The debut watch from one of independent watchmaking’s rising stars, the ROOTS first edition by Philippe Narbel of Narbel & Co is a remarkable piece of minimalist elegance and intricate detail, which blends classic horologic architecture with contemporary styling, sharp angles with soft curves, and which features at its centre, a uniquely textured metallic fingerprint.

With its off-square, cushion style case framing a dark monochrome dial, which carries no form of branding, ROOTS has a distinctive and distinguished appearance, and is a strikingly handsome watch. At each end of the case where the strap attaches, a single lobe replaces conventional lugs, whilst a sculpted pull-out crown is deeply fluted and a beautiful detail.

Manufactured in stainless steel, with contrasting satin brushed and polished surfaces, the case measures 40mm x 40mm. A theme of pronounced inward and outer angles blending with subtle curvature pervade throughout the watch, and accentuate the old TV screen shape, which echoes from the outermost lines of the case, through the bezel and onto the dial.

Beneath the gently curved sapphire crystal, the dial baseplate is manufactured in German silver, which is sandblasted and coated with dark grey-black pvd to create a finely textured matte surface. The sandblasted black hour indices are unobtrusive and blend into the curved dish-like edge of the dial, while at the centre, the veined effect on a panel of 925 silver is unique to each individual watch. The gold plated hour and minute hands are skeletonised and taper to slender, delicate points.

On the underside of the watch, a sapphire exhibition caseback reveals a breathtaking vista of exquisite haute horlogerie finishing, which transforms beyond recognition the classic Peseux 7001 manual winding movement within, from what started life as a round calibre into a quite spectacular cushion shaped mechanism, tailor-made for the ROOTS case.

Stripped down to its components and rebuilt from scratch, many of the movements original parts have been replaced with the watchmaker’s own, which have been manufactured in German silver and rhodium plated. With intricately curved bridges, the architecture is classical, and the craftsmanship throughout exceptional. Immaculate anglage polishing defines the flowing edges, which sweep inwards and outwards, while a fine sandblasted texture on the upper surfaces, and on the personalisation plate which covers the crown and ratchet wheels, provides a striking contrast.

Beating at 21’600 vib/hr the fully wound barrel spring delivers a 42 hour power reserve. A stunning piece of contemporary watchmaking art, the ROOTS by Philippe Narbel is available on a choice of colours and types of leather, which are secured with a pin buckle.


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