Within the watch industry, there are very few brands that actually manufacture watches in Switzerland. The majority can classify their timepieces as ‘Swiss Made’ under Swiss law as long as at least 60% of manufacturing costs are generated in Switzerland. This technicality is misleading to most consumers who probably imagine a craftsman fastidiously grinding away in his/her workshop. However, there are a few watchmakers like Martin Pauli (trading under the label (angular momentum) that actually are the real deal. Previously I had the pleasure of co-creating a bespoke watch with Martin called the ‘Hemisphere’. This piece is constructed from solid bronze with carbon fibre 3D globe indexes a skeletonised dial and carbon fibre hour/minute hands. With a diameter of 55mm (excluding the crown), it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Nearly 9 years ago in 2014, I reviewed one of Angular Momentum freehand models called the Polyphemos. This timepiece was constructed from solid bronze without the intervention of CNC machines and has a cool steampunk aesthetic. They were available in 46mm and 50mm cases and only 10 of these timepieces were ever made. Due to material and size, the 50mm version I tested felt pretty heavy on the wrist. For that reason, I concluded that it was more of a showpiece rather than an everyday watch. Fast forward to the present day, and Martin Pauli has reimagined the Polyphemos in a material called ebonite. This gives the timepiece a whole new dynamic.
For those who are not that familiar with ebonite, it’s a material that is fabricated from vulcanised rubber. As the name suggests it’s got a similar appearance to ebony. Its’ main application has been fountain pens for over a century. Essentially it’s got carbon fibre-like qualities and is resistant to all commonly used acids. This makes it a very unusual choice for a watch case but also a very effective one. The Polythemos Ebonite has a slightly thicker 50mm x 25mm case than the bronze version but is significantly lighter. There are also slight variances with more visible brass screws. However, the true essence of the original concept has remained much the same.
Powering 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 Polythemos Ebonite features hours and minutes in a digital time format. These are displayed on two revolving disks, visible through a sapphire crystal porthole window. As a perfect final touch, the watch is presented on a reclaimed rubber strap with a patented bronze fastening system.
For more information about Angular Momentum follow this link