Here, courtesy of Peter Roberts Watches, are a few photos of Peter's first production model, the Grand Complication 5 "Concentrique". As you can see, the dials, cases and bezels are coming along very nicely indeed, ready for their debut at BaselWorld 2013 later this week. As you may have gathered, I'm very attached to this watch already; it's not just the story, but the wonderful people behind this watch. We can sometimes get carried away by technical advances, new materials, obscure complications and bizarre designs, but for me, it's often the people, the watchmakers themselves, and the families that support them, that make this hobby such a pleasure. It's difficult to apply superlatives to watches; with the advent of social media, every post on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook or the like, comes with exclamations, outlandish claims, capital letters or hyperbole.
We seem to be diminishing the impact of the words we write by their sheer overuse. But for me, this piece represents a truly wonderful occasion: the release of a limited edition, hand-crafted, unique design, that was first developed by a WOSTEP student over forty years ago, and is now finally seeing the light of day. The price? Well, it remains high: £18k for one of the forty stainless steel-cased pieces; or £28k for one of the four gold-cased versions. I am incredibly sorry not to be at BaselWorld to see the unveiling of these cased-up prototypes, and I'd ask anyone who is visiting to pop in and see Peter if they can.
Here is a closer look at the bezel and case of the "Concentrique". As you can see, the twenty-four hour markers remain on the bezel, with the calendar markers being moved to the outer ring of the dial. The watch itself is 42mm across, and each hand-wound Valjoux 88** is being finished by Peter. I've not yet seen a close-up of the movement, but hope to be able to spend some time with Peter and his watches when he returns from Switzerland. Many thanks again to Peter, Marie-Louise and all involved in the "Concentrique" for the use of these photos. It's an honour to see these before the watches are revealed later this week. I hope you'll agree that this looks to be a very special watch indeed.
**A #watchnerd fact for you: approximately 13,000 Valjoux 88 movements, or 88 VZHCL as they were more formally known, were made. This compares with over a quarter of a million 72/72C movements.