Ochs & Junior is one of our favorite independent brands. While their watches are not inexpensive, the dial design is like nothing else in the contemporary watch landscape at the moment, and they’ve made impressive strides in making exotic complications more approachable from a mechanical perspective. Their perpetual calendar, first introduced in 2016, uses only nine additional components on top of its base movement. This is horological problem solving at work, and they do it within a unique design language that forces the user to think differently time telling to begin with. Something else the brand is known for is allowing the customer to customize many of the design details, including the colors used on the dial, finishing of the case, and an enormous selection of exotic straps to finish it all off. The newest Ochs & Junior, the Calendario Cent’Anni, is a break from that tradition, as it will only be available in three non-customizable variants. Still, the watch remains an Ochs & Junior creation through and through.
The new watch, dubbed the CCA for short, is a perpetual calendar that will not need to be reset for 100 years. At a glance, the intricate system of dots on the dial seems confusing, but once you take it all in, it becomes quite intuitive to understand. Hours and minutes are identified in the traditional way, with centrally mounted hands. A running seconds indicator is a rotating disc positioned at the same level of the main dial and located at 6:00 (it uses a contrasting color on all three variants to stand out). To read the calendar, you first identify the date, which is displayed via a colored dot that moves through square apertures within the dial. Think of this as a pointer date, but without the point. Moving further into the dial’s interior, you’ll see a rotating disc that indicates the month as it points to one of twelve dots just outside the perimeter of the disc. The first dot at the 1:00 position on the disc is January, the second dot at 2:00 is February, and so on as the year progresses. The leap year is identified by yet another interior rotating disc, this one inside the disc that counts off the months. When the solid line inside that disc lines up with the dot directly outside it (the same one used to identify the month), you’re in a leap year.
If that all sounds a bit confusing, it’s understandable. This is, quite simply, not how we normally think about the passing of time. But like many other time telling methods that sit outside the norm, once you adapt this could easily become second nature. The display is remarkable in the way it can show you how deep into a year or month you are at a glance, and the mechanical ingenuity on display here is impressive by any measure. Remember, only 9 additional components were added to the base movement (in this case, a Ulysse Nardin UN 320 which displays only the time and date in its stock configuration) to get to this perpetual calendar display. That’s quite a feat for this particular complication, which often requires hundreds of additional components in a traditional layout.
A stripped down simplicity is the driving force behind Ochs & Junior’s movements and innovative displays, and that extends to their watch cases as well. The case is titanium, 40mm in diameter, and has some of the smallest lugs you’ll find. This is a love it or hate it design, but it complements the unusual nature of the dial quite well – this watch would likely feel less coherent in a traditional case. Three dial options will be available, one in white, and two in black, with one of those black dials adding Arabic numerals for the hours and date.
The price for the Ochs & Junior CCA is set at CHF 15,230 (without VAT). More information can be found here.