July 6, 2011
by Ariel Adams
You can’t buy it. Well technically you can, but you need to fly to Monaco in September and bid really high. This is Harry Winston’s entry into the Only Watch 2011 charity auction that I keep profiling when new entries are released. Harry Winston’s offering is this Midnight GMT Tourbillon (ref. 450/MATTZ45PL.A). The reason I am giving it extra attention is due to the way I feel it encapsulates much of what the modern Harry Winston watch brand is trying to be – and there will be just one piece.
The movement inside of the watch is not new. It comes from an existing GMT Tourbillon watch in the Ocean, not Midnight collection. It may have been used in other HW pieces before. Though I do like its execution on this watch better. The automatic movement has a large power reserve of 110 hours and features a dial exposed tourbillon, off-centered time display, and a word-time function. The second timezone is first selected with the reference city being show in a small window at about 11 o’clock, and the time itself displayed in another subsidiary dial in a 12 hour format. In addition, there is a day/night (AM/PM) indicator for the second time zone. It is all rather clear, and simple to use.
The Midnight case is not that much different than the Ocean case, but the overall watch feels quite different. This is in large part due to the dial design. Both cases are 45mm wide, and this particular piece unique is done in platinum. The dial is where all the fun comes. Harry Winston’s designers play with circles and textures comes together here in a rather refined way that feels particularly well-suited to the personality the brand is going for. Gone is blue lume and sword hands. What we have is a more classic look that combined elegance and avant garde aesthetic in a manner that you want to see from Harry Winston.
On the dial you’ll find ruthenium concentric circles and a sunray finish for the dials themselves. As the Only Watch auction takes place in Monaco, you’ll find Monaco as one of the reference cities for the world-time function. I am not sure if Monaco is on standard world-time reference city discs… Maybe it is. I don’t think I have ever had to check what time it is in Monaco – at least not yet. The watch is attached to a black alligator strap. The attractive multi-level dial and interesting movement make this one of the nicer Harry Winston watches to date. Too bad there will only be one piece!