Apart from a fully openworked or skeletonised dial, wearing your watch movement side up would be a great way to appreciate the movement while it’s on your wrist. Or…. perhaps cutting out sections of a “traditional” dial would allow for a more subtle way to appreciate the inner workings at a glance.
Inspired by the passing of time, Claude Meylan have done just that with their “Fenêtre sur Temps”, which from French translates simply to “Windows of Time”.
Two circular windows and an arrow cut out from the dial present a new sculpture of time. With the perpetual rotation of the dial, “windows” allow a glimpse of the workings and decorations of the hand wound skeleton movement, with the views through the dial changing with the passing of time.
CEO and brand visionary, Phillipe Belais, explains the idea behind the Fenêtre sur Temps in his own words:
At Claude Meylan we love to be different! That is our first motivation when we initiate a new development.
Since we present the largest collection of skeleton, we were willing to create a new way to discover our movements and by consequence, a new way to read time.
Open heart design have been around for a while, tourbillon or escapement were always liked by consumers and sure enough, we had the idea of combining the two themes by creating a dial which would allow the discovery of each part of the movement while time goes by.
The pointer came along to simplify the reading of time and its position was necessarily in between the two windows to ensure harmony and poetry.
Windows of time is a far echo to the movie title “Fenêtres sur cour”, WINDOWS of TIME was born!
Face & case
Presented in a 42mm, highly polished stainless steel case, the bezel is smooth and relatively narrow, which drops into a vertical rehaut – the rehaut is also highly polished and the dial shape and colour reflects from it.
The dial is bright cerise pink and textured, in a concertina design that catches the light and appears to change from bright pink to a darker purple colour in the darker shaded areas – the concertina fans out from the centre and wraps 360 degrees around the dial. The perfectly circular fan is, however, disturbed, by 2 large circular apertures opposite each other, as well as an arrow shape between them – the circular apertures are purely decorative, however the arrow is actually the hour hand.
Connected to the movement, and as time advances, the dial moves with it and therefor so do the holes and the hour hand, each offering a peek into the skeletonised and decorated movement below. Depending on the display of time, a new view will be seen through the dial, offering a change to the dial appearance with every minute that passes.
The minute hand is also an arrow shape, but made out of polished stainless steel and itself is skeletonised.
Sitting above it all, there is a sapphire crystal, which has Claude Meylan and Vallée de Joux printed discretely on it in the centre between 10 and 2 o’clock.
From the side, the lugs appear to begin closer to the centre of the case (and crown) than usual, however, this is not visible from above. The pull out crown is of medium size and understated, with substantial grooves for grip.
Turn the watch over and the entire case back is sapphire crystal, providing a clear view to the beautifully skeletonised and decorated movement below. There are multiple colours visible, from the different metals used, to the finishing, heat blued screws and purple jewels.
The only other thing visible on the case back are a few things printed in CAPS around the perimeter, such as “All Stainless Steel”, “Swiss Made”, “Water Resistant” (which is 30m), and “Sapphire”
A hand wound 16“ UT 6497 movement powers the watch – this is a proven workhorse by Unitas (ETA), which has been highly skeletonised and decorated by hand.
It is a time only piece and owners should expect around 40 hours power reserve once fully wound.
The strap is a bright cerise pink calf leather, with an alligator embossed print, with matching stitching and with a navy blue leather lining with matching stitching.
It is secured by a polished stainless steel pin buckle, which has the barnad name CLAUDE MEYLAN printed in black across it.
We reviewed a Claude Meylan unique piece, back in 2019, however, for some reason did not provide any history of the brand in their premier article, so here goes:
Did you know that Meylan is one of the four historical founding families of fine watchmaking?
In the 18th century, Samuel Olivier Meylan and Abraham-Samuel Meylan were initiated into the arts of watchmaking in Rolle and Fleurier and when they returned to the Vallée de Joux, Samuel-Olivier Meylan started designing and manufacturing pocket watches equipped with movements and musical discs. The passion for movements becomes a family tradition.
Claude Meylan reinforces the heritage of it’s namesake and extends its know-how by stripping back and decorating each of the elements of the movement – skeletonising is being pushed by Claude Meylan continually presenting new shapes and harmonies on bridges, wheels and drive trains, to express a new vision of time, while establishing a new art of sculpted pieces.
Always looking for new technologies as well as historical and legendary pieces, Claude Meylan offers an exceptional range of traditional and reliable movements. Each piece contains the limitless passion of the Maison and expresses a new measure of time in either a classic or contemporary style.
I was smitten as soon as I saw this watch – love the bright colours, the dial design and the amount of detail visible through the “windows” is amazing.
On the wrist, it’s the perfect size for me – the fact the lugs don’t protrude too far out from the case, give the appearance of a slightly smaller (40/41mm) case – having a super smooth case and being easily less than 10mm thick, it’s able to fit under cuffs without any fuss too.
In the past, I have been known to purchase watches purely down to the aesthetics of the decoration on the movement side; the great thing about the Claude Meylan Fenêtre sur Temps, is that we get a glimpse of different aspects of the movement as time passes and of course, the joy of seeing the whole movement from the back every time the watch is put on, or removed is never going to get old.
Whilst the movement decoration and design is absolutely gorgeous, the only negative point I might comment on, is the fact that the finishing is not as superlative as I have seen. That being said, at a price point of only 3,900 CHF, I think that value for money is outstanding; and with just 30 pieces being made in this colour, I doubt there will be any disappointed owners.
I’m always excited to see what comes next from Claude Meylan – a brand which is clearly in pursuit of the perfect skeleton watch and seemingly always able to come up with new and interesting watch designs that question what is and/or should be “normal”.