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Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

The original Jean Dunand Shabaka from 2007 has long been among my favorite haute horlogerie timepieces, and so you can imagine how excited I was when, after a long and hectic week at Baselworld, we finally got to meet with the brand, and, at last, I had the chance to go hands-on with the Shabaka. However, to my surprise, I was not greeted by the one I had been expecting to see, but rather a new Jean Dunand Shabaka, one with a massive, perfectly round case.

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

The watch you see above certainly may not appeal to everyone but – on a personal note, if I may – it was among the very first of my favorite highly complicated watches, as I was beginning my slide down the slippery slope leading into the depths of horology. Its stunning minute repeater movement with the unique roller-system to indicate the day, date, and month of the perpetual calendar, plus its incredible, art-deco-inspired, tastefully angular and amply curved case, made complete with a unique dial and a few splashes of red here and there – this special mixture totally sold me on it, and I have not grown bored of it ever since.

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

For the new 2015 version, the incredibly complicated minute repeater movement, as well as the special perpetual calendar and its cylindrical indications remain, but the 44mm-wide angular case is gone and has been replaced by a 47-mm wide, round case, with long, arched lugs. The round design is logical in the sense that it allows for more creative dial materials – more on that shortly – plus the watch arguably looks that little bit more traditional and timeless, possibly allowing for better sales for those collectors who prefer their extraordinary examples of horology served in a more traditional manner.
Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

While it is impeccably made and bestrewn with stunning details, I presume you can tell by now that, for me, the new case just does not sing the way the original did. Nevertheless, there is so much astounding technicality to the Jean Dunand Shabaka, that it could never fail to impress, regardless of more subjective design elements. Most notable is, of course, the set of four cylinders, set into the upper half of the dial: made of lightweight aluminum, these rollers are used to indicate the day, date, and the month. They each are 7 millimeters in diameter, and so they are primarily responsible for the CLA88QPRM caliber’s 12.19 millimeter total thickness – again, that is just the movement itself, coming in at a thickness of an average modern timepiece. On the arch between 7 and 8 o’clock you will find the leap year indication – with the actual year being highlighted by a white piece that slides underneath – while between 4 and 5 o’clock is the phase of the moon indication, featuring black discs.

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

The perpetual calendar function of the Jean Dunand Shabaka is made all the more complicated – and impressive – by an instant-jump feature, which means that all cylinders are advanced at exactly midnight, as opposed to taking a several-hour-long crawl to their next position – as is the case with most other mechanical calendar complications. This is achieved by a spring mechanism, that, over the course of several hours, gathers and contains enough energy to move all rollers at the same time, at midnight. A proprietary flywheel mechanism has been added to minimize any shock from the jump action and to prevent premature wear and tear. As the brand proudly explains: “No lag, no moment of indecision. And no margin of error.”

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

You may have spotted the two pushers protruding from the right hand side of the case: while the way they flank the crown might imply the presence of a chronograph function, in reality, the pusher at 4 o’clock advances the date and day simultaneously, while that at 2 o’clock advances days only. A smaller push-piece set coaxially in the crown advances the months and years, while the moon is set by another pusher hidden in the side of the case at the 5 o’clock position. While a recessed pusher for the moon phase was necessary, the overall layout and relative ease of adjustability of the perpetual calendar’s indications is highly impressive.

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Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

In the left hand side of the case is your usual slider that activates the minute repeater, which, in this instance, is a two-hammer system. The hammers are, of course, striking the hours, quarters, and minutes by hitting the cathedral gongs – those metal spirals that you see framing the movement. The specialty of the cathedral gongs is that they are twice as long as normal, making for a fuller, healthier sound. Personally operating a mechanism like this is always a wonderful occasion.

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

Jean Dunand is a brand whose co-founder is none other than Christophe Claret – and since Mr. Claret is widely recognized as the 21st century master of chiming watches, it came as no surprise that the repeater functioned in a flawless, confidence-inspiring way. It has to be said that a mind-boggling variety of things happen inside the movement when that beautifully crafted slider on the side of the case is pulled. Snails and cams slide, a spring is wound up, components start their dance, spinning and sliding, as moved by a carefully calculated amount of energy, only to ultimately operate tiny hammers that strike even smaller spirals of metal. For something as delicate as this to be “confidence inspiring” is of course a stunning achievement.

