The Swiss brand, which is mostly known for the flashy, yet affordable mechanical and quartz timepieces, has recently started selling the new self-winding Edox Cape Horn 5 Minute Repeater Skeleton (ref. 87003 3 AID).
Delivering you one of the Big Three (the other two being mechanical alarm and tourbillon, although that, too, is often a subject of heated debates) complications that pave the way to the world of High Horology, the Cape Horn 5 Minute Repeater looks like one of the most intriguing offerings from the Swiss company.
Besides the awkward look, the watch also sports an interesting Edox 87 automatic movement that, nevertheless, arouses some questions.
As far as I understand, the base movement behind the Edox 87 is the good old ETA 2892-A2 self-winding ebauche with a DD 87 5-minute repeater module made by Dubois-Depraz.
The module in question uses a pair of hammers that chime two tones to indicate the time.
I also understand, however, that the movement is not new: it was developed and manufactured around 25 years ago with the whole lot sold exclusively to the Swiss watchmaker Kelek.
After Breitling purchased and subsequently fully absorbed the complications specialist, all unused movements were sold to Kelek’s distributor Nivrel as “new old stock” calibers.
Guys at Nivrel followed the standard procedure: they took the movements apart, skeletonized them, added some guilloche work that was hand-made on a rose machine, and put it inside their own 5-minute repeater that was offered at least in two different cases.
Probably, they, too, had some difficulties using the whole batch of the modified movements since now they seem to be purchased by Edox.
At least, judging by the press photos that were recently distributed by the Swiss brand, the calibers that they used in their Cape Horn model are practically identical to the ones used by Nivrel.
As I have already noted, the movement is installed inside a modern-looking case.
Whole 45 millimeters in diameter, the case is an almost identical (albeit smaller) version of the bodies used for their Grand Ocean series of maritime-inspired timekeepers.
With its notched, mirror-polished bezel and luminous hour markers, the watch looks even more unbalanced than the last year’s Audemars Piguet Openworked Self-Winding Royal Oak. Say, like a Lamborghini kitchen in a Provence-style rural home.
Frankly speaking, I don’t understand why they didn’t use the movement in their classic-looking Les Vauberts series.
The ref. 87003 3 AID arrives in a surprisingly small lot of only 30 pieces (perhaps limited by the number of calibers that Edox was able to obtain), each bearing a special number plate on the side of the dial.
To make operating the watch easier, there is a setting/winding crown at 4 hours and a minute repeater push-piece at 8 o’clock.
Although the movement is extensively decorated on both sides, only the front part is clearly visible. The rear part is hidden behind a sold case-back that has only one, relatively small, porthole-styled cutout to provide a view of the balance wheel that beats at a standard frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Edox Cape Horn 5 Minute Repeater Skeleton 87003 3 AID specification
Price: $24,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber Edox 87, based on ETA 2892-A2 with Dubois-Depraz DD 87 add-on module, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Extensively skeletonized, engraved
Functions: Hours, minutes, minute repeater
Power reserve: 38 hours
Case material: 316L high-grade Stainless steel
Size: 45.00 mm
Case height: 15.40 mm
Dial: Transparent, skeletonized
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Genuine black leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Solid, transparent porthole on the back