May 21, 2010
by Ariel Adams
Even some of Maitres du Temps’ dream team of designers didn’t think this could be done. How do you take a watch like the Chapter One with its top and bottom mounted cylinders and make it round? The tonneau shaped version is large enough as it is. You might be able to make it square, but round? It just didn’t make sense. Still… they did it. Make the watch dial and central part of the case round, and extend the lug segments. Voila! Aside from the shape and style, the Chapter One Round watch has the same movement and functions as the standard Chapter One watch, which I wrote about initially here (more technical), and shared after a hands-on treatment here. Though the Chapter One Round is part of a more limited, limited edition of just 11 pieces, and more expensive than the standard Chapter One. It also retains my favorite part of the Chapter One watch, which are the cool security pushers with the ‘slide-then push in’ action.
Simply calling the watch a round version of the Chapter One doesn’t really tell the full story. It dramatically changes the character of the Chapter One as well. I previously suggested that the Maitres du Temps Chapter One, in its highly ornate formal attire, looked as though it was destined to be in a museum where future generations could admire it. The Chapter One Round is more sporty, easier to read, and less aristocratic in poise. It is the athletic brother of the Chapter One. Maybe even a brute of brother. Like the Chapter One, the Chapter One Round is a big ol’ watch. Try 59mm wide by 62mm tall on your wrist. It is 22mm thick at that. All that gold and other metal on your wrist and you’ll get an arm bulky with muscle as well if you wear it around enough. That isn’t to say the watch is unwearable, but if you are the type of person that whines about watches being too big or too heavy, I think a small vintage Cartier would be a better choice for you. I just had a vision of putting a small vintage Cartier next to the Chapter One Round and comparing the size and weight. Literally a shrew next to a bear. That would be amusing.
The watch dial on the Chapter One Round has most literally been ’rounded out.’ It has a more mainstream look to it now, that comes with being easier to read. Lume on the hands make them contrast with the dial better, and the match with the hour markers. These replace Roman numeral hour markers on the original. While not as grand looking, the Chapter One Round’s dial is easier to read. Which includes the time as well as the other functions, such as the date, GMT hand, and the mono-pusher chronograph. Don’t forget the exposed tourbillon on the dial either. If the dial feels a tad lacking in emotion, the watch case certainly does not. You see designers Christophe Claret and Peter Speake-Marin really shine here. To me, the design looks like a real melding of both of their personalities. I think the aluminum cylinder rollers for the moon phase and day of the week were integrated very nicely. Exaggerated angles and robust looking features all over the case give it a proud look. It is also curved to fit over your wrist.
Turn the watch over and you see a vision that reminds you of the Chapter One again. The hexagonal sapphire caseback window displays a familiar, and highly decorated manually wound Caliber SHC-02 mechanical movement (made by Christophe Claret). Given the greater diversity of angles, I think that the caseback as a whole on the Chapter One Round is more attractive than on the Chapter One. Chapter One Round case is in 18k rose gold, uses 96 parts (just in the case), and is hand finished. These extremely expensive to make watches are hard to make in quantities – which begins to explain the number of pieces in the limited edition. While the Chapter One was closer to $400,000 in price, the Chapter One Round goes for $495,000, and you better put your order in now if you want one.