British superyacht designer Tim Heywood, the name behind some of the most enduring superyacht designs, has teamed up with jeweller and watchmaker Wempe to present two versions of a limited-edition marine chronometer. Unveiled at boot Düsseldorf, the timepiece combines watchmaking and nautical heritage with modern composition and precise next-gen movement.
Once an indispensable instrument to safely navigate a ship on the world's oceans, marine chronometers can now be found in studies, living and dining rooms, as well as on board, serving as timepieces and appreciated as art. A particular challenge in the design of marine chronometers is that they must be able to suit different environments, which is not unlike modern superyacht design, and so the Heywood-Wempe partnership is a natural alliance. “The chronometers look as good on traditional boats as they do on a modern yacht — and they fit in with the owner’s country home as well as his city apartment,” said Heywood.
Both of the models share a bold blue dial and gold-plated brass, while openings at 4 and 8 o'clock offer a glimpse into the type 07 three-bridge movement and inner workings of the timepiece. Radiating out from the centre are twelve meridians — the first chronometers were created in order to determine exactly these imaginary time boundaries — which continue on the wide, curved glass found on the back.
The Wempe Marine Chronometer Cube by Tim Heywood features a dark brown, hand-polished fine-wood case with 16 layers of lacquer revealing a gold-plated brass clock behind its three-hinged doors. Under a glass case made of resistant borosilicate, the dial shines in a deep sea blue. With a maximum rate deviation of 0.3 seconds a day and a power reserve of 56 hours, these timepieces stand for the highest degree of precision.
The second model, the Wempe Marine Chronometer Coco de Mer by Tim Heywood, is billed as "a nautical work of art" and mirrors the soft lines and feminine shapes seen throughout many Heywood-designed superyachts. Heywood chose the curves of the exotic Coco de Mer nut on which to model this limited-edition design. The humble coconut variation can travel enormous distances at sea unscathed, making it a perfect symbol for marine chronometry. The top of its lid is coated with bronze while the inside is finished in gold leaf. The Coco de Mer design will have a limited run of just 50 numbered pieces.
What is a chronometer?
A marine chronometer is a precision timepiece that is carried on a ship and employed in the determination of the ship's position by celestial navigation. It is used to determine longitude by comparing Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the time at the current location found from observations of celestial bodies. Today, the word chronometer is used to describe a precise timepiece that must prove its accuracy in a test centre specifically designed for chronometer testing. Such timepieces are hard to design and construct, and it took centuries to perfect them. “The purchasers of these timepieces also appreciate the historical instrument look because it represents the highest level of precision," said Bernhard Stoll, CEO of Wempe’s watch division.
“Tim Heywood’s designs link our watchmaking tradition ideally with the requirements and expressiveness of modern shipbuilding,” said Kim-Eva Wempe, head of Wempe. “These timepieces are aimed at a discerning public aware of the importance of chronometry. They also underscore our expertise and legitimacy in making state-of-the-art marine chronometers."
The Wempe Marine Chronometer Cube by Tim Heywood will be available starting from the end of January 2023 at a price of $57,460. The Wempe Marine Chronometer Coco de Mer by Tim Heywood is limited to 50 numbered pieces and will be available from the end of January 2023 at a price of $91,825. wempe.com