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Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On

Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

Back in 2015, I was pleased to debut the Complication One watch by the talented Mr. Emmanuel Bouchet on aBlogtoWatch here. Over time, the Complication One concept and watch has grown on me quite a bit, but I have to admit I really wasn’t sure what to think of the watch when I first saw it. In the Complication One review (link above) I said much of the same – and I think it is because of just how novel not only the look of the Complication One was, but also how innovative the operation of the movement proved to be. For me, it is proof of what an uphill battle actual novelty in the mechanical watch industry is, and the effort it takes to appreciate something fresh – let alone something new and admittedly interesting.

Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

The somewhat obscure watchmaker Emmanuel Bouchet first became known to me when Harry Winston introduced him as the watchmaker responsible for the Opus 12 back in 2012. A sort of overriding goal of the Opus project (at least, historically) was to support interesting independent watchmakers and help promote them in a way a brand like Harry Winston could – and that they could not do themselves. A few years later, the Mr. Bouchet launched his eponymous brand, and it remains one of the few real high-end treats in the world of independent watchmaking. This is what a $100,000 watch should be like.

Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

The way the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One watch indicates the time and how the movement works is its own interesting story, but right now I want to focus on its aesthetic form as well as quality of construction. To make a great watch you need a few things working together harmoniously. First is the overall aesthetic design. Second is the physical execution of that design as a function of production techniques, materials, colors, and finishes. Last is a novel mechanical concept or ability to function as a tool which allows the user to connect to the device in a way that is impossible with mere decorative objects. I really think that the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One has all of that, and the efforts by people like Emmanuel Bouchet aren’t immediately appreciated by even the most seasoned of collectors.

Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

While the 44mm-wide and 11.2mm-thick case (offered in a range of metal from titanium to gold and platinum) is round on a superficial level, it has an architecture unlike what you’ll see in other watches. The design isn’t just graceful, but it doesn’t remind me of anything else out there. It is actually (surprisingly) an excellent example of what good modern minimalist design is. Not boring, but limited in details, the value of the design is expressed in just a few major lines versus a series of smaller details. It might not be a look for everyone, but in my opinion, it will be a celebrated design in the future in how it adds a surprisingly fresh appearance in a very crowded and familiar market.

Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

The case also serves to emphasize the fact that the wearer/viewer should be looking at the dial as well as the movement through the two sapphire crystals that sandwich the case. Allow me to once again remark on how brilliantly Emmanuel Bouchet conceived (or chose) the design for the domed sapphire crystal. It has just the right level of curve at the edges and mostly flat top surface to give the perception of depth while avoiding distracting glare. This not only makes the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One watch highly photogenic, but also eye-pleasing to glance at when it is on your wrist.

Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

Viewing the movement (refreshingly offered in different color finishes) from the rear of the watch is a distinct pleasure because the movement is so gosh darn good-looking. The curved angle of the frosted movement bridges appear to follow the contours of the rear sapphire crystal in a way that is aesthetically very pleasing. The “split” architecture of the movement is cool-looking, and one can appreciate the major parts of the movement such as the twin mainspring barrels and the escapement. Emmanuel Bouchet calls the movement his caliber EB-1963 and it is designed by him and produced entirely in Switzerland out of 283 parts (mostly all custom parts, at that).

In addition to being impeccably detailed, the EB-1963 movement has an interesting operation that requires some explanation. Emmanuel Bouchet didn’t just want to offer a novel design, but something actually technically novel. This is in fact quite hard to find, and what he managed to do is actually invent something in a space where most “new” things are merely novel assortments of existing ideas and concepts. The movement’s real trick is having two escapements, and how the second one operates.

Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

The first escapement in the manually wound movement is visible on the rear of the watch and operates at a frequency of 2.5Hz (18,000bph). The second is on the dial and features a unique construction as well as a single operation each 15 seconds. That’s right, the escapement on the dial of the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One does in slow motion what most other escapements do five times each second. In fact, the two mainspring barrels exist so that one powers the regulation system which powers the main running train of gears, while the second mainspring builds up power to move the regulation system on the dial each 15 seconds. You can see it operate with its special three-pointed star synthetic ruby gear and other components that help make the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One so very interesting.

In terms of functions, the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One watch merely indicates the time with a day/night indicator, although perhaps I said “merely” too quickly. The upper part of the dial has a bridge over the (typically) black or white onyx dial that holds a sapphire crystal dial. This larger upper dial has a day/night indicator disc as well as a running seconds hand. Things get a bit more interesting with the second set of dials below which are there to indicate the hours and minutes.

Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

One might not be out of line calling the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One dial a “regulator” because there are separate dials for the seconds, minutes, and hours. Hours are indicated traditionally via a hand over another sapphire crystal dial, but minutes are indicated using two hands. Why two hands? Essentially, one is for the first decimal and the second is for the other. Thus the shorter hand only ever points at 0-5 while the other hands moves all around the dial. This makes the operation of the movement deceptively complex and is where a lot of the novelty value is in the watch. Emmanuel Bouchet might have even made the system so cryptic-seeming that many people viewing the watch don’t even know what they are looking at.

Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One New Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

Aside from being a wonderful example of pure independent high-end mechanical watchmaking, the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One watch has grown on me as a stylish timepiece. Not all dial/case combinations are for me, but that is OK because they aren’t supposed to be. Emmanuel Bouchet offers the Complication One in various titanium finishes (natural, blued, ADLC-coated black), 18k yellow gold, 18k rose gold, 18k white gold, and platinum. For me, the rose gold with onyx black dial or the blued titanium is the sexiest look, but all are pretty interesting. For the thinking, feeling watch lover, there is the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One collection, and in my opinion, Emmanuel Bouchet should be very proud of that. Prices for the Emmanuel Bouchet Complication One are $105,000 in natural or DLC-coated black titanium, $115,000 for blued titanium, $115,000 for all types of gold, and $135,000 in platinum.

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  • ??????

    What we discuss here? Who cares for Emm.. Buchet when Blog’s Favorite Gorilla watches have started! “The Gorilla Fastback is designed to age as gracefully as a Mustang” LOL

    Sorry, just emotions 🙂 Emmanuel Bouchet watches are jaw-dropping, may compete with De Bethune in originality and epic craftsmanship.

    • I agree that DeBethune comes to mind as having the same sort of avant garde jaw dropping enviable watches. I’m not so sure about the blue case but otherwise what a gorgeous collection of cool watches. I love the giant escapement on the dial side. The 3 sided jewel (Reuleaux triangle) that operates the fork/lever reminds of the the rotors in Wankel engines (like in Mazda cars). This is the sort of thing one expects a $100K+ watch to be.

      • ??????

        I love these watches because they represent not only wonderful technical approaches, but concepts which are well put together and form a beatiful men’s watch which will look great on the wrist. Some manufactures miss that point making concept-for-the-sake-of-concept watches which are amazing but far from being just a beatiful watch. The giant escapement is an eye magnet, but 3 sided jewel! What a crazy cool idea indeed. Good comparison with Wankel engine, Mazda tried to popularize them but didn’t make much on it. Still, I like R7/R8 and the old Cosmo.

      • laup nomis

        The wankel comparison is great.
        They’ve managed to show the interesting moving bits without having to go over the top with a skeleton dial.

  • IanE

    Oh my (or, rather sadly, not my)! Ticks all my boxes (once every 15 seconds!) – except affordability. I’d have one of each type – and, unlike Mark, I particularly love the blued titanium.

    • I really love blued titanium (and steel) on DeBethune watches in person. More so than how the photograph. So perhaps in person, this watch is also compelling with the blue case.

      • IanE

        Yes, real-life would be the test : I wondered if you had seen it and knew what it was actually like. All versions shown here look great to my eyes – anyway different tastes help the world rotate!

        • Nope, have not seen it in person – but I really would like to!

  • laup nomis

    This is how bonkers movements should be presented. Magnificent. Like Mark I’m less keen on the blue one, but as always that’s a decision for seeing them in the metal.
    I shouldn’t imagine that you could glance at it and know the time. But that’s okay, wear a legible watch when you need to, and wear this for pleasure.

  • I enjoyed your article Ariel and I agree that this has a longer term growth potential on the collecting community.

    My take on the movement is that it is the opposite of an independent seconds complication. With independent seconds the main timekeeping function would be directly regulated by the escapement and would unlock the independent gear train of the seconds every…second!

    With this it’s the reverse; the seconds are governed by the escapement and the independent motion work is unlocked by the primary gear train.

    Bag loads of fun, uniquely presented. Even those bridges, as you pointed out are unique and likely to make a stamp over time. Bravo!

    • Yeah, the Gronefeld One Hertz does just that. I has a second escapement which advances the seconds hand every second and again, there is only a single time regulation.

  • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    Horological Jewelry.
    Quite fascinating in its execution and manufacture. A real gem.
    Nice explanation in the video. Definitely not something worn by the “average” watch guy/gal, but definitely, as mentioned, for a niche group of collectors. The dimensionality of this piece is amazing.


    the 1st picture in this article did it for me. the case the dial just all comes together (so does the price). very impressive to my technically unsavvy self

  • Omegaboy

    “Honey, we’re taking out a second mortgage on the house. I found a watch I want.”

  • SuperStrapper

    Well, I liked it when we first saw it, and now I love it. The blued Ti case with the subdials that look to be ‘brushing’ blue is very special, and super cool. Do want.

