Rock Around the Clock

The juke­box-in­spired Opus 14 con­firms Harry Win­ston’s en­dur­ing com­mit­ment to the ground­break­ing Opus se­ries, writes Sean Li

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

t wasn’t un­til that Harry Win­ston, jew­eller to the stars since its in­cep­tion in 1932, dipped its toe into watch­mak­ing. The brand cre­ated time­pieces in­spired by a num­ber of el­e­ments, such as the three arches, taken from the ar­chi­tec­ture of its Fifth Av­enue salon, and the emer­ald shape, Win­ston’s favourite di­a­mond cut. Th­ese time­pieces were nat­u­ral ex­ten­sions of the brand’s jewels. But that changed in 2001 when the watch di­vi­sion, un­der Max­i­m­il­ian Büsser, drew up one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing con­cepts in mod­ern watch­mak­ing: the Opus se­ries.

The idea was that Harry Win­ston would work with in­de­pen­dent watch­mak­ers well known to the horo­log­i­cal cognoscenti but de­sir­ing a wider au­di­ence. The project would also draw at­ten­tion to Harry Win­ston with cre­ative, ground­break­ing as­pects. Its first watchmaker was François-paul Journe, whose brand FP Journe has since de­vel­oped in leaps and bounds. The Opus 1 set off a yearly in­tro­duc­tion of Opus watches, with the con­cept tak­ing on ever more com­plex and oc­ca­sion­ally wild ideas while spot­light­ing many of to­day’s most il­lus­tri­ous watch­mak­ers, such as Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, Vian­ney Hal­ter, Christophe Claret, Jean-marc Wieder­recht and Felix Baum­gart­ner.

An­nual prod­uct launches are com­mon in many in­dus­tries, but watch­mak­ers tend to need more time to de­velop their pieces, par­tic­u­larly when you con­sider the Opus se­ries takes a tan­gen­tial view of how time is dis­played. And yet the se­ries has con­tin­ued year in, year out, with each watch cre­at­ing a sig­nif­i­cant buzz. Even when Harry Win­ston

Harry Win­ston’s Opus 14 takes in­spi­ra­tion from the juke­box, with a mech­a­nism that in­ter­changes four discs show­ing a spe­cific dis­play—lo­cal time, GMT time, the date and a star with Mr Win­ston’s sig­na­ture was ac­quired in 2013 by the Swatch Group, with the news com­ing shortly be­fore Basel­world, the Opus 13 ap­peared on sched­ule.

How­ever, the fol­low­ing year, with Nayla Hayek at the helm, the brand de­cided to take a step back. Hayek said an­other Opus was un­der de­vel­op­ment, but she wanted to present it on its own stage at a dif­fer­ent time to give it its proper due and to fo­cus all the brand’s at­ten­tion on the piece, rather than have it as part of a wider port­fo­lio. In­dus­try in­sid­ers be­gan to won­der if the project would con­tinue, par­tic­u­larly when Basel­world 2015 passed with­out a word on the next Opus. But in late Oc­to­ber, Harry Win­ston gath­ered its most loyal Opus col­lec­tors and me­dia in Baden-baden, Ger­many, to un­veil the Opus 14.

The watch, de­signed by Franck Orny and Johnny Girardin, is very much in the lin­eage of the Opus se­ries, with an un­usual

Fifties spirit

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