AGENHOR ~ HEAD Genève
Unique Clock for ONLY WATCH 2017
Brimming With Emotion
- A first for Only Watch : a unique horological undertaking. Not a wristwatch, but rather a miniature table clock, produced by a firm that does not have its own brand.
- A first for Agenhor, too: never before has the Geneva workshop come up with a watchmaking concept in its own name, and it’s not going to be happening again.
- Carpe Diem was developed thanks to the passionate involvement of students from HEAD.
- The movement for this unique piece is the AgenGraphe®, the first contemporary automatic chronograph in the world to use central hands to display all its indications. Here, for the first – and last – time, it features a display using concentric discs. Housed in a transparent sphere, the movement – including the rim – is here revealed in its entirety.
“ So much determination; such depth of feeling “
That’s how Jean-Marc Wiederrecht described the Carpe Diem project, presented under the Agenhor name at Only Watch 2017. And that, basically, is all you need to know to grasp the measure of just how special Carpe Diem is. The piece is a state-of-the-art creation by Agenhor established by Catherine and Jean-Marc Wiederrecht in 1996. The firm produces numerous “complications” for a range of major watchmaking brands, including Hermès, Harry Winston, MB&F, Van Cleef & Arpels, Fabergé, and many others. The fact that Carpe Diem has been announced under Agenhor’s own name, rather than one of its client brands, is thus a world exclusive.
Emotion is What it’s All About
What characterizes the piece above all, though, is emotion. The allusions to Duchenne muscular dystrophy are discreet, subtle – and omnipresent. The heart of Carpe Diem is the most important part of the piece – just as the heart is a child’s most important organ, beating in much the same way as the watch movement, located right in the heart of the piece, marks out the time.
To keep it safe, two students from the Geneva University of Art and Design (Haute École d’Art
et de Design Genève, HEAD) devised a sphere to magnify it – literally – together with its protective case. Concealing nothing, the sphere nevertheless protects everything and keeps the vibrant heart of the piece safe. Indeed, the heart of Carpe Diem is every bit as unique as that of any child or other living being. It’s a very special version of Agenhor’s AgenGraphe®, itself in its infancy after first being unveiled last February. Just like every living creature, the movement is one of a kind – Agenhor will never make another one exactly like it.
“We saw unprecedented commitment by the students and their teacher from HEAD’s second-year jewelry class,” explains Agenhor founder Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. “Emotion was at the heart of all their labors. All we did was supply the movement in question – they took it all from there. The students made seven proposals in total, all of them extremely well put together, but Carpe Diem designed and presented by Bérénice Noël and Florian Wicki stood out because of its emotional power, simplicity, and self-evidence.”
In addition to paying homage to the victims of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Carpe Diem is above all an ode to life. The beating heart of the piece is protected from all ills for eternity, even if there were to be nothing left around it. It beats – and will keep on beating forever.
On the upper side of the caliber, the AgenGraphe®’s hour circle has been deliberately sand-blasted to conceal almost the entire circumference. A small segment remains fully transparent, revealing the display. What’s gone before and what is yet to come are of no concern: Carpe Diem is an invitation to make the most of the present moment – fleeting yet real.
The Finest Expression of The AgenGraphe®
On the technical side, the piece is not really a watch, simply the unfettered AgenGraphe® movement. First unveiled last February, this is the first modern chronograph to feature concentric markings, addressing the need for optimum readability. Indeed, while readability is a vital characteristic for any chronograph, it has somehow been pushed aside in favor of secondary counters – all too often unreadable – for the past century or more.
In fact, this annular movement is not so much a new development in chronographs, but a revolution in every sense of the term: a unique development that starts again from scratch, rein-
venting the entire concept of this complication. Made up of 488 components in all, it is one of the very few calibers to have been entirely developed by Agenhor – and the firm’s very first chronograph.
“We could not be present at Only Watch as a watch brand, but the idea of making a gift out of our AgenGraphe®, specially modified for the occasion, soon emerged as the natural thing to do. Life is all about movement and needs to be protected – and that’s what this sphere and its protective showcase are designed to symbolize. Only Watch is all about that too. The movement is perpetual – just as the heart of those we love beat forever in our own,” concludes Jean-Marc Wiederrecht.
