The captivating tale of the Harry Winston Opus V begins with the visionary leadership of Max Büsser during his tenure at Harry Winston's 'Rare Timepieces' division. What unfolded was beyond the anticipation of the horological world, as this eventually evolved into the birthplace of some of the most extraordinary and impactful watch designs over the past couple of decades, collectively known and celebrated as the Opus collection.
For those who do not know, the Opus collection revolved around collaborations between Harry Winston and renowned independent watchmakers. These collaborations were fueled by a shared passion for crafting unconventional and creatively inspired designs for the brand. Within this distinguished collection stands the Harry Winston Opus V, a timepiece we are pleased to offer here.
The Opus V is truly a masterpiece, as there is simply nothing quite like it when it first came out in 2005. The genesis of this groundbreaking collaboration dates back to Baselworld 2003 when Max Büsser crossed paths with Felix Baumgartner, an up-and-coming watch designer (and co-founder of Urwerk), showcasing his latest creation at the time - the Urwerk UR-103, featuring a revolutionary satellite display indication, which laid the foundation for the concept of the Opus V.
The example we have on offer today is encased within a hefty platinum case with a radically unusual construction. While incorporating certain classic design elements (i.e. the tri-fluted mounting case bands) reminiscent of earlier Opus references, the Opus V introduces a distinctive feature where the winding crown is seemingly hidden and guarded by a portion of the case that unfolds upwards (and outwards) akin to the door of a sports car. As a bonus, this unique feature extends beyond the timepiece itself and is mirrored in the presentation box. Much like the watch, the box also opens similarly, offering users a unique unboxing experience.
Moving on to the dial, the Opus V seamlessly integrates some of the earliest hallmarks of Urwerk's iconic 'satellite display' DNA. It presents a mesmerizing visual spectacle to observe, featuring three miniature cubes, each adorned with four numbers arranged like satellites in a three-dimensional rotating orbit axis. This intricate mechanism turns and revolves dynamically to showcase the current hour, complemented by a retractable minute pointer gracefully moving over a 120-degree graduated scale and ‘jumping’ back to the ‘0’ minute mark as each hour passes. There is also a power reserve indication at 11 o ‘clock and a day/night indicator at 7 o ‘clock.
Powering this complexity from within is Harry Winston’s manual-winding Cal. HW1026 which is crafted out of ARCAP alloy, a copper-nickel-zinc alloy known for its corrosion resistance properties. It also holds a capacity of a whopping 122 hours in power reserve. Crazy stuff, I know.
In addition to this, Felix also designed and incorporated a ‘service indicator’, a world first in a wristwatch. Discreetly placed on the caseback, this indicator serves to notify the user about the impending need for maintenance. Adjacent to this, also on the caseback, an index adjustment screw is strategically placed, allowing precise calibration of the calibre's beat rate.
Limited to a production run of a mere 45 pieces, the Opus V stands as a highly coveted gem in the world of independent watchmaking. However, due to its horological importance, it is often only kept within the safes of collectors, rarely finding its way to any public sale. Moreover, the Opus V also marks the final creation within the Opus collection under the management of Max Büsser, who left Harry Winston in 2005 to establish his eponymous brand MB&F.
For those in search of something genuinely avant-garde and horologically significant, your quest ends here. How often do you come across the chance to possess an important piece of horological history, not to mention a work of art, co-created by two of the most brilliant luminaries in the world of independent watchmaking? This is simply an opportunity not to be missed.