this horological insult. I wonder whether or not Beat will next release a pile of screws and gears and call it the “H10 Potential.”

Haldimann’s H9 watch is called the “Reduction,” but to me it is the Revulsion. The watch is “reduced” to a useless tragedy. I should have seen this coming, but perhaps never expected his audacity to go this far. And by audacity I mean it in the American sense… “boldly rude.” Please remember that my European friends as you plaster this term all over your speeches and releases. The Haldimann H8 Sculptura watch that preceded the H9 was a step in this direction. The piece (seen below), displayed a centrally mounted tourbillon without an indicator of time. While as a watch it was worthless, it did have some value as a fun thing to look at. I mean that is sort of the point of tourbillon complications – to just see them spinning around. There was a delicate elegance to the H8 that almost made you forgive its rather seditious incompatibility with what watches are all about.

Haldimann H9 Reduction Watch Watch Releases

The H9 on the other hand is something entirely futile. It is a luxury watch with a totally opaque sapphire crystal. Let me explain in case the idea isn’t clear. Haldimann offers the H9 in a 39mm or 42mm wide solid platinum case. The movement is a nicely made caliber H.Zen-1 manually wound movement with a triple-barrel flying tourbillon… and it is hand engraved. Unlike the H8 it does have and hour and minute hand. Beat’s credibility as a watch maker should be enough to ensure that the movement is nicely made. Looking back on earlier “H” collection watches you can see what he is capable of. So after all that he sticks a totally non-transparent black colored domed sapphire crystal over the dial – making it completely obstructed.

Just think about that for a minute. You know, in the luxury watch industry there is the concept of stealth wealth, as well as the concept of hidden luxury that is displayed only to the person wearing the watch. These are meant for connoisseurs who don’t wish to flaunt their wealth or items. This watch takes that concept further than it was ever meant to go. Beat will tell you “well you can hear the movement operating through the case.” OK, that is cool. So if you wanted to make an art watch that has an opaque crystal where you can only hear the watch working, then I suggest you throw in the most basic of mechanical movements rather than something you actually want to see. According to the brand, “time can thus be imagined, dreamed, or invented.” I just threw up in my mouth a little bit – this watch retails for over 150,000 Swiss Francs.

Haldimann H9 Reduction Watch Watch Releases

Any one who wears this watch has got to be like the title character in the Emperor’s New Clothes. Haldimann will have totally tricked them into thinking that this is some meaningful piece of art and a poetic testament to the ephemeral nature of time. Though everyone really feels like it is a vapid concept but is likely too afraid to say anything. The real tragedy is that under the black crystal is probably a pretty nice watch, but that hardly matters right? This watch makes a lot more sense as an April fool’s day joke. In fact I wish I would have thought of it myself. As a serious timepiece the H9 Reduction is simply confounding. It is OK, don’t be afraid to call it out for what you feel that it is.

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  • Eric S

    A: Excuse me, what time is it?

    B: Uh, I dunno.

    A: Isn’t that a watch on your wrist?

    B: Uh, yes and no.

    A: I don’t understand. B: Well it’s a watch, but I can’t see what time it is.

    A: Guess it was pretty cheap.

    B: Actually I could have put 5 orphans through school with what I paid for it.

    A: Jerk!

  • r_s_g

    I never saw the tourbillon-only watch. I have to admit, it’s kind of funny as it does poke some fun at the Swiss watch industry. But this is just dumb. Thanks for not pulling any punches in your review.

  • Greg S

    Years ago there was a British TV show called the Fall and rise of Reginald Perrin with a fantastic central character that opened a store called ‘Grot’ selling useless items that went on to earn him a fortune. This watch could be renamed ‘H9 Tribute to Leonard Rossiter’, total grot.

  • DG Cayse

    Items required:

    A black knit turtle neck

    A black beret

    A pair of very dark, very small sunglasses

    Gauloises cigarettes

    Haldimann’s H9 “Reduction” watch.

  • rsatobi

    I never saw the H8 in person but I saw a video of it which I could probably watch endlessy – it is really quite charming…the H9 is a bit much I have to admit

  • Ryan B

    I think Edgar Allen Poe would love this watch

  • shinytoys

    Next time Ariel, just say “NO”, Bro…

  • Kris C

    If the movement is so nice, why is it housed in an eBay case and crown? Solid platinum my ass – it’s base metal cheaply chromed, containing a Chinese quartz movement that powers something that sounds like the ticking of a mechanical movement.

    That they were able to get this posted to a site like this makes them trolls extraordinaire.

    YHBT, aBlogtoRead.

  • yavorzz

    It’s the “Merda d’Artista”. In reverse! (If you’ve never heard of it google it. It’s worth it)

  • Cruiser

    You’re missing the point. The man who wears this watch controls time, it does not control him. He can afford an expensive accurate watch. Time does exist, he is acknowledging that. But time has no control over him because he can block it out and does. You dummy can’t do that, because you need to know what time it is. Who is the slave who is the master? His watch tells you.

    • JoeWelke

      @Cruiser: That man obviously doesn’t have a wife, a girlfriend, or kids then. 😉

      Which raises this thought: this watch not only announces how you’ve mastered time, but also how alone you are.

