I frequently get asked what watch I would purchase if money were no object, and I could have any timepiece my heart desired. While the simple answer is that I would own a laughable hoard of watches, the infinite wealth hypothetical is usually accompanied by the stipulation that I can only buy one new timepiece, and this is where things start to get difficult. Whatever I would purchase would need to be flat-out stunning with an equal emphasis on its materials and mechanics, and I also wouldn’t want my dream watch to be an obvious choice, which would immediately rule out the big-name manufacturers. While there are a number of watches that would be worthy of consideration, one of the top contenders would be the Artime ART01-5N, a highly skeletonized tourbillon crafted from solid gold and sapphire.

Artime is a Swiss brand that formally launched last year, and it could be described as a horological supergroup founded by six individuals with impressive resumes from various sides of the watch industry. The cumulative results of their efforts are nothing short of fantastic, and one of my hands-down favorite high-horology pieces from last year was the Artime ART01, the brand’s inaugural model (hands-on images in the gallery below). While last year’s watch featured a white gold movement suspended inside a case made from titanium and sapphire, the brand’s latest release for 2024 is arguably even more impressive, and it swaps out the white gold and titanium components of its predecessor for equivalents that are crafted from solid 5N red gold.

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Measuring 42mm in diameter by 11.4mm thick, the case of the Artime ART01-5N offers identical dimensions as its titanium predecessor, along with the same sandwich-style construction that features a clear sapphire middle section that forms the entire front side of the watch below the bezel. However, on the new Artime ART01-5N, the bezel, crown, and lower-case section that forms the integrated lugs are all crafted from 5N red gold and finished with contrasting brushed and polished surfaces. Just like the original titanium model, sapphire crystals are fitted to both the dial side of the watch and its screw-on display caseback, while water resistance comes in at the same 50 meters to protect against daily contact.

Rather than being a movement fitted inside a case, the Artime ART01-5N is designed as a fully integrated structure. In addition to serving as the foundation for its complex sapphire sandwich-style case, the lower rose gold section that forms the lugs also functions as the mainplate for the movement. Mounted to its interior are skeletonized V-shaped bridges crafted from red gold and NAC, a specially treated metallic alloy with a dark gray-colored appearance. Since the Artime ART01-5N doesn’t have a mainplate or dial, the bridges extend inward from the periphery of its case, and they almost appear to pass directly through both the red gold bezel and the transparent sapphire chapter ring that contains the minute track and luminous hour markers.

While the bridges of the manual-wind tourbillon movement are crafted from red gold and NAC, the wheels are manufactured from white gold, and the 25 jewels that appear at its various pivots are all set in gold chatons. Meanwhile, the escape wheel is made from yellow gold, and inside the variable-inertia balance wheel fitted with gold adjustment screws are two balance springs arranged concentrically and in phase opposition to promote increased inertia, perfect concentricity, and reduced pivot wear, while simultaneously providing the ART01-5N with improved accuracy. The dual balance spring system is set inside a proprietary tourbillon cage that omits the usual pillar-oriented design in favor of three flared branches, which is a design motif echoed throughout the watch, including on the structure of its gears and mainspring barrel visible at the 12 o’clock location.

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Just like the original titanium ART01 model that debuted last year, the red gold Artime ART01-5N runs at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 80 hours. It also features a function selector switch built into its winding crown, where users simply press a button on the tip to switch among winding, time-setting, and neutral modes, rather than pulling out the crown to various positions like on a traditional wristwatch. Mirroring the design of a chronograph, the function selector mechanism is operated by a dual-function column wheel with a vertical clutch, and the entirety of it is displayed on the 3 o’clock side of the watch, with a corresponding indicator that is marked “N” for neutral, “R” for remontage (winding), and “H” for heure (time-setting).

Fitted to the integrated lugs of the Artime ART01-5N is a textured rubber strap that mirrors the appearance of woven fabric. Buyers have the choice of getting their strap in either anthracite gray or chocolate brown (my personal choice is the gray version pictured here), and the straps fasten around the underside of the wrist with a Velcro closure that loops through a chunky signed keeper ring made from 5N red gold. Given its 42mm diameter, large winding crown, and angular tonneau-shaped profile, the Artime ART01-5N wears quite large compared to a traditional round watch with similar on-paper case measurements. However, its thin structure helps the ART01-5N sit incredibly flat against the top of the wrist, and its largely transparent appearance means that it occupies a minimal amount of visual real estate relative to the fairly sizable footprint of its case.

Just like the titanium version that debuted last year, the new red-gold Artime ART01-5N will be produced as a limited edition of 20 pieces, but due to its extensive use of gold throughout its case, it is priced slightly higher than its titanium sibling at 225,000 CHF (or approximately $247,000 USD, at the time of writing). While I don’t ever foresee actually purchasing a six-figure watch, it’s undeniable that these grail-level timepieces are some of my absolute favorites within the industry. As the saying goes, “If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t tell anybody, but there would certainly be signs” — and in the hypothetical scenario in which I have stumbled upon the cheat code to life that grants me infinite money, there’s a very good chance that you would see me rocking an Artime ART01-5N. For more information on the Artime ART01-5N, please visit the brand’s website.

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