Ever wished you could have two watches with you, without the need to carry one separately (or double wrist)? NOVE makes this possible, with the Gemini; a watch with two faces.
A relative newcomer, NOVE was founded in 2015 and is a young, innovative microbrand, with one eye on the future and the other eye on the traditional craftsmanship of Swiss watch heritage – their mission is to “create beautiful watches that are durable, extraordinary, and functional, but also unbound to any one specific look or lifestyle”.
Inspired by reversible watches of the 20th century the Gemini pays homage to the dual face watch designs of the past and adds the concept of the celestial twins of the Zodiac, producing a functional watch with an innovative and modern design.
Their patented case with lever mechanism, allows owners to switch effortlessly between two faces, two movements and two time zones.
Brand owner, Tiffany Meerovitsch, explains the idea behind the NOVE Gemini:
The Gemini is the concept synonymous to its name, the Zodiac. The characterised twins, the dynamic trait known for having 2 different sides. One watch with 2 faces and movements while demonstrating a fascinating mechanical transformative structure was the goal. The versatility in a timepiece, playful and yet meticulously engineered and crafted is what we strive to create at NOVE. Always being original.
Face & case
The case frame is 49.2mm wide and in brushed stainless steel, however, there is a lot more going on with the case than in usual circumstances. There is an unlock lever on the right hand side of the case, connecting a series of gears (in polished stainless steel) which govern the movement of a patented design and allows the internal watch housing ring to lift from the main case and flip 180 degrees, revealing a totally different dial. Including the gears, the length of the watch across the front is 60.3mm.
Starting with the black dial side, a matte black dial is framed by polished stainless steel bezel, with 8 polished screws around it. There is a vertical rehaut, which drops about 2mm to the dial and is in polished stainless steel. The polished stainless steel hour markers are small dots, whose reflections can also be seen in the rehaut, when looking at the right angle. Other than a very small subsidiary seconds dial, with a stainless steel ring and hand at 6 o’clock and an even smaller “N” icon (also in stainless steel) at 12 o’clock, the dial is minimalistic. The hands are in polished stainless steel, in a thick sword shape and filled with lume.
While the watch is up and rotating to reveal the other side, it is apparent that the rest of the inner case is in brushed stainless steel, as is the bezel, which on this side does not have any screws on its face.
The dial on the other side is red with sunray satin polishing from the centre, out to a darker almost burgundy colour; it seems to have a metallic finish and brightens depending on how the light hits it. All indexes, icon and hands are in the same design as on the other side, the only difference being that the small seconds dial is replaced with a slightly wider “Swiss Made”, also in stainless steel.
Each dial has it’s own polished crown, both of which are only about 1mm in height, with ridged edges and the “N” icon on the end.
One thing to add about the main case, is that when the watch is upright and in mid-dial change, the base of the cradle is visible and it has a circular perlage pattern from the centre out and a black gasket, which allows for no movement when the watch is locked into place. There are also a few engraved mentions of NOVE; one on the left hand side of the mobile cradle and one on the inner gear tooth ring.
The back of the watch has a sealed screw down case back, which is laser engraved and etched. There is a big “N” in the centre and a fair amount of text, around the perimeter, such as the brand name and Gemini, Swiss Made, Water Resistance (50m) and a few other things. The limited edition number of 500 is printed in black underneath the central “N”.
Due to the double sided nature of the dials, there are 2 separate movements required; the red side is powered by a Swiss Ronda Quartz Calibre 1062 and the black side with subsidiary seconds on the dial, Swiss Ronda Quartz Calibre 1064.
Both are Slimtec movements, at only 1.9mm in thickness and both have a battery life of up to 6 years.
The bracelet is in brushed stainless steel and integrated into the case, with a fairly unique design of elongated polished hexagons up the centre, connected by squat H structures.
It is fastened and opened with a pusher deployment clasp, which closes neatly with the brand’s “N” icon across the centre.
The NOVE Gemini symbolises the celestial twins of the Zodiac – do you even know what that means? Most of us gaze to the stars, but I don’t know many astronomers, or even those that would profess to have any deeper knowledge of astrology.
A constellation of stars is a group of stars that when looked at together, appear to form a shape of something and has been given a specific name to represent it.
The constellation of Gemini is made up of two twins: Castor and Pollux, who were figures from Greek and Roman mythology, said to be the sons of Zeus and Jupiter. Being identical twins, Castor and Pollux were inseparable in both their looks and actions; Castor was known to be a great horseman and Pollux was an esteemed fighter. Castor was killed in battle and Pollux convinced Zeus to resurrect him – Zeus agreed to immortalize both Castor and Pollux, if they spend half of their time on the Earth and the other half amongst the stars.
Historically, when sailors saw these two stars together, they knew their journey would be prosperous and seeing just one star, meant potential bad luck.
This is the story behind Gemini and it is (certainly for me anyway) clearer what the relevance of Gemini has as a name for this particular dual faced watch!
When I first opened the NOVE Gemini, I was very surprised by the size – it really is a big looking watch and lifting it out of its case, it has a considerable weight to it too.
On first sight, I couldn’t help thinking of Graham 1965 and the trigger on their Chonofighters; whilst the design, mechanism and purpose of the gears and lever are completely different, the idea of having the lever that pulls out has some vague similarities.
Overall, I quite like the simplicity of design and clean looking dials and the idea of being able to swap dials over within a couple of seconds is pretty neat. The fact there are 2 movements also seems useful, as being able to swap between time zones can be useful.
On the wrist, the size of the case appears to reduce somewhat and with the dial having a diameter of only 31mm, it doesn’t look too big. The gears do add another 10mm at the top of the watch and at 13.35mm thick added to the somewhat cumbersome shape to the gears and mechanism, I’m not sure it’s going under many cuffs – I think you’re either in a T-shirt, or it’s out on show all the time.
With regards to negatives, the only thing I noticed specifically is that the bracelet sounds a bit “plasticy/rattly”, both when putting the watch on and when moving the hand/wrist around. Not too sure what causes this, as the strap does appear to be all metal and the pins for changing links are also metal. Maybe it’s just my acute sense of hearing!
NOVE considers themselves a boutique watchmaker of Swiss Made Watches – this rings true when considering that the NOVE Gemini is constructed with over 180 individual parts and components that are polished, finished and assembled by hand. The fact that each watch is hand made by expert craftsmen and comes with quality control assurance and a 3 year warranty, gives the impression that the NOVE Gemini is great value for money..
With a price tag of only 880 USD and with only 500 pieces being made, I am actually quite surprised it’s not sold out already, but I suppose the hardest part about being a microbrand is being noticed amongst all the others popping up every other week.
I will be keeping an eye on what comes next from NOVE, as I find their approach to design and the possible applications of a watch, very intriguing indeed.