In a traditional retrograde version, once the minutes hand reaches 60, it would pause before jumping backwards to zero. In the sequential system, the hand continues running and the central disc makes a surprising 90° counter-clockwise jump, lending a truly magical touch to the rhythm of this unique and meticulously assembled mechanism. The whole thing might be rather energy-hungry and thus exercise a negative influence on the power reserve. This is in fact not a problem thanks to an ingenious patented system which stores up the mechanical energy for 60 minutes in order to perform the segment-jump required to reveal the next hour. Brilliantly orchestrated with hundredth of a millimeter precision, this mechanical choreographic performance stuns even the most blasé observers.
Main de Maître collection
Keen on acquiring a bespoke watch or part of an ultra-limited series imbued with the spirit of a true artist ? The MCT technical and aesthetic platform comprises a network of acknowledged creative experts who place their talent at the disposal of the most sophisticated requests. Such is the case with engraving expert Sylvain Bettex, who has succeeded in transforming the raised bridges of the S100 Koi Carp into a sapphire river inspired by Japanese etchings, from which four finely engraved gold carp appear to be leaping up on each corner of the dial. The effect is all the more stunning in that their tails strike the gold of the case, thereby enhancing the radiantly shimmering visual impact. The contrast with the black of the prisms and the strap is particularly attractive. In an entirely different style, the Sparkle model by master-watchmaker Stéphane Widmer appears to be a case of ‘horological innovation meets the Swiss flag’. The prisms form a cross, the colors come pretty close to red and white, while the diamonds on the bezel and the silicon of the dial are a nod to the snow and ice of Swiss mountains. Silicon is an extremely complex and fragile material to work with and proves just as demanding as the adjustment of the technical content emerging from its structure. Time will tell whether the new S200 automatic movement will inspire as many devotees of artistic personalization.
Boutique Manufacture Strength in numbers
What combination could be more interesting than the boutique Manufacture? It takes us back to the time when the small workshops dotted around Geneva, the Vallée de Joux, Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds used to receive commissions from private clients and jewellers all over the world to create extraordinary pieces. Some are are now treasures harboured in private collections and the most famous museums, which still have the ability to amaze us with the ingenuity of their movements and their style which was already sophisticated. This age-old spirit of tradition permeates MCT’s production units, albeit focused on futurist watchmaking. MCT thus belongs to the fairly exclusive circle of small brands nicknamed ‘boutique Manufactures’, which produce watches with movements manufactured in-house and issued as one-of-a-kind models made to order. The Main de Maître collection (see page 5) provides a perfect illustration of the potential of this concept.
Without this network of specialised in-house workshops, it would not have been possible to present a new caliber in 14 months. One might be tempted to question the sense of having a calibre comprising as many parts as a perpetual calendar or a minute repeater, until one grasps that all the elements in the Sequential movement are strictly functional and necessary, like the four prism modules each containing 50 components. With a DNA featuring equal shares of sophisticated design and mechanical innovation, it is essential for MCT to be able to depend on perfect coordination between these different pillars. The ‘boutique Manufacture’ concept thus takes on its full significance within the company itself, before also proving of benefit to collectors.
Thanks to the support and profound commitment of its sole shareholder, Cage Holding, represented by Kristina Ambartsumyan, MCT’s development ambitions for the near future will become clearly apparent both qualitatively and quantitatively. With an annual production objective of nearly 700 units along with new caliber and case designs, additional strategic acquisitions of suppliers are under way. MCT’s end clients will benefit from increased creativity and reactiveness when producing their dream piece or acquiring the archetype of contemporary watchmaking know-how.
Taking time for time
MCT Sequential Two – S200
The new-generation Sequential is distinguished by a new automatic caliber, a two-part round case and a raised sapphire crystal accentuating the impression that the mechanism is levitating above the dial.
A 100% MCT movement
The common denominator between the caliber of the Sequential One and that of the Sequential Two clearly lies in the four 50-part prism modules serving to display the hours. These prisms are still accompanied by the patented system serving to store the energy required for the jump of the hours disc with its 90° aperture indicating the hour. But the similarities stop there, since the latter is powered by the brand-new 100% in-house developed automatic caliber. Visible through the sapphire case back of the Sequential Two, this automatic movement powered by a micro-rotor has benefited from the synergies stemming from the various production units acquired in the process of vertically integrating MCT’s production that was undertaken 14 months ago. Requiring even more rigorous precision than the rating of a tourbillon mechanism, the adjustment of the prisms exactly coordinated with the hours disk calls for exceptionally meticulous care. In order to make reading the time even simpler, the minutes indication appears on a 360° cross-shaped bridge that meant adapting this sophisticated mechanism. The uncompromising finishes are entirely in harmony with Fine Watchmaking traditions.
