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Opus 7 - “Butterfly”

Andreas StrehlerIn 2007, when theOpus 7 next men's wrist watch from the Opus collection by Harry Winston, numbered the lucky 7, was developed and released, the company's fans didn't even suppose, that the watchmakers could surprise them with something else, since there were already six triumphant Opus watches in the wonderful collection from Harry Winston. But it appeared, that there were no boundaries in the watchmaking industry. The statement like “everything have already been discovered by somebody else” has nothing to do with Harry Winston watch and jewellery company. No doubt, the credit for the Opus 7 creation goes to Harry Winston company, as well as to the Swiss watchmaker Andreas Strehler, who has been invited for the close collaboration by Hamdi Chatti, the CEO of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces. In 2005, Maximillian Büsser, the ex-CEO of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces, who initiated the triumphant Opus collection, left the company and founded his own manufactory – Maximilian Büsser & Friends watch company. It's worth mentioning, that till the last minute the name of a new co-creator of Opus 7 was kept secret. When the watchmaker presented his invention, everybody was amazed by its beauty and by the “complicated simplicity” of the watch, and also by 37-year-old Andreas Strehler's craftsmanship. Andreas Strehler was born in the motherland of the best watches in the world – in Switzerland, in the city of Winterthur. As a child he helped his father to restore antique clocks, this fact deeply influenced his choice to become a watchmaker. Andreas Strehler compares himself with Harry Winston, saying, that like “The King of diamonds” was able to distinguish a real stone from a fake one at the first sight, he can describe every watch movement after having just a look at it. Such an ability has helped the watchmaker to become one of the best craftsmen in the world. Andreas Strehler is the author of such brilliant wrist watches as Moser Perpetual 1, Zwei (a model indicates hours, minutes, date and month, having just two hands). Andreas Strehler's motto is “difficult things must be simple”. This master succeeded in something, that seems to be impossible. He managed to simplify difficult things and to make the simplicity become very complicated. Impossible? Not at all. Opus 7 is Opus 7 watch mechanism assemblythe vivid proof of the fact, that simplicity is also a real beauty. The seventh Opus concept was being developed just for two weeks, but in the process of work it underwent great changes several times. The watchmaker chose the so-called alternating display system. This men's wrist watch cannot show hours, minutes and power reserve simultaneously, but by-turn. The traditional winding crown serves as the pusher, activating the indicators. To make it clear, I should explain how this watch works. When looking at the Opus 7 dial one can see a large carved bridge in the form of butterfly(!). You cannot but agree, that it's rather a strange image for the men's watch. Nevertheless it doesn't make a watch less masculine. One can observe this butterfly-shaped bridge and the movement endlessly, admiring their perfect lines and the filigree details. Under the “butterfly” there is a wheel gearing, as a rule it consists of three wheels: minute wheel, second wheel and intermediate wheel. But Andreas Strehler, the supporter of “complicated simplicity”, omitted the second wheel and put two big gears. In addition to that, the watchmaker pursued two goals: to simplify the movement and to increase the life time of the watch, because the big wheels, rotating slowly would serve for a very long period of time. It seems, that the watchmaker just decided to facilitate his task. Actually, Andreas Strehler did a great work. To omit the “superfluous wheel” he had to change size and shape of almost every detail of the watch movement. As in Opus 6, in this seventh Opus the time indication goes to the sidelines. Moreover, this function is implemented by a single pusher – the crown. The information, which consists of the combinations of Arabic numerals and letters, is read on two disks at “12:00” position. After pressing once the current hour appearsOpus 7 watch backside (letter “H” and a grey numeral on the disk), after pressing a second time the minute appears (letter “M” and a blue numeral on the disk), and after pressing a third time the 60-hour power reserve appears (letter “P” and a blue numeral). There are no analogues of such a masterpiece in the whole world. There is no surprise, that Andreas Strehler, the fan of simplicity, chose a classical round shape of the watch case. The design of Opus 7 has a lot of features peculiar to Harry Winston company: the recognizable archy nubs, that have been halved and put on the right side of the case to decorate the winding crown. The watch case, 45 mm in diameter and 19.5 mm thick, is made of rhodium-plated white gold. It reminds of a great frame of a picture with the beautiful multi-aspect subject. The dial is protected by the sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating. The water resistance is up to 30 meters. The frequency of the manual wound movement is 18 000 v/h. The owners of these wrist watches can wear their rarities with the help of black crocodile leather straps with the hand-made blue stitching and buckles, produced from rhodium-plated white gold. Only 50 clients will enjoy the charming flight of the “mechanical butterfly”, as Opus 7 was released in the limited edition. Undoubtedly, thanks to Opus 7 the independent watchmaker Andreas Strehler has proved, that he has a great talent and brilliant skills. Speaking about his creation, he says, that the most important thing in this watch is not a plain design but the movement, which shouldn't be hidden under the dial. When Andreas Strehler was asked to describe his watch, he uttered just one word – “butterfly”. I should add, that Opus 7 is not just a plain cabbage white butterfly, but one of the most beautiful butterflies in the world.


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Harry Winston watches  at BaselWorld 2012 (Basel, March 2012)
Harry Winston watches at BaselWorld 2012 (Basel, March 2012)

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