As a company, Byrne has only been around for a couple of years, although the Swiss brand has quickly forged a distinct identity for itself by creating mechanical watches that are able to change the appearance of their hour markers. After launching its inaugural timepiece in 2022 and creating several different iterations that were based upon the same core platform, Byrne has taken its signature concept and used it as the foundation for an entirely new model. Just like its inaugural timepiece, the new Byrne Gyro Dial MECA still offers the novel functionality of being able to change its hour markers, although the brand’s latest creation for 2024 features a new manually wound movement, along with an updated case design that is both smaller and thinner than any of its predecessors.

Crafted from grade 5 titanium, the case of the Byrne Gyro Dial MECA features the same fundamental design language as its siblings with retro-futuristic styling and a rounded tonneau-shaped profile. Additionally, just like other Byrne watches, the case finishing is entirely carried out by hand, and it features primarly high-polished surfaces that are contrasted by small sandblasted accents. With that in mind, the case of the Gyro Dial MECA is noticeably smaller than its siblings, and when measured with digital calipers, the dimensions of the watch come in at 39.5mm in diameter by 46mm lug-to-lug. Once you factor in the display-style caseback and the domed sapphire crystal that sits above the dial, the total height of the watch measures at 14mm, and similar to many of its larger counterparts, the case of the Gyro Dial MECA features large sandblasted grooves running down either side with a thin sandblasted bezel adding contrast to its otherwise mirror-polished titanium surfaces.

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Since it is both smaller in size and powered by a manual-wind movement, the new Byrne Gyro Dial MECA is also lighter than its siblings, with a total weight of approximately 75 grams, including its strap. That said, Byrne’s latest timepiece isn’t just a smaller version of the brand’s previous models, and rather than having a screw-down winding crown located at the usual 3 o’clock position, the new Gyro Dial MECA has a push/pull-style crown that has been relocated to the 12 o’clock side of the case as a nod to founder John Byrne’s early days working on the service side of the industry and his love of repairing pocket watches. Despite not offering a threaded crown like its larger siblings, the Gyro Dial MECA still offers the same 50 meters of water resistance to protect against daily contact, and just like the rest of Byrne’s models, the crown is engraved with the number “1” as a reference to the brand’s competitive spirit and its desire to create industry firsts.

Set inside a notch within the strap on the 12 o’clock side of the case, the sandblasted titanium winding crown on the Byrne Gyro Dial MECA is thoroughly protected from accidental impacts, although due to its placement, operating the crown can sometimes be slightly difficult. When the crown is pulled out to set the time, there is enough space to easily rotate it to adjust the hands; however, when the crown is flush against the case in the winding position, those with larger fingers may find it a bit hard to properly grasp. Given that the Gyro Dial MECA is a manually wound watch, operating the crown in this position will be a frequent occurrence, although the 12 o’clock crown helps to minimize the on-wrist profile of the watch, while simultaneously giving it a distinct aesthetic identity that separates it from its larger siblings.

While some of Byrne’s watches are fitted with traditional dials, the new Gyro Dial MECA follows in the footsteps of the brand’s Gyro Dial Zero model, which foregoes a dial entirely to expose the inner-workings of its signature changing indexes mechanism. Sitting in the center of the display are a pair of pencil-shaped hands that track the hours and minutes, while the four changing indexes reside at the cardinal points. However, rather than having a regular dial occupy the space under the hands, the mainplate of the movement sits fully visible through the front side of the watch, and it has been given a deep “Meteorized Blue” color that is achieved with a special rhodium-plating process. Similar to other Byrne models, the brand’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on the face of the watch, although the words “Gyro Dial” are engraved directly onto the blue-finished mainplate to denote the model’s party-piece mechanism.

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Sitting at the four cardinal points are Byrne’s signature changing hour markers, which appear as four-sided metal blocks, with each side featuring a different style of index. The markers change autonomously once per day at midnight (or noon, if the owner desires), although they can also be manually changed by advancing the hands around the dial. In the most simple of terms, each changing hour marker works similar to a date display, and every second time that the hands advance past the 12 o’clock position, all four indexes immediately snap over and change to create a new display. On the Byrne Gyro Dial MECA, the four styles of markers include Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, a “Ghost” style that features sandblasted surfaces with raised polished lines, and a new “Sport” index that has raised Arabic numerals surrounded by a dark blue finish to match the mainplate.

On the Byrne Gyro Dial MECA, the Roman and Arabic numerals located on the changing indexes are both luminous, while the Ghost and Sport styles are not. However, small dots of Super-LumiNova are applied to the mainplate around the periphery of the display, and they work together with the pair of lume-outlined hands to help offer access to the time in dark settings. Just like the rest of the watch, the type of Super-LumiNova that is used on the Gyro Dial MECA is also a bit different compared to what you typically encounter on most timepieces. While the lume appears a crisp white color in the daylight (similar to BGW9 or C1 Super-LumiNova), it emits a very pale blue (almost white) glow in the dark, and the hue of its emission is noticeably lighter than the familiar aqua blue-colored glow that is characteristic of BGW9 Super-LumiNova.

Powering the Byrne Gyro Dial MECA is the brand’s new Caliber 5557 manual-wind movement, which is manufactured in Fleurier, Switzerland. Running at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz), the Byrne Cal. 5557 is a time-only movement with the brand’s signature changing hour markers complication, and despite the rather heavy power draw of its four instantly-changing indexes, the movement inside the Gyro Dial MECA still offers a fairly solid power reserve of approximately 60 hours. The beveling and finishing on the movement is carried out by hand, and since the Byrne Cal. 5557 follows a manually wound design, it lacks an automatic assembly or rotor to obscure the view of its skeletonized bridges and rhodium-plated components that sit visible through the sapphire display window in its caseback.

Fitted to the lugs of the Byrne Gyro Dial MECA is a blue textured rubber strap that offers the appearance of woven fabric. The strap tapers from 22mm at the case down to 20mm on the bottom of the wrist, and while the standard closure system is a simple titanium tang-style buckle that is signed with Byrne’s logo, the brand also offers a deployant style clasp that can be requested by its customers. Although the 22mm lugs ultimately follow a fairly traditional style, the 12 o’clock placement of the winding crown (and the resulting split-springbar setup that is needed to accommodate it) means that standard third-party straps will not be compatible with the case. That said, I personally find the included rubber strap to be a more than satisfactory option, and the texture of the material combined with its padded structure and black lining give it the appearance of being made from something like waxed canvas or waterproof ballistic nylon.

Aside from features such as a chronograph or calendar display, the vast majority of mechanical watch complications are now primarily intended to create intrigue for their owners, although seldom do we see complications that are exclusively designed to provide horological amusement, and this is part of why I find Byrne to be such an interesting brand. A watch with changing hour markers offers no more practical functionality than a standard two-handed timepiece, although the same could be said about nearly any time-only wristwatch with a tourbillon, and I personally find Byrne’s truly novel complication to be the far more compelling option when it comes to geeking out on a horological level. That said, with an official retail price of $27,700 USD, the Byrne Gyro Dial MECA is hardly a budget-friendly acquisition, although it offers a level of mechanical intrigue and unique functionality that you won’t get from any other brand. For more information on the Byrne Gyro Dial MECA, please visit the brand’s website.

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