YPCAI stands for You Probably Can’t Afford It. Each week we focus on a watch which would afford most people, if not a house, at least a luxury car.
If Homer Simpson socks from Tesco and Adidas aftershave from Cheap Smells have lost a little of their urban cool, why not put the Harry Winston Opus 8 digital mechanical watch on your Christmas wish list. It’s an ingenious and highly advanced mechanical novelty watch. The watch was made four years ago, so if you search on the internet you might find a playboy who has grown weary of its remarkable mechanical eccentricities and decided to sell at a reduced price. But by reduced, you understand we’re not talking bargain bin at Aldi. The asking price is $450,000.
The 45mm watch is inspired by early electronic LED watches of the 1980s with digital time displays, (like the first Hamilton Pulsar). Creator Frederic Garinaud (of Renaud & Papi) & CSH developed the Harry Winston Opus 8 with a new twist on mechanical-digital watches.
Time is shown by pulling the side-lever down which in turn activates tiny metallic mechanical pixels to rise up from the digitally segmented dial displaying the hour of the day, am/pm, and indication of minutes by rising five minute markers located in a vertical scale next to the primary display.
The calibre is a hand-wind movement with a frequency of 3hz and a power reserve of 48 hours. The watch is inspired by pin art games, which create 3D impressions of objects pressed against them, the numbers in the display will only appear upon request, activated by a bolt on the right hand side of the case. Nothing appears until the mechanism is wound. When it is wound, the pieces adjust to display the time.
A plate joins together small segments, both mobile and fixed. The slide on the right side of the case activates the display by segments on the front. The minutes are divided into 5 minutes segments. The watch is dedicated to those who have a real affinity with the flow of time. As the plate descends, the small segments remain visible, blocked by the crystal, allowing the hour to be read for just 5 seconds before the plate closes again. All functions are related, enabling everything to be displayed on demand. The time and the power reserve are also displayed on the back with a disk system.
Even the caseback is a work of art, revealing the complexities of the mechanism, while also presenting time information in an analogue format. The dial’s microbead blasted coating is similar to that of a calculator, while the segments are made of black anthracite with polished sides. The advances in mechanics are reflected in the advances in the use of materials for the watch.
The sides of the segments are crafted from amorphous carbon, a material more commonly known in Formula 1 racing cars. As a result, this material has an extremely low friction coefficient and highly resistant coating. Wear, blockages and material discharge are almost non-existent, so it is truly a novelty timepiece, which, unlike Homer Simpson socks, can be handed down from generation to generation.