Carpe Diem – The Details
Agenhor’s Carpe Diem is a perfect sphere consisting of three parts, all made of Plexiglas: top and bottom hemispheres and, in the center, a disc. The use of the same material throughout makes it almost impossible to see where one part ends and another begins, as though the sphere had been sculpted from a solid block.
The AgenGraphe® movement lies at the very heart of this sphere. The absence of a case as such highlights the movement’s intrinsic beauty, as well as its craftsmanship – everything one would expect in terms of the top-level watchmaking ethos and tradition that Agenhor brings to bear for all its calibers. This design results in a truly arresting effect: the surrounding Plexiglas sphere, 84 millimeters in diameter, acts as a magnifying glass, enlarging the AgenGraphe®
so that it appears approximately 1.6 times larger than its actual size.
The result is an unprecedented view of all 488 parts of the movement in the most intimate detail. The meticulous work of the watchmaker is revealed, magnified and displayed with a sense of immediacy – literally, ‘without mediation’ – since the magnifying glass is itself part of the surround; it’s a watchmaking first.
The words “Carpe Diem” – “Agenhor – HEAD Genève”, “Only Watch 2017” and “Pièce Unique” (‘Unique Piece’) are engraved on the barrel bridge. The same engravings feature on the edge of the hour ring, rotating with the passing hours and visible through the transparent section of the
sphere. Elongated rods, specially designed for the piece, allow the chronograph’s Start/Stop and Reset pushers, as well as the crown for winding and setting the movement, to be located outside the sphere itself.
Five rotating discs display the chronograph’s time, with the hours read off through the sphere’s transparent section – the remainder concealed by the sand-blasted outer finish.
A protective brushed aluminum case complete with delicate lining has also been specially designed for Carpe Diem. Two windows located in the top and bottom parts of the case allow the hour markers to be read off on one side and the movement to be observed from the other, without having to open it. Once open, the base of the case and the sphere, resting on the lining, sitting atop the upper section of the case to create a display for all to see in all its glory – and allow the chronograph functions to be used to the full.
Founded in 1996 by Catherine and Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, later joined by their two sons Nicolas and Laurent, Agenhor is devoted to the design, construction, assembly, and finishing of complications, modules, and movements for watchmaking. Over the years, the company has established an international reputation. The workshop combines contemporary technology
and respect for the craft’s traditional expertise. Leading names in watchmaking turn to Agenhor to implement their developments and produce their horological complications. Many of these have won prestigious honors, including seven GPHG Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève awards, for Agenhor and its client brands.
About Only Watch
Only Watch is a charity watch auction that raises funds to combat Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It is held every two years by Luc Pettavino, the founder of Only Watch and president of Association Monégasque contre les myopathies. This year’s auction will be held in Geneva on November 11th.
On each occasion, Only Watch brings together a collection of horological pieces, all of them unique creative designs donated by the world’s leading watchmakers. The first edition took place in 2005. Since then, Only Watch has brought in over €25 million for the cause.
HEAD, the Geneva University of Art and Design, came into existence in 2006 through the merger of two two-hundred-year-old schools, École supérieure des Beaux-arts and Haute École d’Arts
appliqués. It provides Bachelors and Masters degrees in Visual Arts, Cinema, Space and Communication, Visual Communication, and Fashion, Jewelry, and Accessory Design.
AGENHOR MEDIA CONTACT Asta Ponzo firstname.lastname@example.org +41 79 961 85 66
Jean-Marc, Catherine, Nicolas and Laurent Wiederrecht wish to thank all the people and companies whose magnificent work,
provided free of charge, has added a link to the chain of solidarity of which Carpe Diem is the end result.
Very special thanks to:
Bérénice Noël and Florian Wicki, the two second-year students at HEAD, whose design has been selected for the final piece.
Valérie Ursenbacher and Serena Trabalza, teachers at HEAD
who assisted the students in bringing the concept of the miniature clock and its protective case to life.
Thanks are also due to the following firms:
TECHNEW for the case, CLAMAX for the sphere, the discs, and other hardware;
GDG for the engravings and decorations and of course all the staff at Agenhor, especially Mr. Guy Dubois-Ferrière.