Reference 2941. Monopusher split-seconds chronograph with jumping minute counter.
The second chapter in the unfurling story of the watchmaking duo of Gaël Petermann & Florian Bédat is a monument to fine mechanics (339 components) built on a unique, elaborate aesthetic, a bridge between classical watchmaking and a contemporary spirit.
The case, made of platinum, has been entirely redesigned, recomposed, with individually soldered, stepped lugs; classic and elegant in its finishes and size (38.6 millimeters), it is resolutely contemporary in its logic and design. An authentic work of the 21st century, every detail affirms its origin: carved with a CNC machine with the intention, guided by designer Barth Nussbaumer (Barth.studio), of “tapping the full potential of advanced technology”.
The dial, too, is all about subtle brilliance. Rich in materials and textures for its finishes, it echoes the Gaël Petermann & Florian Bédat signature that became evident with their first creation, reference 1967. Here, the semi-open structure, deliberately emphasizing the dramatic arc between technique and aesthetics, underpins the entire design of the 2941.
For Gaël Petermann & Florian Bédat, complexity is never an end in itself. And yet, their 2941 is in itself an achievement, with a level of complexity that reaches far beyond the design of a traditional chronograph; it propels the small artisanal workshop in Renens into the rarefied circle of prestigious Manufactures, in Geneva or Glashütte.
To the basic column chronograph, the two watchmakers have added a split-second function. Allowing for two intervals of time that begin at the same instant to be measured in parallel, it is particularly challenging to design, construct and adjust. The 2941 takes the exercise a leap further with an additional safety that effectively prevents an unintentional reset of the stopwatch.
Another engineering jewel has been added for good measure: a jumping minute counter. A complication first presented in wristwatches about thirty years ago by German watchmaker Lange & Söhne, it testifies to great savoir-faire and dexterity; it is quite rare and reserved for collector pieces. And there was no way around it for Gaël Petermann & Florian Bédat, who had made this promise: “If we ever make our own chronograph, it will have a jumping instantaneous minute counter.”
One element was non-negotiable: the chronograph had to be a single-pusher. “This was primarily a question of aesthetic balance,” explain the watchmakers, who did not want to the case to look too busy with two additional pushers on the right.
It is on this conceptual foundation that all the elements are placed in relation to each other, achieving the balance between technology and aesthetics. Take the split-second function, which was placed on the dial side. This has two advantages: better mechanical reliability and no constraints in placing the split-seconds pusher on the case middle – here, it is situated at 10 o'clock.
This aesthetic sensibility is further evidenced in the architecture of the movement, which is visible through the display caseback. An eight-handed symphony, written component by component, conducted by Gaël Petermann & Florian Bédat in their exchanges with the manufacturer and the designer. There is an underlying theme: to make the high technicality visible, but without overloading the composition.
The two watchmakers set out from their shared point of reference: the pocket watch. The challenge was to render the richness of the finishes and the breathing space between the bridges and the functions, which become possible in a pocket watch, within the restricted confines of a wristwatch. With great care they succeeded in recapturing this spirit, by highlighting certain functions, be it through the design of the springs and toggles, through the contrast of satin-brushed and polished surfaces, and tucking others under the bridges.
The result is both lyrical and restrained, rich and legible. German rigor with a touch of Latin leggerezza.
One last point: the reference, 2941. There is more to it than meets the eye; it was chosen for a very precise reason, of course. And to find the answer... well, you will have to keep guessing because the watchmakers, dexterous of hand and sharp of mind, prefer to keep their lips sealed.