An exceptional timepiece which combines traditional watchmaking techniques with distinctly modern styling, the 273° Saphir Fumé watch by Zeitwinkel demonstrates superb design and excellent attention to detail throughout. Revealing the intricacies of its dial side mechanics, including the company’s patented large date indication, through a stunning fumé sapphire dial, the model demonstrates the forward-thinking design and high quality craftsmanship which have earned this youthful independent watch company a cult following around the world.
Founded in 2006, Zeitwinkel have a sophisticated portfolio of timepieces, each characterised by clean styling, complex construction processes and an uncompromising approach to finishing standards. The company’s name translates from German to English as “time angle” and every Zeitwinkel watch is meticulously assembled, often by a single watchmaker, at their Saint-Imier manufactory. A refreshingly transparent independent watchmaking brand, Zeitwinkel continue to hold true to their autonomy, with creativity and authenticity deeply engrained into their DNA, so much so, that even the typeface used on their watches is an in-house creation. This Saphir Fumé piece is a superb addition to the company’s flagship 273° collection.
The watch is housed in a rounded stainless steel case sized at 42.5mm across and resting 13.8mm high on the wrist. With matte finishes on the recesses within its middle and lugs, and high polishing elsewhere, its profile is enhanced. Exhibiting purity of design, the casing is in fact a highly complex construction. A multi-step process of more than 80 stages is required before the 26 individual components which make up its design are assembled, primarily by hand. The crown is grooved for ease of use and it carries satisfying proportions. Finished with a matte and polished outer upon which the Zeitwinkel branding is represented in miniature, it serves as a reminder that no detail has been overlooked in the overall styling of this timepiece.
Named for its eye-pleasing sultry aesthetic, the dial of the 273° Saphir Fumé is crafted from transparent sapphire in a soft smoky grey tone. No less complex than the case, a 20 step manufacturing process is required for each dial. The result of this diligent craftsmanship is a remarkable surface which has an illusory character, depending on the viewing angle. With just a subtle movement of the wrist, it transforms from transparency to opacity and from dark to light, all the while revealing the mechanisms of the movement and the mesmerising perlage decoration upon its plates. In a perfectly balanced layout, the dial carries a large date aperture on the top left sector, a small seconds counter at the six o’clock and a power reserve arc at the 2 o’clock position. Paying particular attention to achieving excellence in all the minutiae, the hour and minutes hands have the duality of straight surfaces set at a perfect angle to one another, so at any given moment only one side will reflect the light, enabling maximum legibility for the wearer, and the indices and appliqués are achieved via a lithographic electroplating process.
The dial side view of the Zeitwinkel calibre ZW0103 movement is complemented by an equally impressive view through the sapphire crystal caseback. Allowing for stability and robustness it is constructed using the three-quarter plate discipline, and its plates and bridges are made from untreated German silver upon which immaculate chamfering and hand-decoration techniques have been applied, despite the added difficulty of achieving such finishes on this type of material when compared to brass. Beating at 28’800 vib/hr, the movement achieves a generous 72 hour reserve of power.
A beautiful and distinguished timepiece by one of independent watchmaking’s most expressive marques, the Zeitwinkel 273° Saphir Fumé comes presented on a hand-sewn calfskin leather strap, secured to the wrist with a stainless steel folding clasp.