A Wankle Movement Timepiece by C3H5N3O9 – The ZR012
C3H5N3O9 is a new company/marque created by the conglomeration of Felix Baumgartner & Martin Frei of URWERK and Max Büsser & Serge Kriknoff of MB&F with the sole purpose of experimenting with different and more far fetched ideas, concepts and creations without imposing on their respective brands. It’s not often we see such a collaboration between competing watchmakers, but the outcome of this collaboration may mean its the way forward for maybe some other luxury brands that want to push the boat out and try something new without detriment to their own brand.
Yes it may be a costly excercise to launch a new brand just for concepts and ideas, but its minute compared to the cost it could have by derailing an existing well known and reputable high end luxury brand. Don’t forget the costs of designing, engineering and creating the timepieces would be the same under the brand name or new company so the only additional costs are brand marketing and awareness, which can be high but again C3H5N3O9 have also taken a new stance on this too, by simply setting up a website, utilising their existing teams I assume and then touting the watch out to a number of their contacts within the watch world and watch writing world. Then they sit back and watch it roll…..
So is this the way forward for high end Swiss Marque’s or is this just the boys of MB&F and URWERK Experimenting…
So C3H5N3O9 was born (Oh the name is the chemical make up of nitroglycerin) and the result has been the Experiment ZR012 and RG012, both the same model with the only differential being the material used for the case ZR being zirconium and RG being 18k Red Gold, and yes they call the watches Experiment ZR012 nad Excperiment RG012.
Experiment ZR012 by C3H5N3O9 features Wankel engine (most popularly known for its use in the Mazda RX8) inspired hour and minute indications in an asymmetrical zirconium case with articulated and compound lugs. As can be seen the watch has taken influences from both marques, we see elements of both brands in both the case and movement.
The press release says “At first glance the time appears to be indicated by centrally rotating triangular rotors; however, the triangles are actually Reuleaux polygons; they rotate eccentrically rather than centrally and track complex epitrochroid curves rather than circles. The system was inspired by the Wankel engine, which features orbital Reuleaux polygon rotors rather than the reciprocating pistons that power the majority of our cars and machines today.”
In laymen’s terms you can read the hours using the lower red marker with markings between 0 and 12 and minutes on the smaller and upper red marker on the two triangularish shaped cogs or discs, with marking 0 to 60 and individual minute markers inbetween. The photo below shows the time as 8.28
As we understand it the movement was the brain child of the URWERK part of the collaboration, as they had the wankle concept sitting on the drawing board without taking it further, which they have done in the ZR012 this C3H5N3O9 initial offering.
As for the case a little space agey maybe, well this was the MB&F concept with independent designer Eric Giroud, It is 55mm long, 44mm wide and 17mm deep, throwing in the lugs it is 75mm long, 47mm wide and 25mm deep. The lugs are articulated at the front and compound on the rear to wrap ergonomically around the wrist and ensure a greater comfort level on the wrist.
Moving onto the caseback we have a power reserve indicator which adds to the llok and feel of the timepiece. The movement is manually wound and has a 39 hour power reserve. We also see a large screw down crown present for the watches winding and time setting as normal.
Are we seeing a new luxury brand in the watchmaking fraternity or is this just an Experiment of grand scales….
Both parties state that “C3H5N3O9 is an experimental platform, not a luxury brand”.
For those interested the ZR012 and Rg012 are available direct from C3H5N3O9 and are being made in limited editions of 12 pieces each at a price of 110,000 Swiss Francs, thats approx. £72,500 GBP and $115,000 USD. To order you need to place a 33,000 Swiss Franc Deposit. For more info why not visit the C3H5N3O9 website
C3H5N3O9 Experiment ZR012 – Technical Details
Experiment ZR012 is an edition of 12 pieces in zirconium
Hours and minutes are indicated by two Wankel engine inspired Reuleaux polygon rotors tracing epitrochoid curves
Dimensions without lugs: 55mm x 44mm
Case and lugs: Zirconium case with titanium lugs
Number of case components: 60
Compound front lug, articulated rear lug
Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment both side
Water resistance: 30m – 100’ – 3atm
Strap and buckle: Brown calf leather strap. Titanium and white gold folding buckle.
Movement dimensions: 32.65mm x: 41.35mm: 11.55 mm
Number of components: 328
Number of jewels: 42
Power reserve: 39h
Balance frequency: 28’800
Finishing: satin finishing, sandblasted, circular graining on movement, black PVD treated components, black ruthenium treated components
Number of plots to create epitrochoids for hours and minutes: 180
Tolerance between hour and minute indication rotors and inside of epitrochoids: 0.20mm