Ah - modern-day Horology. In order to get noticed, and then to hold one's attention long enough to be admired, nowadays a timepiece really does need a meritorious feature - or two. And, of course as the old saying goes "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" so it follows that we all have our preferences.
Some enthusiasts prefer a busy dial - the whirr of the tourbillon or perhaps the flutter of multiple retrograde indications; others find escapism in the breath-taking miniature masterpieces created using age-old artisan techniques, and for some the quiet beauty of an enamel dial is enough to stop them in their tracks. Me? I fall for horological trickery every time - dials which refuse to behave themselves and indications which defy tradition. I was particularly smitten by the split personality of the Revelation Magical Watch Dial which uses precision optical engineering to evoke a dial with two personas. So bemused was I by the uniqueness of this mechanism, by the various disciplines involved from "mere" watchmaking to the highest echelon of high-tech, and also by the gutsiness of the individuals who thought it up that really, I didn't see its full potential - until now that is. This device not only offers up a horological illusion, it also lends itself perfectly to personalisation.
First though a recap of this astounding invention. The term "Cutting-edge" is an often overused description these days with regard to watchmaking, but for the defining of Revelation's version of horological trickery it is entirely appropriate. As I have already said, this device enables a watch dial to have two personas, with a change which occurs instantly by simply rotating the bezel by 90 degrees. But of course this is no "simple" transformation. To create the drama, Revelation brought on-board the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique whose skilled team of technicians helped turn the impossible musings of Revelation's founders, Anouk Danthe and Olivier Leu into a reality.
The trickery occurs thanks to two polarizing glasses, placed one above the other, each of which comprises of nanostructures which act like miniscule shutters which block light, or let it through as they change position from horizontal to vertical positions. This complex arrangement was created by the same company from whose "clean rooms" came the strips of silicon which were manipulated to become a pivotal part of the next generation of escapement technology in the Girard-Perregaux Constant Force Escapement. The genealogy of the technology could not be disputed but even so, for Anouk and Olivier this undertaking required a leap of faith in both themselves and their concept and I tip my hat to their bravery.
The technology was first showcased with the Revelation R01. It was then refined so that the "change" is now operable via the notched bezel and in this guise it appeared in the superb R03 Chronographe. Perhaps I should also draw attention to the fact this project required the system, the case and the movement to work together and conform to each others needs, so this was not simply a case of going to the technical experts with a long list and deep pockets - its creation demanded integration from conception to finish.
Now, having perfected their "Revelation System" this youthful company can now play. Anouk recently sent me these images of the latest model in the lineage, a piece created with a Union Jack motif providingthe contrast to its plain face, and just in time for a visit to London too. More limited editions will no doubt follow, as Anouk suggested "flags, coats of arms, logos ..... even secret messages..... can you imagine?" Actually, indeed I can imagine, the possibilities are quite simply endless. Anouk and Olivier are as enthusiastic as ever about their Magical Watch Dial, and rightly so. From sketch pad musings toreality, they have proven themselves and their concept. Horological trickery? Of course. Bravura? Without doubt.
More details at the official Revelation website.