Watch this space: Svend Andersen Rising Sun watch

This new release celebrates Swiss watch brand Andersen Genève’s appreciation of Japan

Since time is all about Earth’s relationship with the solar system, could there be a better place than the Land of the Rising Sun in which to unveil a new watch bearing the name of one of the world’s great horologists?

Possibly not – at least, that’s what the people at Sven Andersen thought when they chose to pull the wraps off this simple yet spectacular limited edition “jumping hours” piece in the Tokyo residence of Switzerland’s ambassador to Japan, Andreas Baum.

In keeping with the Japanese appreciation of form, function, minimalism and precision engineering, the Svend Andersen “Rising Sun” watch presents a dial made from pink gold and decorated with exquisite guilloche engraving, creating a shimmering effect reminiscent of the star that lights up the Earth.

The effect is enhanced because the dial remains uncluttered by conventional hands or markers, all thanks to its “jumping hours” mechanism in which the hour is displayed digitally in a window at 12 o’clock with the minutes on the subtly graded sub-dial at six.

As the hour changes, the numbered disc beneath the window “jumps” ahead with a smooth and seamless movement, demonstrating a mechanism for which Svend Andersen is famous.

For those unfamiliar with the name, Andersen first made his mark on the horological world in 1969 by assembling a fully working watch – inside a bottle.

His remarkable display of manual dexterity and micro-mechanical genius soon landed him a job with Patek Philippe, where he worked for almost a decade before setting up on his own as one of Switzerland’s first true “independent” makers. 

For more than 40 years, Svend Andersen watches have been recognised by horophiles both for their exceptional finish and their imaginative mechanisms.

In 2015 Andersen passed the mantle of the brand that still bears his name to current owner, Pierre-Alexandre Aeschlimann, but despite turning 83 this year, he continues to be involved in the development and creation of all new Svend Andersen models.

And it was Andersen who came up with the “magic lozenge” pattern that adorns the Rising Sun edition’s dial, a decoration that requires three different engine-turning processes and takes an entire day to complete.

The case in which the dial sits is just as much a work of art, being made from 950 platinum and featuring a combination of satin-brushed flanks and a mirror-polished bezel, while the Andersen- signature curved lugs begin life as separate components that are seamlessly attached using an artisan welding technique.

Turn the watch over, meanwhile, and a transparent back reveals more remarkable hand-finishing on the ultra-thin Frédéric Piguet movement that powers the jumping hour system.

Just 50 examples of the Rising Sun Edition will be made, and we doubt that many dawns will light up Tokyo’s distinctive skyline before a home is found for every single one.

The Svend Andersen Jumping Hours Rising Sun Edition, £42,800; andersen-geneve.ch

Simon de Burton is a journalist and author who writes for the FT’s How to Spend ItBritish GQ and Boat International, among others

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