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

The list of functions is made complete by a clever power reserve indication that is, in fact, the mainspring itself, installed in an open barrel, located underneath a smartly labelled and skeletonized bridge that gives an approximate readout of the power reserve of the watch against a scale. Despite the highly modern size and overall design, the layout of bridges and cocks in the movement, as well as their exceptionally executed decorations – from polished countersinks, through black mirror finishing, to hand-beveled and polished edges – the movement looks as though a CAD-CAM design came into life, though, naturally, it was finished and assembled not by machines but by master craftsmen.

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

The dial on each and every Jean Dunand Shabaka will be unique and made-to-order, based on what the buyer wishes. The brand has not specified the options much further, but the only thing that may mean at this level of luxury is that nearly anything is possible – I am sure dials made of exotic woods or stones are just as available as are more traditional ones. I, for one, would genuinely love to see the Jean Dunand Shabaka with an intelligently selected and beautifully engraved guilloché pattern, just to bring this new, more traditional aesthetic approach to its limits.

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

Now that we have seen and discussed most all details of the Jean Dunand Shabaka, what is left to be said and emphasized once again is the absolutely remarkable quality of execution. Even among other, similarly priced timepieces manufactured by comparably renowned manufactures, the sheer quality of all dial elements, the case, the movement parts – and any other component you can possibly think of – is outstanding.

Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On Jean Dunand Shabaka Watch For 2015 Hands-On Hands-On

The Jean Dunand Shabaka is back and is as complicated, breathtaking and, well, as round, as it can possibly be. With every piece being completely unique, prices will of course deviate; but base price is around 460,000 Swiss Francs or about $495,000, and prices go from there. jeandunand.com

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Comments

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  • I love it. Quirky but so cool. I prefer the new case and wooden dial over the original where I found the angular dial and case to be a bit distracting.

  • Ulysses31

    I find the new one to be quite ugly.  That wood looks like an oil slick.  The modern, futuristic look of the original is cleaner and more fitting with the radical design of the movement, and those red cylinders really pop – I want it.

  • Ulysses31 I agree that a nicer piece of wood would have helped (without the surface pores).

  • Jef_in

    The cut out in the hands does not provide a good indication as shown in the pictures.  If this is what the real one would look like when wearing it,  it distracts on the beauty.  Better to have the hour hands full and with LUME than a cutout that distracts.

  • TourbyOn

    Love it. Sucker for anything with rollers, orbs, etc. Love DeBethune, Claret, & Cyrus too. Somewhat disagree on the  opinion that it looked CAD sharp. I see enough human element in the fabrication of this particular piece to let me know hands worked on it. Still lovely/amazing.

  • posaune76

    Apart from the selected dial material and the too-large openings in the hands, it’s a beautiful watch.

    BUT: The phases of the moon are not determined by the shadow of Earth passing across the face of the moon. That’s a lunar eclipse. Moon phases are caused by different portions of the moon facing the sun during its orbit. The moon’s orbit is angled relative to Earth’s orbital plane, so Earth rarely casts a shadow on the moon.

    See Moon Phases: Crash Course Astronomy #4: https://youtu.be/AQ5vty8f9Xc . The whole series is great, by the way.

    I’m not just being pedantic here. If you (the writers on this site, not just Mr. Bredan) are going to write with all the flowery language you can summon about timepieces whose creators have paid the utmost attention to detail, the least you can do is pay the same attention to the details of the descriptions you use.

    An eclipse complication (either lunar or solar), by the way, would be an incredible thing.

  • MattHedges

    Jef_in I disagree, when the hands move over the barrels you would want to see the contents underneath? A little lume may go a long way, but in my opinion the skeleton hands are a considered design.

  • MattHedges Jef_in I see your point, but the hour hand only reveals the brand name. Still they are a stylistic match more or less.

  • angmojan

    That’s one foul looking watch, period. I don’t care if it could fly me to the moon and back.

  • MattHedges

    MarkCarson MattHedges Jef_in Although why I have design ideas over a product I will never own I don’t know!

    I dont think I am their target market at $495,000

  • posaune76 De Bethune (among a select list) offers a globe for the moon which can shows the correct shape of the moon phase. It depends on your viewing angle of course. Without a globe, Ochs Und Junior uses a crescent opening with is about the best approximation you can get with a disk based moon phase display.