  • Jon Heinz

    Way out of my range, but that is a stunning piece. Truly unique without getting just plain weird. And the movement bridge looks like boobehz. Bonus!

  • ScottMcKittrick

    This is pretty cool. I hope they put out some more information about how that 15 second escapement works. I’d definitely wear it.

  • MarsBars

    Amazing! great original concept. This watch needs some time to grow on you. All good design suppose to create a certain emotion. And this one did. Nice.

  • Bill W

    I’m just not seeing the night/day clearly in any of the photos. But I love the way the minutes are displayed. Are they jumping? It would be cool to see that in a chrono.

    • Yes they jump each time the “escapement” unlocks three times. Check out the very last shot of this:

      • Bill W

        That video’s not coming up for me. So my question is do the minute hands jump four times between the indicators or do they jump once per minute?

        • You obviously have strong ‘watchporn’ filters on your computer.
          Even though the escapement unlocks three times a minute, the minute hand(s) only jump at the turn of the minute.

          • Bill W

            Great. Thanks.

      • Christopher Daaboul

        This video is incredible! Thanks Ryan!

  • Marius

    Personally, I don’t like this watch and this is why.

    I agree that the case-dial design is very organic-looking and fluid. However, I find it slightly to neutral and almost boring. Nothing really stands out and grabs my attention. To me, this watch looks like a toned-down version of an MB&F Legacy Machine.

    Furthermore, the movement suffers from the same problem. I have no doubt that this is a very well-finished caliber, but aesthetically, it looks rather boring. If I’m spending over $100,000 on a watch, I would like to see a stunning backside such as in the case of the MB&F LM movements decorated by K. Voutilainen. To be honest, the back of this E. Bouchet watch looks rather underwhelming.

    Lastly, the price is just ridiculous. In the current state of the watch industry, even established independents such as Urwerk, MB&F or Laurent Ferrier have to reduce prices. Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead spending $100,000 on this watch. Sure, if I had a huge collection of all the imaginable and unimaginable high-end watches, then I might consider E. Bouchet, but even then, I doubt that I would buy this watch.

    • Gokart Mozart

      I made my comment before I saw yours.

      I don’t think it is more toned down then the MB&F, I think it is more Avant Garde and in your face while the LM’s are more traditional and have got the finishing and and bridge shapes that are so eye catching and luxurious. The EB has a frosted finishing and gentle curves that could almost be machine finished, although obviously it is not.

      I think it is a hard decision between the two, and come down to whether you want to finishing and soul of the MB & F or the novel movement and unique time display of the EB.

      I have not decided yet, but I can’t afford any so it is irrelevant anyway.

    • Allan

      Agree with everything marius says. The movement presentation through the exhibition back is completely disappointing.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Love the design of the case, slightly retro looking case and glass but modern at the same time. Movement and dial are stunning. A watch that if you wore to the office would be a bad move as you would get no work done.

    It is quite de Bethune in style and concept, but I think also it’s natural competitor would also be the MB&F Legacy Machines, quite similar but with a more modern unique twist on the EB and more traditional finishing on the MB & F.

    I like this alot.

  • DanW94

    Those frosted bridges are tasty looking. I’m still trying to figure out the second escapement dial side. Is it kind of like a constant force mechanism for the jumping minute hands or is it just for visual appeal instead of actual function?

    • Not constant force. The triangular ruby cam at the centre of the dial turns at the same rate as the seconds hand and is powered from the same mainspring. As the cam rotates, three times a minute it causes the pallet lever to briefly unlock the lower portion of the dial, which has its own independent mainspring and gear train. They are calling this a second escapement, and it is an escapement, but it’s not a regulator (there are no oscillations/vibrations). This is because it is still regulated by the cam, which is regulated by the original escapement and balance wheel on the back. So the minutes and hours are powered by independent force, but the balance wheel is still subject to regular torque curve of the seconds gear train.

      • SuperStrapper

        I wonder the same, but the 2.5hz rate might crumple any gains made there (making it a wash?).

        • I have argued recently on another reputable watch blog that a well adjusted 2.5Hz escapement can be just as accurate as any other mechanical escapement, but you might be right that this particular movement might be creating more torque spikes than your average one, and a higher frequency might have helped; I bet EB has a suitable answer…

      • DanW94

        Ryan, thanks for the explanation.

  • HectorAsuipe

    Awesome. Want.

  • Timestandsstill

    I want one

  • speedy

    A very complicated complication that doesn’t actually add anything. Exactly the contrary of for instance Ochs&Jr. Everyone can choose their side, but -sorry Mr Bouchet- as an engineer, I’ve chosen mine.

    • Christopher Daaboul

      It actually is the world first jumping hour, jumping minute and retrograde jumping tens of minutes. It’s also a world first dial side transmission with inverted escapement wheels. It adds quite a lot…no?