The Nautilus Chronometer

Thomas Mercer movement Calibre TN3003.

EACH year in the first quarter of the year a crop of new time pieces, watches and clocks appear.

All represent collaborations of great talents. Individuals and teams of artists, engineers and designers across a spectrum of specialties who present the results of their work. This year as every year a singular and unique creation has appeared and is named the Nautilus. Described as a horological sculpture fusing design and astronomical timekeeping, the Nautilus is striking visually a monumental sculpture weighing in at 105 kilos overall.

An international team came together to craft and create the Nautilus. Drawing inspiration both from the sea, the shell of the Nautilus mollusc and from the medieval mathematician Fibonacci and his description of the Fibonacci spiral. The curve of the form follows the golden ratio with the curvature of the spiral formed in crystal spirals out from the intricate clock face. The word Nautilus is derived from the Latin form of the ancient Greek ναυτίλος (nautilos) meaning sailor. The species nautilus, a type of mollusc, has survived for literally millions of years. So that the Sea, Nature and pure mathematics are represented in the proportions of this time piece.

The collaborators in this unique project comprised Winch Design one of Britain’s most renowned superyacht design studios and creative Director and founder Andrew Winch, Thomas Mercer Chronometers established in London in 1858 a name closely associated with the marine chronometer and led by Alessandro Quintavalle, together with the world renowned Crystal Caviar of the Czech Republic led by founder Marek Landa.

Andrew Winch explained, “It has been a great privilege to collaborate with Thomas Mercer on this unique timepiece. Time remains to me the ultimate luxury, and Nautilus not only embodies this, but also reflects Winch Design’s commitment to precision, expertise and beauty, but above all our love of the ocean.” The monumental piece is a sculpture of fine Bohemian crystal a signature of Crystal Caviar.

A kiln cast glass sculpture created in the Czech Republic; measuring 82x61x15 centimetres and weighs 105 kilos including the steel base and chronometer movement, was crafted by the hands of impeccably skilled artisans. During the design process the material for the sculpture was modified and moved from carved timber to crystal. Crystal brought light and transparency to the clock, its deep and complex blue hues create an illusion of gazing through the ocean itself. Commented Marek Landa, “ We are delighted to be involved with such prestigious houses as Winch Design and Thomas Mercer. The shell of the Nautilus is an incredible piece of art per se, and it’s a privilege to lend our expertise to make this dream a reality.

With its fantastic colours and reflections, Bohemian crystal is also the prefect material to enhance the Nautilus’ incredibly sophisticated movement and actually transform this object into an horological sculpture.” The third member of the triumvirate is Italian Alessandro Quintavalle, Thomas Mercer’s managing director who added, “It is truly an honour to collaborate again with a world calls name such as Winch Design. Following on from the incomparable Classis marine chronometer, we are proud to broaden our horizons and launch the Nautilus, a masterpiece drawing from Winch Design’s unique expertise in interior design and their holistic approach comprising yachts, residences and aircrafts. Embodying their ethos of beauty, uniqueness and perfect proportion, the Nautilus transcends the boundaries of clockmaking, elevating itself to the class of horological sculpture.”

A visual and mechanical feat, the mechanism of the Nautilus belongs to the exclusive family of astronomical movements, featuring a perpetual calendar which displays date of the month, month, leap year. It also indicates the equation of time, which represents the difference between solar time – which varies throughout the year as the earth nears or distances itself from the sun – and our 24-hours-per-day time, based on the worldwide consensus that every day should have the same duration. In addition to the zodiac, the celestial coordinates are completed with a magnificent 3-D moon sphere providing the different phases, combined with a moon age display showing – within the lunation cycle of 29 days, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds – the time elapsed since the last new moon.

The Nautilus is conceived as the ultimate statement piece for superyacht, villa or palace. Intended to be shown off and admired. Lose all sense of time as you gaze into the blue crystal, this masterpiece will be displayed at the flagship shop of Pisa Orologeria on Via Montenapoleone, Milan, Italy.

Nick Horne, London, England

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Nick Horne