back to top

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d’Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds Watch Releases

As far as low-key branding goes, the newest watch from the Musée International d’Horlogerie (MIH) is about as hushed as it gets. But that’s because the Montre MIH Gaïa, unveiled today, is not an exercise in branding or brand-building at all. It is the highly considered second product release from a horological institution looking to produce watches of interest to raise funds for the continued running of the museum and the necessary upkeep of its many horological treasures.

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds Watch Releases

Montre MIH Gaïa follows the famous Oechslin/Paul Gerber annual calendar release of 2005. The follow-up to that minimalist masterpiece is just as aesthetically accessible, but much more affordable. That is assuming, however, this watch is put into full production at all: The Montre MIH Gaïa will only go be brought to life if there are enough interested subscribers between now and January 2020. Just think of it as a pre-Internet Kickstarter campaign (communicated via the Internet), and it all makes perfect sense.

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds Watch Releases

So, why should people subscribe to this project? Well, aside from the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get helping to maintain the Musée International d’Horlogerie, one of our industry’s shining resources, the watch is also a credible, attractive timepiece made entirely in La Chaux-de-Fonds. That kind of sourcing provenance is pretty rare. The result? A product of exceptional quality that exists for a good reason. Furthermore, the watch is literally inspired by the museum, so you’ll never forget your contribution to its operation. Early sketches of the case angles (especially those of the unusual, jutting lugs) show how architectural elements of the building itself were integrated into the design of the Montre MIH Gaïa.

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds Watch Releases

The announcement has been made today to tie-in the watch’s unveiling with the presentation of the Gaïa award, which is awarded annually to significant figures in the industry in recognition of their contributions to watchmaking culture. This is the 25th edition of these awards and the trophy’s spherical design inspired the domed dial and crystal of the eponymous watch.

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds Watch Releases

And it must be said that the rest of the design is rather elegant too. A 39mm stainless steel case, under 1cm thick (9.74mm), produced by local company Stila, will bear an original serial number engraved on the caseback, and MIH engraving on the crown. The MIH hasn’t revealed exactly how many pieces need to be reserved for this project to go ahead, but the total production, both during this subscription period and following it, will be capped at just 200 pieces (although it is worth noting that the MIH has officially named this piece the MIH Gaïa Series I, which suggests that should it meet with success, a near-identical follow-up could be on the cards). 

Advertisement

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds Watch Releases

The dial and central minute disc are colored by a PVD process handled by Jean Singer & Cie. The hour disc, visible through the 16-degree aperture is rhodium-plated, providing a clean contrast. Inside the watch, an automatic Sellita SW 400-1 beats away at 28,800vph, for a minimum of 38 hours on a full wind.

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds Watch Releases

The calf leather strap is produced by Brasport S.A. and fastened by an ardillon buckle by Cornu & Cie SA. The buckle features a tool-free removal system and, as with the previous model from 2005, is engraved with the MIH logo and museum coordinates (47°06’03” N / 06°49’48” E).

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds Watch Releases

During the subscription period (which runs until January 19th, 2020) a discount of CHF 500 off the retail price of CHF 2,900 will be applied. Upon ordering, subscribers will be charged CHF 1,000, with the balance due upon delivery during summer 2020. Should the Montre MIH Gaïa fail to achieve the necessary backing, all investments made by potential subscribers will be refunded.

Montre MIH Gaïa From Musée d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-De-Fonds Watch Releases

Many times, watches produced with a “charity” element can feel a little contrived, but I think the MIH Gaïa has a shot at being well-received because the kind of charity it is peddling is 100% relevant to the watch’s existence, and that of our industry’s history. As such, it does feel much more congruous as a pitch, and it’s a genuinely good cause that I am sure many collectors will get behind. Money raised from the sale of the Montre MIH Gaïa will mostly be used to restore the Grand Magicien, an historic automaton made by Jean-David Maillardet of Neuchâtel and his son Julien-Auguste in 1830, and The Tellurium by François Ducommun, which was produced in the early 19th century. You can register your interest by visiting montremih.ch.

Watch Brands

Explore

Comments

Disqus Debug thread_id: 7641166465

  • IanE

    Nice concept, but looks awfully done – ugh, those lugs!

    • Beefalope

      Yeah, they’re awful.

    • Ariel Adams

      I’m not so sure. I agree in the marketing images the lugs look awkward, but in person and on the wrist I have a feeling this will look better.

  • SuperStrapper

    I actually like this watch case, but think calling it elegant is more than a stretch. I’d have maybe tweaked it slightly for a wider strap, as the current dimensions make the strap too too slim.
    Rather than a large slowly moving aperture, a single window quick change jumping hour would have been much better received.
    As much as i appreciate how noble this project is, I’d soon just give the museum an appropriate donation than pay this much for the watch, which seems to be overpriced by double. The €500 discount helps but the sticker is still swollen.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Yup.
    Nice dial colour.
    Strap to thin.
    Terrible lungs
    It’s ruins the whole look of the “minimalist” look with a 3 day window when a one jumping circle would have been much better’
    A little small.
    ABTW ….That back to the top box follows me up and down the page covering the text. Wee bit annoying.

    • anonymous

      “Terrible lungs”

      This watch has lungs?? Well that changes everything. I like it now.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Thank you for taking some of your precious time to point out my typo.
        It has been corrected.
        I promise to try harder in future.

  • Jared

    don’t think this will get funded, just look at those lugs

  • Jared

    don’t think this will get funded, just look at those lugs

  • Raymond Wilkie
  • ray h.

    At first glance , I thought this place has hidden Rockets in the lower level and somewhere Blofield is stroking a white cat while strolling the conference room.

  • Tempvs Mortvvs

    Looks terribly tacky and poorly executed. Like a fashion watch.

  • Swiss_Cheese

    The watch that depression would wear…

  • Mikita

    The execution and whole concept are not worth $3,000.

  • Joe

    Ok lug finishing aside, am I the only person to like the design?

    I think it has potential to be extended too.
    I could imagine a sliding aperture (similar to the main one but smaller) that could be used for a world timer.

    It would have to tick quite a few more boxes but the basics are there for a nice watch, I think.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.