Providing eloquent proof that strong concepts give rise to excellent variations on a theme, the Project Z3 is a fascinating new addition to the range of expression of the concept. A real innovation available in two versions– the Vintage Spirit and the Sports Spirit – both housing an automatic tourbillon movement with hour/minute display offset at 12 o'clock, developed by Peter Speake-Marin. Based on the shores of Lac Léman, this youthful British master-watchmaker has already cooperated with Harry Winston, most notably in developing the Excenter Tourbillon (mechanical hand wounding). A specialist of complicated movements, he is known for his expertise and his flair for finishing details.
THE VINTAGE SPIRIT
This elegant and sophisticated watch fully deserves its name. It illustrates the Harry Winston designers' enduring love for rare and finely crafted objects – and in this case, for the grand luxury sports cars that distinguished themselves during the heyday of the English automobile industry in the first half of the 20th century. The decorative motif on the steel-coloured dial is directly inspired by the dashboards of vintage English cars: engine-turned or circular-grained – the latter being a finish usually reserved for the movement. The “vintage” character of this version is reinforced by the petroleum blue colour of the hour numerals, the hands and the two screws on either side of the tourbillon carriage. Another noteworthy detail is the strap, crafted from truly unique black alligator leather which has been given a special patina and features a petroleum blue back echoing the dial indications.
THE MOVEMENT: AN AUTOMATIC TOURBILLON MARVEL
One of the finest horological complications that also embodies a brilliant demonstration of technical know-how – the tourbillon – beats at the heart of the zalium case crafted by Harry Winston.
Tourbillons are generally fitted on mechanical hand-wound movements. The movement of the Tourbillon Z3 is automatic thus classifying it as an ideal sport watch to accompany an active lifestyle and accommodate daily wear.
This exceptional timepiece is endowed with two original characteristics.
The first is both small and discreet. To grasp its importance, one must remember that the Z3 has a 110-hour power reserve (equivalent to almost 5 full days). Here again, Peter Speake-Marin has drawn inspiration from the simple mechanism appearing on the dashboard of certain English collector's cars: a “warning” enabling the driver to know when it was time to stop at the petrol pump. In the case of the Z3, in order to warn the wearer that it is time to rewind his watch, this warning is placed at 6 o'clock on the hour-minute dial, meaning near the dial centre: engraved on a sapphire crystal, the black HW logo “turns” electric blue 25 hours prior to the state of complete unwinding.
The second characteristic has only thus far been used on the world's most complicated watches: the carriage rotation system is located inside the carriage itself, thereby providing this micro-mechanical marvel with greater shock-resistance and enhanced regularity. This regularity is reinforced by a higher than average cadence of 28,800 vibrations per hour, ensuring a superlative degree of precision.
The transparent case-back enables one to admire the movement in all its intricacy, particularly the oscillating weight with its Z-shaped cut-out that emphasizes the unique character of the model.
A rare watch by nature, the Z3 is equally rare in terms of production, since it is issued in a limited and one shot series of 50 pieces per version.