January 11, 2016
by Rob Nudds
It’s probably quite a good sign when a watch appears both familiar and radical in the same glance. The overall sense I get from the Harry Winston Avenue Dual Time Automatic watch is that it slots neatly into the category of Art Deco masterpiece, but under further scrutiny, each of the elements presents an off-kilter styling that seems completely modern. Deco-inspired pieces have always benefited from the cleanliness of their parent principle. Basically, Art Deco is never as overtly passé as many other epochal styles because it seems such bold, repeating patterns make sense to our brains.
There is quite a lot going on with the dial of the Harry Winston Avenue Dual Time Automatic watch, but before I delve into that, I want to spend a moment talking about the case material. This watch is made of zalium. Zalium is an alloy made of aluminium and zirconium. It’s lightweight, corrosion resistant, has no allergenic properties, and boasts an attractive gunmetal surface that can be finished and decorated like other more common case materials. The pin buckle on this watch is also hewn from zalium. I’m glad that Harry Winston chose to use the material all over the watch. Many times, I have seen a crazy new material employed for the case and stainless steel used for the buckle. Consistency is key, and in this case has resulted in a watch that has plenty of character.
The dial is very busy. On the left hand side, we can see a second time zone indicator. Three narrow windows are arranged in an optically tricky formation. Behind these windows, a red bar passes between the hours, which themselves are dotted around all over the place. I quite like the idea behind this arrangement, in that there is no real need for the hour markers to sit around the edge of the dial, but in execution, it could be a bit chaotic for some.
One arguable benefit for this obfuscating display is that the second time zone does not distract from the home time, which is displayed in the top right hand quadrant of the dial. The effort it takes me to read the second time zone is enough of a barrier for it to blend into the background when searching the dial for the home time. The hours and minutes are displayed against a partially skeletonised background. Behind the time, we can see about 30% of a date window as it makes its way to a traditional window at 6 o’clock. The hours and minutes, despite being off-centre, are very easy to decipher thanks to more standard hour markers that encircle the right-hand side of the dial, effectively splitting the display down the middle.
At the bottom of the dial, on the right-hand side around four and five o’clock, a cool, architectural grille can be seen. It looks a bit like an old-fashioned radiator to me, but I can’t deny it sort of fits with the general mien of this watch. And it does serve a function. The “radiator” allows the day/night indicator, positioned around the traditional location of three o’clock, to play peek-a-boo with the wearer.
The Harry Winston Avenue Dual Time Automatic watch measures a very wearable 35.80mm across and a forgivable 53.80mm from lug to lug. The alligator strap is attached via a standard 22mm spring bar. The automatic calibre is numbered HW3502, and features hours and minutes, day/night indicator, date window at six o’clock, and a retrograde second time zone indicator. The dial is decorated with a shot-peened style, providing a highly legible background.
However uncompromising the sharp-sided case may appear, it has allowed the presence of a straight-sided crown that protrudes at an angle from the four o’clock position. I find it’s location a tad jarring given the symmetry of the watch, but it does reduce the width on the wrist and enable a snugger fit of the watch. The crown is very nicely stamped with the “HW” logo and, in my opinion, succeeds in being a notable design feature in its own right. The price of the Harry Winston Avenue Dual Time Automatic watch is $22,200 for the zalium version. It is also available in rose gold for $38,300. harrywinston.com