Introducing the Mechanik2, a Sequel to One of Our Favorite Sleeper Watches

You want to talk about sleeper watches? Minimalist watches? Watches that appear to be one thing but are actually something else entirely? Man oh man, do we have a watch for you, somehow slotting into all of these categories. The Mechanik2 is an annual calendar, and a monopusher chronograph, and a sequel of sorts to one of the most inside baseball watches ever made. It’s also surprisingly affordable considering the complications involved, and has real design pedigree that astute collectors and fans of independent watchmaking are sure to appreciate. 

To really get a grasp on the Mechanik2, it probably makes sense to start with the watch that came before it, the MIH watch. MIH is the Musée International d’Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and the original watch was produced between 2005 and 2020 at a rate of just 100 pieces per year with proceeds going to fund the museum. The curator of the museum in 2005 was none other than Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, a name many readers will recognize as one of the founders of ochs und junior, a brand that we cover frequently here at Worn & Wound and whose aesthetic you’ll no doubt find some similarities with when it comes to the Mechanik2. In any event, the MIH watch remains notable for its somewhat ingenious layout, which featured a chronograph read from the case back to keep the dial as clean as possible. 


Now, two years after the MIH watch was discontinued, the Mechanik2 appears courtesy of Christian Gafner, a Swiss industrial designer responsible for the initial design of the MIH watch all those years ago. Gafner and Oechslin have teamed up once again on a watch that looks remarkably similar to the MIH piece, but has new functionality that makes it even simpler and more streamlined, if that’s possible. 

Let’s tackle the watch’s most obvious complication first, the implementation of an annual calendar. An annual calendar is a particularly useful calendar complication, only needing to be manually adjusted once per year, at the transition from February to March. Very often these calendars, like a full perpetual calendar, are executed by way of visually complex (and sometimes difficult to read) subdials that provide a readout of the month and date. On the Mechanik2, as on the MIH watch, the apertures for day of the week, month, and date are arranged horizontally at the 3:00 position, providing an easy and natural reference for the wearer of the watch whenever the calendar needs to be checked. As you’d expect in an Oeschslin designed complication, the mechanics here are truly minimal, achieved with only 9 additional components via a module attached to the Valjoux 7750 base movement. 

Yes, that’s a chronograph movement, and you’d be forgiven for not immediately identifying the Mechanik2 as a chronograph. In fact, that’s kind of the whole pont. Whereas the chronograph functionality on the MIH was truly hidden, featuring a small aperture on the case back indicating elapsed minutes up to 30, here that indication has been moved to the dial via a 30 minute counter made of a series of circular apertures with a roving red dot indicating the elapsed minutes. The centrally mounted chronograph seconds hand counts off elapsed seconds in the way you’d expect it to, while the circular minute indicator provides not just an easy to way to totalize elapsed time, but gives you a sense at a glance of how deep you are into any given half hour timed event. 

If the dial and movement are something of a tribute to minimalist ideals in watch design, the case is a solid match (and doesn’t seem to deviate at all from the MIH design). It’s a matte titanium finish and measures 42mm in diameter and 13.7mm tall. It’s rigorously simple, and paired with a plain black rubber strap, it’s easy to imagine this watch flying under the radar at even the most enthusiastic watch get-togethers and meetups. From a distance (even up close) there’s a generic quality to the watch that intentionally obscures all of the legitimately interesting things happening under the hood, and that’s really an enormous part of the charm. 

The Mechanik2 is also surprisingly affordable. The retail price is CHF 6,420 without VAT, which frankly seems like a steal considering the novelty of this particular annual calendar complication paired with a monopusher chronograph. The watch is available for pre-order beginning this month, with deliveries expected to begin later this year. Mechanik2

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.