“It’s here and it works.” A great deal lies behind the simple words with which Gérald Roden, de Grisogono Chief Executive, introduced the Otturatore, which of course he wore on his wrist. “Last September, we were forced to reconsider how we worked within the atelier, which now employs watchmakers from BNB and Patek Philippe,” he continued. “And we succeeded. It’s no secret: de Grisogono used to work with outside constructors for its timepieces, such as Jean-François Mojon for the Meccanico dg with its dual analogue and digital display. Now things have changed with the Otturatore, whose movement was designed, manufactured and assembled in-house. De Grisogono needed to assert itself as a legitimate watchmaker, as watches account for 40% of its revenue. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, an important stage.”
What a stage indeed, as the Otturatore features a most unusual complication. “We went against the grain of the current trend to flaunt complications like medals. The Otturatore functions with a mechanical sequential display. One press on the top pusher rotates the dial 90° to show the date, power reserve, seconds and moon phases, each in turn. The bottom pusher winds the barrel, which contains a 1.5-metre long spring, for the reserve power.”
The movement’s tour de force is the incredible speed with which it rotates: a quarter-turn in 16 milliseconds, impossible to perceive with the naked eye. It is driven by a 9G force, equivalent to a car reaching 100 kph in 0.31 second, or a jet aircraft on take-off. The second mechanical feat is that the dial comes to a halt in exactly the right position, without the mechanism exploding.
Otturatore by Grisogono
Futuristic and classic
The Otturatore’s sequential display module accounts for 334 of the 574 components in the movement, which bears more than a passing resemblance to an engine block (the gears clearly suggest a car gearbox). “The level of difficulty involved in inventing the sequential display implied the use of sophisticated and innovative engineering techniques, in particular digital calculations and simulation. Without these techniques, we could never have hoped to achieve such a result.” This astonishing movement resides in a generously proportioned, rectangular case complete with two imposing pushers. The dial has an engine-turned Clou de Paris decoration and dauphine hands. Between classicism and futuristic fine watchmaking, de Grisogono has found its way.