As we’ve written about here before, Zenith has released quite a watch-making marvel with their ACADEMY Christophe Colomb Hurricane models. Here is a new limited edition set in honor of iconic individuals responsible for government reform and independence in South America. So say “viva la revolucion” with your best Che impersonation and get ready for a very “non people’s budget friendly” collection of new stunning art pieces. With a fusee-chain transmission to apply constant force and, a gyroscopic gimbal setup to theoretically negate the effect of gravity on the movement, it’s literally an award-winning watch with a new Latin twist. Given the amount of effort involved in creating these pieces, it’s no surprise, then, that we’re treated to small-run limited editions in the lineup.
Their latest release heads down to Central and South America, with tribute being paid to Simón Bolívar (ref. 40.2213.8805/36.C714), Ernesto “Che” Guevara (ref. 18.2214.8805/36.C713) and Emiliano Zapata (ref. 34.2210.8805/36.C713)–and this is something I feel the need to comment on. Not in the sense of why these particular men were selected, as they’re indeed icons that contributed greatly to the countries they influenced. Rather, it’s the choice of enmeshing their likenesses into a luxury watch.
For me, when you present the idea of a revolutionary fighting to free their country, luxury anything seems to be at odds both with where the revolution comes from, as well as the philosophies guiding the process. Perhaps if you go the route of tying the complexities of the men and their ideas with the complexity of the watch, it works? But it still feels “off” to me. Then again, I’m not attuned to the precise histories of the men being honored, so perhaps the historians in the crowd can chime in and guide my lacking historical view.
Alright, soapbox mode is now disengaged. For these particular models, Zenith has gone with methods of decorating the back of the watch that mirror and complement the complexity of the movement housed within. Over the past year, some finer methods we’ve not seen in watchmaking have been making a comeback in the luxury realm, turning the watches (commonly the dial) into miniature paintings.
On these watches, the efforts are focused on the back. They start off with gold appliques applied directly to the movement. To these, then, paints are applied under the magnification of a microscope. which complement the hand-finished adornments that complete a full portrait of the leader, with iconography most associated with the man.
This is something that I cannot help but to be in awe of. The level of skill and effort involved in creating pieces like these, I can’t even begin to fathom. When you throw in the “miniaturization” involved in getting the work packaged in a wristwatch, you’ve just turned the dial all the way to 11.
Though there’s an incongruity of a limited-edition luxury watch and the revolutionaries encased therein, the ACADEMY Christophe Colomb Hurricane Revolución has paired an exceedingly complex and beautiful movement with some stunning artwork. For those looking to pick up one of the nine pieces (there are just three of each reference, assuming they’re still available), along with it’s presentation case that can be transformed into a 200-cigar humidor, be sure to have $419,000 (per watch) sitting in the bank account. That is $1,257,000 for the set of three Christophe Colomb Hurricane Revolución watches. zenith-watches.com