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Harry Winston Project Z14
The Harry Winston Project Z14 is the latest creation from the über-luxurious brand, much beloved by royalty and stars of the silver screen. It is presented in a 42.2mm case formed of Zalium, a strong, corrosion-resistant, lightweight alloy. The model features an off-centre hour and minutes display and includes a retrograde seconds display.
Harry Winston founded his eponymous brand in 1932. He was an accomplished gemologist and an astute businessman. His firm became known for working with incredible precious stones, such as the Jonker diamond (726 carats), as well as making remarkable jewellery much beloved by royalty and stars of the silver screen.
In 1989, the über-luxurious brand unveiled its inaugural collection of timepieces. Over the ensuing years, Harry Winston produced an array of incredible watches. However, in 2001, the brand ascended to new heights when it announced its Opus Series.
This series comprised of limited-edition creations each made in collaboration with a revered independent watchmaker. The Opus 1 drew upon the talents of the legendary watchmaker, François-Paul Journe. Thereafter, Harry Winston Timepieces collaborated with several other horological greats, including Antoine Prezuiso, Vianney Halter, Christophe Claret, Felix Baumgartner, Greubel Forsey, Andreas Strehler et al.
In 2007, the brand opened its Timepiece Manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates, just outside Geneva. This provided further proof, not that it was needed, that the company was serious about watchmaking. Two years later, in 2009, the Maison unveiled the Histoire de Tourbillon, another series of watches this time encompassing Breguet’s whirlwind invention. Since then the brand has unveiled new additions to its Opus Series and the Histoire de Tourbillon collection. Furthermore, Harry Winston often employs its horological and gem-setting expertise to create spellbinding Haute Joaillerie timepieces.
However, while Harry Winston makes peerless high horology models with commensurate six-figure pricing, it also offers some attractive luxury watches which prove slightly more affordable, the latest example being the Harry Winston Project Z14. Limited to just 300 pieces, the case measures 42.2mm in diameter and is formed of Zalium. This zirconium-based alloy was first used by the brand in 2004 and is both light, strong and corrosion-resistant.
The model’s three-dimensional dial wonderfully plays with different colours, depths and textures. The hours and minutes are presented off-centre on a grid-style dial, while a retrograde seconds display employs a red hand and a blue transparent track to impart meaning with a notable degree of style. The automatic movement, the Calibre HW2202, features traditional finishing paired with a high-tech silicium hairspring.
The brand’s press release
For fourteen years, the Project Z series has balanced consistency and innovation. At the forefront of this collection is Zalium, the ultra-light, corrosion-resistant alloy used to craft each case. Another series signature, the Project Z14 is limited to 300 units.
While key elements remain the same, the Project Z simultaneously brings unexpected newness each year. In Project Z14, a retrograde second with a 30-second range, new openwork structure and dominant grey colour palette punctuated by shades of blue make their mark.
The strength of a case
The Project Z14 case is distinguished not only by its material, Zalium, but also by its shapes, lugs, crown and signature arches that recall the entrance to Harry Winston’s Fifth Avenue Flagship Salon.
This year, different from past years, the case features a chamfered bezel and arches to pay homage to the bevelled finishes on the dial.
With a thickness of 10.7 mm, this case successfully reconciles technical watchmaking with exemplary ergonomics. The 42.2 mm diameter case is free from overhangs or excess and strikes the perfect balance between complexity and comfort.
The Project Z14 dial functions as a performance space, telling a tale about watchmaking with extraordinary visual support. Technical, artistic and structural principles work in harmony to create the unique identity of this timepiece, which features strong colours and finishes, as well as shapes, angles and depth.
Harry Winston blue is used for the hands and indexes located in the excentered counter at noon and for the seconds arch at 120 degrees, graduated from 0 to 30 seconds. Red is used for the seconds hand and grey dominates the remainder of the dial, as black accents emphasize the dynamic details and levels. Black appears in the grid of the excentered dial, which is revealed in a new light. The fresh design features horizontal and vertical segments that work together to create a linear picture.
The unique dial consists of stages, facets, bevels, slopes and angles. All of these elements come together in an openwork structure that floats above the movement, which is visible and features the signature radiant Cotes de Geneve finishes. With polishing, varnishing, recesses and an almost incalculable number of angles, the iconic quality of Project Z14 comes to life.
Behind the dial beats the HW2202 calibre, a 4hz motor base, with 65 hours of power that draws its energy from an openwork white gold rotor. The rotor’s consistency is due to the flat silicon balance spring.
The spotlight shines on the complication, which allows the hours and minutes to be excentered, and features a retrograde second. After 30 seconds, the red seconds hand instantly returns, due to a system with a snail-shaped cam and return spring. The mechanics of this retrograde second are visible behind its counter. The colour blue, a brand colour, also appears on the rubber bracelet, which is structured like a textile bracelet.
A game of illusions
Project Z14 catches the eye, with trickery and amusement. The overlapping segments, arcs and colours have both a technical and an aesthetic mission. By relentlessly pushing the logic of excenteredness and levels even further, Harry Winston reaches new heights with Project Z14.