One hertz equals to 7,200 beats per hour. For reference, a 4 Hz movement operates at a frequency of 28,800 beats per an hour. Let me be clear that for the most part you want a faster frequency movement, as they tend to be more accurate over time. Antoine Martin has done everything in order to ensure that accuracy is as good as possible, given that one hertz framework. I think it is a marvelous piece of engineering that indeed shows a high level of creativity. Some might argue that it is the answer to a question no one asked, but isn’t that a lot of what high-end watches are all about?
The manually wound movement is called the caliber AM36.001 and it has a pretty long power reserve of 92 hours – which it should, as the oscillator more or less sips spring power compared to most other mechanical watches. It also features an attractive level of information displayed on the dial. This includes an off-centered dial for the time, large subsidiary seconds dial, date, as well as a handy power reserve indicator. In all, I think the included features are a representation that Martin Braun is a function-oriented designer.
The dial is interesting and I like the design for the most part. Having said that, I think that some improvements can be made. First of all, the hour and minute hands really don’t need to be skeletonized. That doesn’t help legibility or style, really. Also, even though there is some depth to the dial it could be a bit more three dimensional. Maybe it is because some of the design elements don’t meld together perfectly, or the colors seem strange on the gold and silver dial – I’m not sure. I feel as though the steel model with its all silvered dial looks better, though. Overall the dial design has a lot of potential, but I think a bit more refinement would take it to a different level and make it much more elegant.
The watch does however fit with Antoine Martin’s unique design aesthetic which I’ve always called neo-Roman futuristic. The Slow Runner case is 42mm wide and pretty comfortable on the wrist. I do like that the brand’s pieces are highly visually distinctive, but think that a bit is lost in terms of their desire to look so unique. That of course is one of the challenges of a small watch maker; to look original while also approachable.
You might call the Slow Runner the world’s most quirky daily wear, or an interesting mechanical experiment. The dial is surprisingly sober in its functionality while the movement is authentically exotic in its execution. While there are other dead-beat seconds watches out there, this is the only “real” one hertz movement that I know about. It succeeds in visual appeal, but the concept of collecting a slow beating mechanical watch is about as niche as it comes.
Antoine Martin is right now a very uncommon watch to find so it also has exclusivity on its side for sure. The Slow Runner case is available both in steel (ref. SR01.110.1) and in 18k red gold (ref. SR01.100.1 ). I love writing about timepieces like this because they get an A+ on story and interest even though they are decidedly narrow in their client targeting. Priced between 19,500 and 34,500 Swiss Francs. antoinemartin.ch