Once every few years, we see the gathering of watchmaking forces who come together. Like The Avengers, or Vin Diesel’s Fast “Family”, they assemble with the intention of changing the course of the world, in this case, the watchmaking world. We saw this in a big way in the 80s and 90s with the formation of the big luxury conglomerates, one of which most certainly saved the Swiss watch industry by providing much needed economies of scale and streamlining of operations. It was also the training ground for managers and watchmakers who would impact the way that watches are built and communicated on. We saw another brand pop up around the Global Financial Crisis of the late 2000’s, which assembled “Friends” that would help conceptualise the wildest timepieces known to the industry at the time. 2023 will mark the year that another group of quietly humble watchmaking greats making their public debut as a collective behind the brand Artime. Their team consists of 6 watchmaking superstars who have been quietly guiding the industry over the last few decades, and have unveiled their manifesto and purpose behind their brand – the ART01.
For the ART01, the team is led by Didier Bretin, a name that may or may not be familiar to followers of Greubel Forsey. The watchmaker-constructor of the Signature 1, his unique experience in engineering movements as well as incorporating the technical and visual codes of the brand into a watch gave him the right to lead the charge on Artime’s first watch that will set the tone of creations to come. He also comes with watchmaking experience from Philippe Dufour, and Audemars Piguet – brands renowned for their finishing and respect for traditional
The rest of the team comprises former high-ranking AP Renaud & Papi watchmaking alumni, Stephane Maturel and Manuel Thomas, as well as Audemars Piguet alumni Claude Emenegger and Fabrice Deschanel who have been Creative Director and a board member of the company respectively. Rounding out the team is Emmanuel Jutier who is their sales and marketing specialist, cutting his teeth at the Swatch Group, FP Journe and at Greubel Forsey.
The six members of Artime have been quietly working behind the scenes of watch brands, and with their powers combined, aim to bring a collegial nature to watchmaking, and to apply watchmaking art practically.
The Watch, and The Manifesto – ART01
The goal of the ART01 is to serve as the foundation of the Artime brand with the desires of freedom and inventiveness being the overall guiding principles behind every Artime watch. It seems that each Artime watch will be unique in its design and expression.
The ART01 is a watch defined by skeletonisation and openworking, with a case that alternates between transparent sapphire crystal and a titanium case middle that incorporates the lugs. The movement is crafted out of white gold that has a one-minute tourbillon located at 6 o’clock, and its skeletonisation enables an educational view of the watch, and how the power from the mainspring flows to the regulator. The bridges are also ever-so-slightly arched, with bases cut like blocks to give the sense of a solid, interlocking structure, whilst maintaining the flowing curved lines.
From a technical perspective, the tourbillon is particularly of interest, with its double-balance spring arrangement. There are a number of theoretical advantages to a double-balance spring: improved moment of inertia, more regular concentric breathing of the balance spring and less stress on the pivots – all of which lead to better precision of the movement. The movement comprises 261 components, with a power reserve of 80 hours, and beating at a frequency of 3Hz. With a number of ex-APRP personnel, it would only make sense that their design sensibilities carried over – in particular, the movement mode selector housed within the crown, with its distinctive Wind (R), Neutral (N) or Time Setting (H) indicator located at 3 o’clock.
The ART01 is the harbinger of things to come out of this dynamic team – this group of people are individuals who have contributed to great watches behind the scenes, but with their talents now fully focused on their own creations and styles, we can truly see the creativity that they have to offer. With this team behind Artime, the brand seems poised to take on the independent watch world, to show what is possible with a strong team of creatives behind a driving force of pushing the boundaries of what is possible technically and aesthetically.
Tourbillon:Three-dimensional architecture developed in-house, pillarless, hand-chamfered and decorated (patent pending)
Function selector: Satellite-type, with column wheel and coaxial pinions
Settings: N = neutral; R = remontage (winding), H = heure (setting the time)
Barrel:Barrel with slip springs, hand-chamfered and decorated
Power reserve:80 hours
Balance:In-house design, variable inertia with regulating screws
Spring:Flat, opposite-facing double spring system by Precision Engineering AG
Frequency:21,600 vph (3Hz)
Escapement:Right-angle lever escapement, gold escapement wheel
Movement component decorations
A ballet of decorations: straight-grained inner and outer flanks, sandblasted inner and outer flanks, circular-grained or satin-brushed top and bottom faces, polished chamfers, polished countersinks, mirror polishes
Case:Titanium with integrated sapphire case middle
Proprietary 360° panoramic view system (patent pending)
Bezel:Stainless steel, polished bevel, hand-chamfered, satin-brushed top and bottom faces, sapphire crystal
Case back:Titanium with sapphire crystal
Crown:Titanium with pusher to select watch functions
Water resistance:3 ATM (30 meters, 100 feet)
Hands:Hand-decorated with luminescent Hyceram® ceramic (white by day/blue by night)
Hour track: Luminescent Hyceram® ceramic minute track inlaid in the sapphire crystal
Strap:Black grained calfskin, saddle stitching
Round black hour markers with luminescent Hyceram® ceramic centers
Clasp:Deployant clasp with secure comfort extension