VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Victor's post below on his beautiful jump hour watch led me to think of VC's extraordinary pieces with alternative time display functions.

Looking at the wide array of watches I'm pretty amazed by VC's rich production of  jump hour or wandering hours type time pieces and reminds me why I have so much respect and fascination for this brand!

Without being exhaustive here is a sample of some of the brand's creations:

Jump Hour from late 18th century

Called "à la Breguet" due to its richly guilloché dial. Hours jump type and placed at 12, seconds are read via the larger sub dial on the top part of the dial, minutes are read via the central hand and the date is indicated via the subdial at 6.

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Jump Hour with wandering minutes and calendar: mid 20s

Typical of the Art Deco epoch all functions are read via discs: calendar on the top part of the dial, wandering minutes on a semi circle and hours right underneath.

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Jump Hour from mid 30s

The hour appeture actually rotates to indicate the minutes and jumps once it reaches 60.

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Bras en l'Air from late 20s to mid 30s

Part of the partnership with Parisian case maker Verger Frères, VC offered different characters on the dial whose moving hands indicated hours and minutes.

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

There are some jump hour wrist watches from the 30s of which I unfortunately do not have scans of. Seems like these alternative time indication displays fell out of fashion between 1940-1990 because we had to wait until 1994 to see the amazing Mercator series

Mercator Enamel dial, Americas: 1994

These enamel dial models were made in 1994 either with a dial representing the Americas or Africa/Europe/Asia. Made in 30 pieces each. Later VC also made special enamel dial versions for specific markets: ie: Hong Kong, Portugual, North America etc...

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Mercator engraved dial 1995

A year after the limited enamel dial models VC launched the regular production Mercator models with engraved dials in YG and platinum. Produced until 2004 unofficial sources lead me to believe that aboout 500 Mercator models all dial/case combinations were made!!

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Jump Hour or Heuse Sautante mid 1990

Made in YG and platinum, the minutes are indicated by a triangular shaped onyx.

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Saltarello: 2000

Jump hour with retrograde minute indication, this watch was made in 200 pices in WG, 200 pieces in RG and 100 pieces in YG

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Tribute to the Great Explorers 2004

Wandering hour watch with enamel dial on two levels. The first two series had dials representing the adventures of Zeng He and Magellan. Two other models with different dials will be presented in 2008. Total production of all 4 series should be around 240 pieces. There's an excellent film on these watches in the Goodies section.

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Metiers d'Art Four Seasons 2005

Part of the 250th anniversary celebratory pieces these watches represented the 4 seasons (here winter is pictured). The Day, Date, and Hours are jump tupe whereas the minutes are wandering. Made in 25 sets of 4 pieces.

VC is really king of alternative time display watches 

Metiers d'Art Les Masques 2007

On of this year's most amazing timpieces. With the same functions as the 2005 model the amazing dial and engraving work have truly made this watch into a modern masterpiece. Exists in a set of 25 with 4 pieces each, in 2008 and 2009 2 new sets will be presented. You can read more about this collection in the Articles section and an excellent film can be found in the Goodies section.

VC is really king of alternative time display watches

Re: VC is really king of alternative time display watches
09/02/2007 - 16:37

That's right, Alex, and with a lot various wandering time watches made through the last century till now, VC is the only one to reach such a level and a range to my knowledge, with more and more crafmanship and originality these last years.

Show must go on for the future...

Cheers, Patrice

all of these watches are masterpieces in their own right! I'm not a
09/02/2007 - 18:01

fan of the 4 seasons model though.

Excellent review, Alex!
09/02/2007 - 19:39
Although I am not the biggest fan of jump hour/wandering minutes/retrogade indicators on VC watches I do have to admit its range is stunning.  A very comprehensive and extensive piece of reading and learning - great job, Alex! Thanks
Re: VC is really king of alternative time display watches
09/02/2007 - 23:26

Hi Alex,

That was a very interesting review.

I believe VC was the greatest innovator in this fashion of alternative displays, of all the top brands.

I know that the oriental characters with the moving arms were quite popular in the 1930's. Audemars Piguet has one in their museum and I believe (although I am not certain) that there is one in the Patek museum as well.

They are quite fascinating.

When you get a chance, it might be fun to look at the relationship between VC and Verges Freres more closely. They produced some spectacular table clocks that are real masterpieces of art deco design, really beautiful.

Regards,

Joseph

excellent idea, I'll try to do a short presentation soon (nt)
09/03/2007 - 00:15

nt

Great review, thanks (nt)
09/03/2007 - 13:09

nt

Excellent article ! Thanks Alex !
09/04/2007 - 01:14

The Masques collection is beautiful !

Nice survey....
09/04/2007 - 06:06
and of course we'll all be interested to see what they come up with next! Bill
Shady Joe appreciates the tremendous work in the 4 seasons but it
09/04/2007 - 13:00

reminds him of Ceasar's Palace!!

very interesting post
09/04/2007 - 13:11

Although I prefer the more traditional time display, it is really interesting to see all these alternative displays, and I am impressed by VC’s creativity. While I did not really like Les Masques at the beginning, they are starting to grow on me…