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By Kristen Shirley | March 22 2019
The jump-hour watch often removes the hour hand and displays the hour through an aperture. In ladies’ timepieces, this gives watchmakers more room on the dial to showcase their jewelry artistry and creatively display the minutes.
They are also technical masterpieces: As the minutes approach 60, power builds up to make the movement’s hour disc jump to the next, and it must stop at precisely the right place to be sure it is perfectly positioned within the aperture, all without losing accuracy.
Here, Elite Traveler selects three jump-hour watches notable for their opulence, their design and their quality.
Combining high jewelry with high complications so effortlessly could only be achieved by a handful of houses, including Bulgari, whose watches continually break world records and whose high jewelry features significant gemstones and difficult techniques. The Berries watch combines jumping hours with retrograde minutes. The top portion of the case swirls down into the dial, encircling the hour aperture with raised gold and colored gemstones, including tourmaline, emerald, sapphire, ruby and amethyst. Below, the retrograde minutes sit on a snow-set diamond dial with ruby indexes. The blued minute hand moves from 0 to 60 as the hour progresses, and exactly when the hour changes, two things happen simultaneously: The hour disc jumps to the following hour and the minute hand instantly swings back to 0, faster than the eye can detect.
By appointment, contact Anita Paredes, +1 800 285 4274, bulgari.com
Corum might be best known for its vertical movement, the Golden Bridge. Now, it takes its unique sensibility to a new ladies’ collection, Eleganza. It still displays time in a vertical fashion, but using an automatic movement with jumping hours and two subdials rather than a manual, rectangular movement. On the dial, there is a jump-hour aperture within a minute subdial at 12 o’clock. At 6 o’clock, there is a second subdial surrounded by blue sapphires. The tanzanite dial is accented by a bezel set with 11.74 carats blue sapphires, making it seem more like a bracelet. Fittingly, it’s available in an array of colors, ranging from pale pink and lavender to bold blues and purples, and each color is limited to eight to 18 pieces.
Debuting a new in-house caliber and a new complication is always exciting for a brand — even more so when it debuts in a ladies’ collection. For its first jump-hour watch, Hysek removed not just the hour hand, but also the minute hand. With a nearly blank canvas and no height limit (on a traditional watch, any appliqué must be low enough for the hands to travel above it), its artisans were able to play with depth. The beautiful white dial showcases an appliqué butterfly fluttering above a floral motif. At 12 o’clock, there is an aperture for the hours, and the minutes are read by a marquise-cut pink sapphire that moves around the bezel. Both the 18K rose gold butterfly and bezel are snow-set with diamonds, which accentuates the pure white dial and strap. Conveniently, the strap can be changed at home without tools, and the movement is automatic.
OJ Perrin in Paris, +33 145 018 888, hysek.com
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Elite Traveler.