What happens when you put together an expert in astronomical clocks, a skillfull master-watchmaker, a talended industrial designer and a visionary salesman? Something like the MIH watch.
|Trained in History of Art, Philosophy, History, Greek and Latin, Doctor Ludwig Oechslin also studied watchmaking while completing his qualification in Archeology of Industrial Technology. Dr. Oechslin has worked on restoration of astronomical clocks and he was the brain behind Ulysse Nardin‘s famous Trilogy collection from the 1990’s.|
|Paul Gerber is a reputable master-watchmaker known for building the World’s most complicated watch. He was the first to use retrograde seconds hands in post-quartz crisis horology, and has been comissioned by many of the most prestigous brands. Amongst his many feats is the alarm module designed for the Valjoux 7750 upon request from Fortis.
|Christian Gafner successfully runs his own design studio in Switzerland.|
|Beat Weinmann, from the Embassy Luzern stores, is a strong supporter of independent watchmakers and the quatuor’s conductor. Read an interview of Beat Weinmann for Ornatus-Mundi.ch.|
The quatuor came together to build the Musée International d‘Horlogerie watch, a fundraising timepiece remarkable both by its simplicity and complexity. Launched in September 2005, the MIH watch profits have been going towards restoration of the museum directed by Dr. Oechslin in World Heritage city La Chaux-de-Fonds. Read more about the MIH watch 2005 official release here.
Dr. Oechslin likes simple and efficient solutions. For the semi-perpetual module of this watch, he decided to design a mechanical program with the least amount of parts, thus making it easy to maintain and repair. The only drawback is that the calendar disks are slowly rotating and not jumping like normal calendar disks found in most watches. Anyways, from March 1st to February 28th of any given years, the mechanism will automatically show the right day, date and month and will only require to manually skip February 29th every 3 year out of 4. The next bissextile year is 2012, and we’re not talking sexual orientation here.
Gerber took care of manufacturing the modules and modifying the Valjoux 7750 movements to mount them.
Gafner was brought in precisely because he had no prior experience designing for the watchmaking industry. As a consequence he could tackle the challenge with a fresh mind and came up with a minimalist look.
Orchestrated by Beat Weinmann, the MIH watch project met with great success. To this day you can still purchase one of these timepieces at the price of CHF 5,000*, which makes it one of the best entries into the fascinating world of independent watch makers and horological complications.