    • M Ark

      Agreed. I love this concept and I love the watch. He has made a watch that keeps time, but time is not shown. Perhaps one way of looking at this watch is to deconstruct time, productivity and ownership of productivity. So much of time-keeping is spent on productivity and the restriction of free time before productivity begins.
      Time has become associated with work and labour. Now time does what it does: it passes without purpose.
      An expensive metaphor, but I would definitely wear it.

  • god i wish i had that..

  • wow i really wish i had that watch

  • brandonskinner

    Umm… April Fool’s?

  • gmatt

    Surely this is an “Emperor’s new clothes” affair? I mean, to the buyer there’s no actual evidence there’s even a movement inside there. Sounds like a very expensive bracelet to me…

    That said I do appreciate the “audacious” clarification Ariel 🙂

  • Ulysses31

    Apart from being useless it looks quite stylish, which is more than can be said for many Hublots, or those watches that clip off the indices of sub-dials for the sake of style while killing practicality. This watch would have been redeemed if, for example, the crystal had a thermally reactive layer that became clear with application of a little warmth from your hand, or if it had a “privacy” coating like on an ATM that was only transparent when viewed from directly ahead.

    • AtSeaWatch

      @Ulysses31 I think it’s redeemed without the thermally reactive crystal. It’s poking fun at an industry that takes itself way too seriously. You mentioned the chronos with subdials rendered useless by cutting them off (I’m looking at you, Zenith. What about tourbillon dive watches, high end watches with numerous complications that are nothing more than stacks of poorly integrated modules, in-house calibers that are just ETA clones, or worse yet, in-house junk that can barely function for 6 months without failing, pie plate-sized pilot watches with tiny automatic movements tucked into them? Has anyone ever bought a modern Panerai to tell the time?

      The emperor has no clothes; it’s true. He has been strutting around naked for quite a while. Haldeman’s right. The purpose of telling the time has been lost to jewelry, fashion, and bad taste. Do watches need to get bigger? No, it’s all about having a watch others can see. This watch tells you the time. It chimes out the late hour to an industry that has largely lost its way and can only grasp at the next trend. It’s not just the industry, but the collectors too. Critical thinking about watchmaking and design have gone away in many circles, lost to cheers of “Wear it in good health!”. How many collectors even know the difference between an ETA 2892 and a 2824?

      The industry in only flailing around in response to what is selling. Why else would we have seen the glut of tourbillons from about 2005 to 2009? People with big money were buying them as other collectors urged them on, rarely stopping to consider that it was the most delicate, overpriced, and genuinely useless complication ever added to a wristwatch.

      I put a lot of the blame at the feet of Patek Phillipe and it’s slobbering collectors. They started putting out a truly dung movement and when a few folks started questioning the quality, they were shouted down. Patek started gaming auction prices and collectors were more on-board than ever. Patek’s sales of new watches only went up. Hype won and the industry took notice. Panerai emerged as a major player around the same time and the hype machine switched into high gear. Now we have collectors bidding tens of thousands of dollars for Rolexes that look like they spent the 70s and 80s in a river bottom because they look like the spent the 70s and 80s in a river bottom because Steve McQueen dropped it there. Hublot can put out a watch with black dial, black hands, and black indices and the collectors lose their collective shit. Is that any different from a black crystal? Oh yes, because this one at least isn’t driven by a 7750.

      • You still wouldn’t pay over $100 for one.

      • Kris C

        @AtSeaWatch @Ulysses31 tl;dr – you love Panerai, Patek, and Hublot.

        • AtSeaWatch

          @Kris C @Ulysses31 Close, Kris. I love watches and have a love/hate relationship with the artisans, entrepreneurs, and asshats who make them. If the field was only populated by the sane, it would be dull.

  • joblow

    Why don’t you tell us how youreally feel?

    I like the watch.

    It’s for people who do not worry about time.

    • I respect people who don’t worry about time. I also trust that if they must wear a wrist item it not pretend to be a watch and be a bracelet. If you don’t worry about time at least be quasi-practical.

  • I agree that it is borderline stupid and silly and your write up is spot on. However, I really do not see much of a difference between this and some one-off $200K watch. It is being an ass for the sake of being an ass either way and taking a concept too far.

  • erikwesterdahl

    I love it. Looks really nice.

    In fact, at least in Sweden, if you ask people who wears watches what time it is, they always reach for there mobile phone anyway. Watches is more of a accessory today. And this is a good looking accessory.

    Also, I love the idea of just imagine time as it continues – a more philosophical touch.

  • stephen

    Awesome, can I get a chrono version?

    The H10 Potential – please Ariel, you’re just feeding him fuel…

    I’d agree with Ariel, this is pure vapourware, simple media attention grabbing stunt and I feel dirty and complicit just commenting – it did however produce one of the funniest HourTime podcasts ever…

    • See… something good came of it.

  • Truly timeless…

  • I’d promptly remove the dark saphire and install a cheap mineral crystal on it. You know, to make my interpretation of art just as unique…

  • Gokart Mozart

    It should have been a minute repeater

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