Before I launched Total Watch Reviews I contacted quite a few well-respected watchmakers for their advice. Probably the most helpful was Martin Pauli who operates a watch brand called Angular Momentum. He went on to explain in depth about the term Swiss made, which in today’s industry is pretty ambiguous. Under Swiss law 51% of the value of timepiece must be Swiss. Realistically this means the majority of the components could potentially be manufactured in Asia, as labour is significantly cheaper. Incredibly most consumers I speak to are unaware of this technicality. Even though it isn’t a major issue for me I still feel there is something really special about a timepiece that is 100% Swiss made.
Under his label Angular Momentum Martin Pauli produces a very limited amount of watches per year. Most of them are custom made and are designed to the clients exact specifications. As a small independent watchmaker Martin has free range to experiment with different materials and techniques. A perfect example is his marvellous Guilloche Noir and Koi. Late last year I wrote an in depth article about this magnificent watch, which has a sublime raised black lacquer dial with a luxurious Guilloche background.
In a previous article entitled ‘Independent Watchmakers’ I featured ten amazing timepieces including Angular Momentum’s Polyphemos. As this watch is exceptionally rare I didn’t know if I would actually ever get to see the real timepiece. I am delighted to say that through the kindness and generosity of Militare Watch I have got access to piece 1/10. Dimensionally the watch measures a colossal 50mm x 20mm (excluding the oversized crown) and won’t appeal to the faint hearted. On the wrist, the timepiece sits comfortably but is a lot heavier than expected. Primarily this is down to the ergonomic case and choice of solid bronze in production. Due to the weight and size I would probably only reserve this watch for special occasions and not everyday usage.
In a recent conversation with Martin Pauli I asked about the story behind the Steampunkesque design. He mentioned that ultimately it was the bronze material that inspired him. However he does concede that a television programme the night before could have subconsciously influenced him. What make this timepiece so amazing is that it is completely made by hand and without the intervention of CNC machines. I love the porthole style window displaying the revolving hour and minute discs. Overall the simplistic composition is cohesive and the finishing is first rate. In previous articles I have written about many superb bronze watches but the Polyphemos is definitely one of my favourites.
At the heart of the watch is a historical Fontainemelon hand-winding movement dating back to 1955. This mechanism has been lovingly restored and modified by Martin personally. The Caliber FHF 96 comprises 17-Jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. Functionally the Polyphemos features hours and minutes. The watch also has a respectable power reserve of 48-hours.
The Polyphemos has a recycled rubber strap (made from shoe soles) and has unique fastening system. This watch is exceptionally rare and only 5 were ever produced at this size. However the 46mm version is currently for sale at Militare Watch at $8,000 (http://www.militarewatch.com).
For more information about Angular Momentum visit their website: http://www.angularmomentum.com