Since initiating contact with Frank Heydrich about a few years ago I have become more and more interested in the unique qualities of Meteorite. I have also been amazed at how many other watchmakers share my views. In a previous article entitled ‘Meteorite Watches’ I featured five really well respected watchmakers. The editorial included Frank’s No.50 Hypershark, Louis Moinet’s Tourbillon Watch, Antoine Preziuso’s Tourbillon T 21 Munionalusta (with a case constructed from Meteorite), RJ Romain Jerome 1969 Heavy Metal Meteorite and BLU Open Planet-Meteorite. Other brands like Corum, Arnold & Son, Jaquet Droz and Rolex have also used this organic material to good effect.
As I have mentioned in previous articles watch making is effectively a hobby for Frank Heydrich. From many conversations with him he has told me his main occupation, as a Jet engineer, is very demanding and also very rewarding. However in the future he has aspirations to pursue horology full time. Certainly I believe he has the raw talent and creativity to achieve anything he desires. In fact I am delighted to say Frank has now booked time on a CNC machine to develop his own range of bespoke timepieces. Ultimately this will give him more flexibility to manufacture different size and shape watchcases.
The aptly named Crusty is Frank’s 49th watch and one of the most striking. Dimensionally the timepiece has a slightly larger diameter than the ‘Mini Meteorite’ (reviewed 9th December 2013) and measures 44mm. These proportions should appeal to a wide variety of male and female buyers. I also feel this watch would feel comfortable and lightweight on the wrist. Primarily that is down to the slender case and choice of 316L stainless steel in production. Normally I would prefer titanium (as used in his No.50 Hypershark) but in this instance it suits the style of the watch.
Visually the Crusty No.49 has a really bold and distinctive appearance. What makes this watch so unique is the use of the famous Campo del Cielo (“Field of the Sky”) meteorite. This substance has more course texture (hence the name Crusty) than Gibeon (Namibia) and Muonionalusta (Sweden) meteorites. I love the way Frank incorporated a raw slice of this golden brown material into the dial. In my opinion it works in harmony with the exposed highly decorated gold plated movement. Other features include the delicate black hour hands and ornate crown. Overall I would say the original composition is highly pleasing and superbly executed.
At the heart of the watch is a reliable (skeletonized) Unitas ETA 6497-1 manual winding movement. The caliber comprises 17-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. This intricate mechanism is visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Crusty No.49 features hours, minutes and seconds. The watch also has a power reserve of approximately 38 hours.
The Crusty No.49 is a unique 1/1 piece and is available for sale at the Eclectic Image Gallery, Shops of Wailea, Maui, Hawaii (http://www.eclecticimage.com). Priced at $7,000.