The biggest event in the world of watchmaking, Baselworld show, which is scheduled for the first part of March, is the place where the most significant manufacturers will show why they are so successful, while the new and upcoming ones will try to explain why they deserve a spot among the big players. One from the layer group is the brand called Nord Zeitmaschine which announced the presentation of its latest product dubbed Variocurve. It is an innovative product with a brand new kind of retrograde display which is used to show time. Due to complex mechanical and engineering breakthroughs, this watch utilizes a minute hand that moves at various speeds during the course of an hour and moves at the path with varying curves, thus the name Variocurve.
Before presenting the original new timepiece, let us share a few details about the company itself, and its founder Daniel Nebel who went into watchmaking business in 1998. The first part of the name of the brand, Nord (translated into English it means “north”) signifies the northern part of Switzerland, where Nebel had been born and where he later founded the firm. The second part of the name Zeitmaschine (or time machine in English) comes from the original career of the brand’s founder who began as a mechanic. Nebel was mainly working as a designer of new types of machines and tools. At the middle of the nineties, he became interested in watchmaking and began the extensive studies of timepieces creation procedures and started making watches of his own. After a while, back in 1998, Nord Zeitmaschine was born.
At the beginning, the new brand was specialized in making certain parts of watches, such as dials, cases, pushers, crowns and discs. As the workshop expanded, Nebel’s knowledge in the field became more refine, and the firm started making more complex components, such as plates, pignons, gear wheels, hands and bridges. All of this enabled the creation of intricate timepieces, like Varioucurve which we will now present in more details.
Two Different Curved Paths for Minute Hand
The creation of the model began with Nebel’s desire to construct a timepiece with a retrograde display which will be very different from the existing models. All the mechanical models of timepieces prior to this one always had the display element (which could be a hand, a disc, a cage or something else) rotating on a fixed axis which traveled at a constant path. The plan for the new type of watch was to make an unseen way of display whose centre of rotation would not be fixed. After numerous trials and errors, Nebel came up with a solution that included a pair of counter-rotating eccentric cams which enabled the path of hands to be performed in a way that he found satisfying.
The minute hand of the watch begins its path at the top of the dial (at the traditional 12 o’clock position) and then moves to the right. After it reaches the far right, it goes back to the left at the path that is closer to the center of the dial (30 minute mark is situated at the center of the lower path). After reaching the further left of the face, the minute hand goes back to the outer path until it completes its journey.
Still, the concept required further tweaking, due to the fact that the minute hand slowed down and traveled less at the far left and right which was caused by Nebel’s inclusion of eccentric cams. In these positions, legibility was weakened. To fix this disability, the founder of Nord Zeitmaschine utilized two segment displays (the left one has 10 to 20 minute markers on it, and the right one 40 to 50) that move in the opposite direction of the hand when it reaches an extreme position.
Three Versions in Limited Editions of 97 Pieces
The rest of the display includes the hour indication counter which sits between seven and eight o’clock position on the traditional dial, as well as a date indication on the lower right part of the watch’s face. The in-house developed and assembled self-winding movement bears the name Nord N2. It runs on 4 Hz, has 25 jewels (the base movement is ETA 2824). The timepiece by Vogard includes a power reserve of 42 hours.
The innovative movement is fitted in a stainless steel case which is 43.6 mm wide and 15.8 mm thick. It is made with a stationary steel bezel and protected with a sapphire crystal (which is also placed on the case back). Thanks to its construction, Nord Zeitmaschine Variocurve can withstand water pressure to 100 meters. This watch is paired with a calf leather strap that is 22 mm wide.
There are three versions of the watch. Each of them is partly coated with white rhodium which is combined with black gold for the variation V1, pink gold for V2 and yellow gold for V3 version. All three versions will be produced in the limited editions of 97 pieces.