Independent brand Molnar Fabry is a small outfit that specializes in modifying and decorating existing movements and watches to create unique one-off pieces. Based in Slovakia and helmed by Michal Molnar and Igor Fabry, we had a chance to visit the Molnar Fabry workshop and see some of their projects here. Now, the brand proudly presents its first minute repeater watch called the Molnar Fabry Nightingale Minute Repeater.
Similar to the brand’s other pieces, the Molnar Fabry Nightingale Minute Repeater was commissioned by a client. In this instance, it contains a heavily modified and decorated vintage Paul H. Matthey pocket watch movement that is 128 years old. The modifications are quite extensive, and I’ll get to some of them later. But first, let’s talk about the case.
The case is 43.3mm wide and it is made out of 18k pink gold. And since Michal and Igor both got their start in the business as jewelers and goldsmiths, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the case is made entirely by hand. At 16mm, it is fairly thick, but this is necessary to accommodate the movement. The slider for activating the minute repeater is at 8 o’clock.
The dial is German silver and it is also made by hand, featuring skeletonized Roman numeral hour markers with hand-beveled edges. The skeletonized dial allows the owner to have a peek at the minute repeater mechanism when it is activated. At 6 o’clock, you have a subdial for the running seconds. The spear-shaped hour and minute hands, as well as the seconds hand, are made out of 18k pink gold. To enhance legibility, the entire dial is blue rhodium plated, which provides some contrast against the pink gold hands. To match the dial, the watch comes with a hand-stitched denim blue alligator strap made by ABP Paris.
As I mentioned, the movement comes from an 1890 pocket watch and it has been extensively modified and decorated. Because it was from a pocket watch, the movement was originally lever-set – a small lever under the bezel had to be pulled out to set the time. As a result, one of the things that Michal and Igor had to do was to convert it to a conventional stem-setting movement.
The movement is visible through a sapphire display caseback and it has a very classic architecture that you don’t see on many watches today. To accentuate it, the bridges are hand-engraved with a technique called banknote engraving. This technique originated from currency printing where every line and dot is painstakingly engraved with a burin. Apart from the engraving, the bridges are also beveled and rhodium-plated. Interestingly, the split bimetallic balance is original as is its blued hairspring. The movement is wound by hand and has a power reserve of 27 hours. It beats at a leisurely 2.5Hz.
It is said that personalization is the highest form of luxury, and I agree wholeheartedly. Anyone with enough money can walk into a shop and walk out with a Patek Philippe or a Rolex, but something like the Molnar Fabry Nightingale Minute Repeater cannot be easily replicated, which makes it special. The Molnar Fabry Nightingale Minute Repeater is a one-off piece unique and they are charging prices upwards of €120,000 if you want something similar. Learn more at molnarfabry.com.