September 26, 2015
by Ariel Adams
This is a timepiece for the serious collector, in my opinion, and the story behind the movement inside of the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm watch is, in many ways, just as interesting as the watch itself. To fully appreciate the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm watch that debuted this year in 2015, you also need to understand what companies are related to Cyrus, as well as the other watch that contained the same movement this year, and why that means the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm has to be a limited edition.
The people who own Cyrus also own Chronode – a company that designs watch movements, run by Jean-Francois Mojon. We’ve featured and often celebrated the work of Jean-Francois Mojon over the years, and in a sense, he is a part of Cyrus given how closely they work together from both a proximity and business standpoint. One of Chronode’s clients is Hublot, and in 2015, Hublot released the Big Bang Alarm Repeater watch collection that also contains this base movement.
Hublot allowed Cyrus to produce some movements for itself, and their agreement permits Cyrus to produce just 30 watches total with this movement. For that reason, the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm watch is limited to just 30 pieces. Such agreements are relatively common in the watch industry. The Swiss watchmaking region has always been relatively communal with companies working with and for each other all the time. It is often the case that larger watch companies work with others to supply not only parts but entire movement concepts that they together turn into interesting products. The result is a cooperative, yet still clearly brand-defined and separated industry.
So while Hublot has superior marketing power and brand awareness as compared with Cryus when it comes to anticipating the success of whose “minute repeater” alarm will sell better, it is, of course, interesting to note the reason for the Cyrus’ limited edition numbers, as well as that, compared to Hublot, the chiming alarm movement in the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm timepiece is a bit more “homegrown.”
On aBlogtoWatch, I recently published my hands-on review of the original Cyrus Klepcys watch. Even though the original Klepcys and the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm share the same name and style, the case has actually been reworked to be more comfortable and a better fit on the wrist. Cyrus felt that the Klepcys core design was a winner, but that the case was worth further refining and making a lot more comfortable. Thus, the formerly 48mm-wide case is slightly smaller, down to 46mm, and other elements of the case have been reworked. One notable example is the lack of screws on the bezel.
In addition to the case, Cyrus designed a new type of deployant clasp that, thankfully, isn’t as sharp as the original. Cyrus also claims it has been designed to make it easy to open the deployant and remove the watch using just two fingers. I didn’t get to play with the final deployant too much, but I appreciate greatly that Cyrus went to lengths to improve not only the Klepcys case but also the strap and deployant clasp.
The 46mm-wide “futuristic” cushion case for this watch is, happily, produced not using needlessly expensive precious metals. The case is produced from both polished steel as well as pieces of titanium such as the bezel and caseback which are also DLC-coated in black. The dual crowns are mostly in titanium as well. Especially because this is the only version of the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm that is being produced, I am happy to see that it isn’t in gold, and that Cyrus kept the focus on the movement.
Speaking of the movement, it is the Cyrus caliber CYR1280 produced in collaboration with Jean-Francois Mojon. The base gear train is modern, operating at 4Hz, while the movement has 72 hours of power reserve. The movement is manually wound, and unfortunately, there is no power reserve indicator. The principle complication is the chiming alarm system – and it is something that I’ve been wanting to see in this precise form for a while.
I’ve long since said, “we like the sound of a minute repeater, and we like the functionality of an alarm, so why not combine them?” Traditional mechanical alarm watches emit a sort of harsh buzzing noise. The best of them do, in fact, wake you up and get your attention, but nevertheless, don’t sound amazingly attractive. Given that most people who use mechanical alarm functions want them to be part of a larger more enjoyable experience, why not use the hammer and gong architecture from a minute repeater or sonnerie mechanism and combine it with an alarm complication?
I have a feeling something like this has been done before, but this is the first time I have seen it done in this very simple and satisfying mode. There is a secondary 24-hour dial on the face of the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm. It can be used to set up an alarm up to 24 hours in the future. The user must then toggle the alarm function between “on” and “off,” which when “on” means that the alarm will sound when the time reaches the matching time on the smaller 24-hour dial. Of course, the main time also has an AM/PM “day/night” indicator to make sure you set the alarm time correctly.
That small alarm setting dial has separations to help you see AM and PM times, and is set using small five-minute increments. That means you can’t set an alarm down to the exact minute, but at least you know exactly what time the alarm will go off. Again, mechanical watch makers understand that when people have a really important thing to remember, they will set an alarm on their phone or computer. Mechanical watches with alarm complications need to be fun, easy to use, and beautiful to listen to when they go off. This is a sort of humorous point because most of the time in life when we set an alarm, it is for something we don’t really want to be notified about – like having to wake up from sweet, sweet sleep.
The mechanical movement architecture is pleasant to look at, combining traditional lines with a modern twist. The gong and hammer system for the alarm is visible through the dial which is a useful detail. Note the shape of the gong which, rather than being thin and round, is a thicker and squared curved rod. This likely produces a richer, more deep sound that should carry a bit more.
What is really interesting is that both this Cyrus Klepcys Alarm and the Hublot Big Bang Alarm are high-end modern looking sport-style watches. No traditional-looking or dressy watches for this complication. The looks of the Cyrus Klepcys are, of course, modern and won’t be for everyone, but it is both distinctive and cool. Some people will no doubt also be put off by the fact that the entire dial for telling the time is slightly off-centered to the left.
Technically in the “Klepcys Réveil” model family, this watch is the Cyrus reference 539.502.SD.A and will be a limited edition of just 30 pieces in total. I think the story, design, and functionality of the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm illustrates what excites a lot of watch collectors, and why items such as this are so wonderful to talk about and enjoy as part of a larger watch appreciation lifestyle. Price for all three versions of the Cyrus Klepcys Alarm that include the references 539.502.SS.A, 539.502.SD.A, and 539.502.DD.A is $39,500 (making it a relative bargain as compared to the Hublot). cyrus-watches.ch