Probably one of the best things about Baselworld (apart from the watches) is the opportunity to network with a wide variety of people. As well as attending the event in a press capacity I also brought along a prototype watch I had created (in collaboration with Frank Heydrich). Certainly I kept this low key because I didn’t want it to conflict with my editorial duties. However I did want to get valued opinions of friends within the industry. One of the watchmaker’s who were very positive and encouraging from the outset was Yvan Arpa (founder of ArtyA). Whilst we were discussing various aspects of the design Yvan invited David Wunderli to join the conversation. I later discovered that David has just co founded his own luxury watch brand called R&D Genève.
R&D Genève is one of a new breed of small boutique watchmakers that exhibited at Baselworld this year for the first time. They were positioned next to brands like ArtyA, Bausele, Greco Genève, Itay Noy and Ralf Tech. Although their stand was modest compared to the larger groups (situated in Hall 1) they still had enough timepieces on display to showcase their talents.
Although all of R&D Genève’s watches are attractive, the star of the show was their magnificent Flying Tourbillon. Dimensionally the watch is well-proportioned measuring 44mm x 13mm. However the timepiece appears much larger due to the unique crown locking system. Generally I found the watch sat very comfortably on my wrist and didn’t experience any friction from the lugs. It also felt exceptionally lightweight because the case is constructed from forged carbon. For that reason I would be happy to wear this watch for most occasions and definitely on a daily basis.
Visually the case of the Flying Tourbillon has a striking resemblance to the Code R by Wyler Genève. When I mentioned this to David Wunderli he agreed but was pretty vague about the reason why. Nevertheless the watch is fantastic looking and very well priced (for a Swiss made Tourbillon). Forged carbon is one of my favourite materials because of its matt black textured appearance. This characteristic compliments the minimalistic open worked dial. Other features include contemporary open-worked hour/minute hands and a large aperture (located at 6 o’clock) displaying the formidable rotating flying tourbillon carriage. Overall the industrial composition is very effective and the finishing is first rate.
Beneath the cool façade lies a highly accomplished manual winding Swiss made tourbillon movement. This caliber comprises 19-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5Hz). All the individual components have been manufactured and assembled by the finest craftsmen. Functionally the Flying Tourbillon features hours and minutes. The timepiece has a power reserve of 45-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 100-metres.
The Flying Tourbillon (as tested) has a black hand stitched alligator strap with matching folding clasp. Priced competitively at: CHF 33,000 (approximately $34,960).
For more information about R&D Genève visit the company’s website: http://www.rd-geneve.com