  • MattHedges MarkCarson Jef_in Few of us are (their target market). But at that price maybe they only have to sell one or two. Cheers.

  • notech47

    It’s quite a fascinating watch that proves ingenuity has no limits in the horological world.

  • posaune76

    @MarkCarson Ok. It’s cool to learn about different ways of showing the phases.
    Regardless of how they’re depicted, moon phases aren’t caused by the shadow of Earth, as it was described in the post: “the phase of the moon indication, featuring black discs that are skimming over the surface of the moon to mimic how the Earth casts a shadow on it.”
    Given that observing the phases of the moon was a method of measuring the passage of time long before the invention of mechanical timepieces, and given that readers and writers of posts on this blog are interested in the mechanics and history of telling time, providing accurate information about the mechanics of something as fundamental and historically significant as the moon’s phases seems important. That was my point.
    The idea of an indication of phase whose appearance depends on the viewing angle seems appropriate. 🙂

  • Russ Schwenkler

    Maybe if the wood didn’t read visually as meat.  A fascinating piece, but it has some seriously gorgeous competition at that price level.

  • DanW94

    Has a bit of a steampunk element to it. The look doesn’t appeal to me, although I really like seeing this movement through the clear caseback.

  • Very nice. I prefer this design to the original, as I thought the angular case was poorly mismatched to the strap: either the case made the strap look wimpy, or the strap made the case look bulky and clunky. The new design is not without its oddities though: the massive lugs on this version are a really awful contrast to the thickness of the strap. Something very thick at the lugs should have been crafted and then thinned out toward the ends. I get the feeling that a 47mm solid gold case with a movement that complex will carry notable weight, and a good solid strap design is needed for watches like that so they feel confident and sturdy on your wrist.
    The wood dial here seems to be lost on many, but I think it’s great, and adds lovely texture, depth, and uniqueness. Trade the rose gold for white, and stain the wood more of a gunstock shade, and it win all of you over, with certainty.

  • Tomasina Covell

    Really bad.

  • Shawnnny

    Umm, moon phases are caused by the earths shadow? David, what world are you living on?

  • DeltronZero

    I didn’t like it at first but then I realized that the photos aren’t doing this watch any favors. I’m sure it’s a struggle to capture the details of metal and intricacies of the wood at the same time so I’m not trying to knock the photographer.  I bet in person under natural lighting it comes together well and looks handsome. I much prefer this to the original design.

  • David Bredan

    Shawnnny  posaune76 I would like to think this was my first really, genuinely stupid mistake in one of these articles. I’m totally embarrassed, but I am of course grateful that you pointed this out.

  • notech47

    It’s impossible to rationally purchase any new timepiece for 500k. It’s totally emotional with no real justification.

  • Shawnnny

    If I gave you a dollar for every stupid mistake I’ve made, you’d be buying lots of watches! Love your articles!

  • Jef_in

    MattHedges Jef_in True, the cutout does provide a look-see on the dial beneath,  though on the pictures posted – the cutout distracts,  maybe due to the contour of the dial and the creation of shadows.  Or maybe the dial does not provide a view to be scene through the cutout.  Maybe a cat’s eye or carving/print design would be better,  and for FUN the cutout would have a magnifying glass.  But I digress.  🙂

  • egznyc

    In your defense You weren’t wrong. The crescent moon, for example, reflects the fact that the earth is blocking the sun’s light from reflecting off the surface of the moon. The inner arch of the crescent is caused by the earth’s shadow.

  • egznyc

    Then again, I haven’t been in school in a long long time. So I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.

  • egznyc

    Then again, I haven’t been in school in a long long time. So I am probably wrong.

  • egznyc

    Not good or bad but the dial design makes me think of a casino floor, for better or worse.

  • Ulysses31

    egznyc It’s just that the viewing angle changes.  That’s the only thing that causes the phases of the moon.  The Earth’s shadow has nothing to do with the moon except on a lunar eclipse, when the moon tends to become tinged with red.

  • egznyc

    Thanks; I appreciate the (re)education! Maybe I should bone up on my astronomy lessons.

  • niftywatch

    This one, well I just bought a lottery ticket.
    It really is a beautiful bit of engineering.