A watch which commands the attention of the eye from first glance, the ADN Spirit Steel Blue by Manufacture Royale is unconventional and dramatic in its construction and appearance, and from one of independent watchmaking’s more eclectic brands, and without question its oldest name, a piece of superb workmanship throughout.

Established by the celebrated free thinking French philosopher Voltaire in 1770, his Manufacture Royale name had been dormant for more than 200 years, until being revived in name and spirit in 2010, and the ADN, which is the French for DNA, is a design which is eccentric and elaborate, although still very cool and contemporary.

With its distinctive structural case construction in polished stainless steel, the ADN Spirit is impressive and captivating in its aesthetics. Its round bezel and case is cradled by tubular limbs with jointed pivots which allow the lugs to adapt to any wrist size, so guaranteeing superb wrist-hugging comfort, and at 46mm across it has an imposing presence on the wrist.

Beneath the sapphire crystal, the dial is almost completely open, with only a pair of small blue sapphire glass panels at the 12 and the 6 adorned with numerals, and offset small seconds at the 9, so the display instead showcases the spectacular architecture of the bespoke movement in a contemporary interpretation on the principles of traditional haute horlogerie.

Coated with a semi transparent blue chemical vapour deposit, the angular bridges are stripped back, allowing for an uninhibited three dimensional view of the barrel and gear train, and the constantly oscillating balance which is suspended in the lower portion of the dial.

Underneath, a sapphire caseback reveals the skeletonised single plate which houses the movement’s components. Here the barrel and exquisite winding mechanism which is operated by the crown are exposed. The detailing throughout is meticulously executed, and every surface has been finished with either grained, sunray guilloché or highly polished hand decoration.

As with every other part of the watch, the hand winding MR010 movement has been produced using traditional artisanal techniques and finished by hand. Beating at 28’800vph it boasts a power reserve of at least 48 hours when fully wound.

Presented on a durable, weatherproof blue fabric strap with robust pin buckle, the Manufacture Royale ADN Spirit Steel Blue is an exceptional watch of daring modern design and superb technical finesse.


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