Pocket watch: the next generation

THOUGHT the pocket watch was a gadget relegated to history? Think again. Of late two of the most cutting edge Swiss watch companies have announced new pieces designed to be worn on a chain rather than on the wrist.

The first, by Urwerk (www.urwerk.com), a brand that specialises in futuristic timepieces that bear only the slightest relationship to our traditional notions of what watches should look like, is an object at the most extreme end of horological design. Titled the Zeit Device Uber Complication, it looks like something from far into the future – and indeed, it’s designed to still be running in a thousand years, and has a millennial indicator just to point this out. To ensure it gets there, it’s also got an oil change indicator to remind you to send it back to Urwerk for a five yearly service.

Above and beyond that, there’s a whole host of functions and complications squeezed into the titanimum-aluminium alloy case. These include the Urwerk’s highly-innovative revolving calendar and revolving hour display, which is fixed to a retrograde minute hand. While there’s no word on the price as yet, expect it to be astronomical, as this is just about as advanced a mechanically-powered timepiece as can be found. Urwerk is only going to make eight Zeit Devices, so potential owners are rather more likely to keep them stored in their most secure safes rather than in their pocket.

More likely to be worn on a chain with a smart three-piece suit is this retrotastic pocket watch, the PW1, newly released by Bell & Ross (www.bellross.com) a company ironically known for its highly contemporary aviation watches. This year Bell & Ross has gone on a vintage tip with watches inspired by World War I pilots, including this little beauty.

For more on cutting-edge watches, see the next edition of the City A.M. watch supplement, London Time, on Friday 30 September.