Its story began with Jérôme De Witt’s desire to display the time differently. While the manufacture has fully demonstrated its skill with traditional high-end timepieces, the Academia collection also lends itself to particularly bold creative exercises. The Slide is the latest illustration of this approach. Made entirely from titanium, this 49mm piece was originally inspired by children’s toboggans. It presents a progressive, effortless slide from top to bottom thanks to an intuitive use of gravity. The Academia Slide applies this basic physical principle to watchmaking in a ground-breaking way. Every hour is inscribed on a brass plate that slides along a track, guiding it to a horizontal position. It is this horizontal display alone that shows the current hour. Next, the two central hands indicate the minutes and seconds.
This simple, intuitive design is also highly energy efficient. The hour plates slide in a natural, fluid manner. They are all interconnected: as soon as an hour arrives at the flat position, its plate begins its return to a vertical position and the next plate begins its descent. This continuous progression of the hours, which never freeze even for a second, symbolises the elusive, ephemeral nature of time. The unusual star-shaped dial is a direct result of Jérôme DeWitt’s passion for mechanics. The creative soul of the manufacture and passionate collector of historic automotive developments was inspired here by the legendary rotary engines central to vintage cars and aeroplanes from the early 20th century.
These engines ran extremely smoothly thanks to their considerable inertia, a property that is fully exploited in the Academia Slide. They were also more compact and lightweight than other systems. Again, the Academia Slide takes full advantage of this, offering a simpler (and therefore more reliable) watch construction of just 276 components, scarcely more than a traditional three-hand manufacture movement.