A far more complex case
Even though it is no longer square but instead round, the case of the Sequential Two remains immediately identifiable with MCT by preserving the brand identity and the coherence of the lines that have made the Sequential One a contemporary watchmaking classic. The MCT genetic heritage is instantly apparent. The case features the brand’s signature middle sapphire shedding light inside the movement. The Sequential’s equally typical hollowed and structured lugs clearly showcase the brand’s architectural codes. Ensuring water resistance is even trickier due to the conception of the new sapphire topping the case. Neither flat nor convex, the raised glass with horizontal facets slots in between the case and dial. Making no concessions to technical aspect, the essential role played by design is typical of the MCT approach which implies taking time for time.
A tribute to weightlessness
As mentioned earlier, the appearance of the 360° outer minute track further facilitates reading off the time, which is already particularly comfortable as presented in the Sequential concept. However, the less visible aspect is the sapphire disc fitted in the dial center which slides beneath the hand and is fixed to the 270° hours disc bearing the inscription Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps, and which jumps each hour to reveal the prism module revealing the current hour. This impression of a suspended mechanism is further heightened by the plunging lateral view afforded by the dedicated shape of the sapphire crystal emerging from the case. It is thus possible to admire the edge of the dial, secured by four screws, from a side view of the watch. In keeping with the MCT spirit, the duality of contemporary and classical elements is ever-present in this first Sequential Two collection, presented at Baselworld 2014 in two 99-piece limited editions in white and pink gold respectively.
A mechanically assisted buckle ?
Everyone who owns an MCT timepiece can be sure of having a double blade folding clasp with an integrated safety system to keep it firmly in place on the wrist. But what about an option that enables one to adjust the bracelet to the nearest half centimetre depending on the situation, the temperature and the activity at that time? Known all over the world for his mechanical belt buckles and other sophisticated adjustment systems, Roland Iten has agreed to lend his talent to MCT. His mechanical inventions sometimes have more components than a complicated calibre in order to ensure unprecedented and exceptionally refined adjustment. When visual comfort is accompanied by optimal wearing comfort, the Sequential One (or Two) takes Fine Watchmaking into another dimension.
Once upon a time the Sequential One
The collection is pursuing its expansion, as six years after the first model was unveiled, the Sequential One S100 continues to win over and surprise observers of the grand watchmaking stage. Never before had the dialogue between hours and minutes been so playful and clear. Rarely had the backstage view of a mechanical work been made such an integral part of the show – partially visible from the front, side and back of the timepiece. Of the 471 parts composing the S100 movement, 200 are dedicated to the four rotating prisms serving as acts in a play – each composed of three parts (since each prism module serves to display three different hours). Since them, the stage-settings have evolved and adapted to the tastes of various continents in step with performances, and the S100 has become a classic, a key feature of any good contemporary collection.
Exclusively developed for MCT and now produced in-house, the MCT-S1 caliber is admired by devotees of technical innovation, as well as by purists with a penchant for traditional watchmaking. Designers and other connoisseurs of form and function immediately appreciate the sapphire insert splitting the case in two and enabling the light to shine in, along with the triangular prism modules providing the largest hour display on the market. There is no risk of confusion with the minutes hand – since there is only one hand which sweeps around a sophisticated sapphire disc, making one instant rotation on each full hour in order to keep step with the said minutes hand – at the exact time when the hour indication switches to the following module. For anyone who wishes to personalize the model, the Manufacture is more than happy to oblige.
Whereas design magician Eric Giroud waved his magic wand over the S100, the S110 has been given a more urban touch by his colleague and friend Fabrice Gonet. While the codes of its predecessor are clearly present, the new generation features more clear-cut contrasts. Its edgier character is also reflected in the choice of more modern materials such as titanium, or a DLC coating accentuating a personality thus rendered even stronger. It also conveys the industrial character intrinsically bound up with the integration of new skills within the group that owns MCT. The Sequential One – S110 comes in four basic versions, but is also intended for the most demanding collectors thanks to a whole range of customizable features. The touch of a magic wand is just as effective in an urban setting.