Did you know that Steinway & Sons, the maker of expensive musical instruments, also has a division that makes watches? Me neither, but it didn’t stop them from introducing a limited-edition version of the Seconde Metronomique model that features a unique “metronome” seconds hand complication. Besides the flashy complication, the watch also sports an interesting stainless steel body, which is not only peculiarly shaped but is also quite thin thanks to a hand-wound caliber that powers the gadget.
Steinway & Sons, which is ahem mostly known for its high-end pianos, dived into the watch business only two years ago. To create their first collection, they hired a Swiss-based industrial designer Fabrizio Cavalca, who, inspired by the sensual curves of the musical instrument, created the easily recognizable case for the new luxury timekeepers.
At this time, Steinway & Sons Luxury Swiss Watches offers three collections, all of them featuring the same elegant and simple body.
While the “M Collection” model with its 12 strings on the dial looks the most original, the C Seconde Metronomique Collection series is the most interesting from the technical point of view.
Unfortunately, I failed to find any reliable information regarding the “Steinway caliber C60” that powers the piece. However, judging by the official description of the caliber (it is built on 19 rubies, beats at 21,600 vph, is manual-wound and has a power reserve of 38 hours) I can assume that it is a pretty old ETA 2512 base caliber with Steinway’s metronome seconds complication.
By the way, the complication is the main reason to buy this model. What’s interesting about this thing, is that it was long deemed technically impossible to create a retrograde second hand that would beat at a frequency of 60hz: the complication would demand just too much power to throw the hand back and forth and back again.
To overcome this problem, the Swiss master-watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (the one who, together with Roger Dubuis, invented and patented the retrograde indicator complication, which is now widely used throughout the industry) decided to use an optical illusion. He took a pair of three-armed second hands, put them on the same axis and forced them to rotate in opposite directions –one clockwise and the other — counterclockwise– at the same speed.
Since the rotation of hands is visible only through a tiny display window at 6 o’clock, there is a perfect illusion of the same second hand moving every second back and fro, like a tiny metronome. Perfect!
As usual, the Seconde Metronomique will be issued as a limited edition. There will be only three hundred pieces: a 100 in rose gold, a 100 in yellow gold and a 100 in white gold.
Photos: Steinway & Sons
Steinway & Sons Seconde Metronomique Limited Edition specification
Movement: Caliber C 60, hand-wound, 19 jewels, 21,600 vph, Swiss Made
Complications: Metronome second hand
Power reserve: 38 hours
Case: 18-karat Rose gold, Yellow gold, or White gold
Dimensions: 43.7 x 26.0 mm
Height: 10.0 mm
Dial: White gold, black or white enameled
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Calibrated Louisiana alligator leather strap with custom solid buckle complimenting case shape
Crystal: Sapphire, domed