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Opus 8 - “Audacity in Tradition”

Frederic GarinaudIn 2008, Harry Winston, the world-faOpus 8 watchmous watch company and “Jewellery Kingdom”, released its next unique masterpiece, known as Opus 8 and developed together with the talented watchmaker, who made his bravest and greatest dreams come true. However, it's worth mentioning, that Opus 8 was designed not by an ordinary watchmaker, but by a man, who is famous for his unbelievable plans, sometimes crazy and (as it seems from the first sight) naive ideas. This man is often called “Wizard” by other watchmakers. His name is Frederic Garinaud. He was born in France in 1971, and when he was a child he could not even imagine, that he would become a famous watchmaker and the author of Opus 8. Frederic Garinaud got his start in the French naval academy, where he worked as an on-board engineer. After that he made up his mind to study art. Before he began to construct watches, Frederic Garinaud built planes and performed his combat missions. When Frederic Garinaud began to study watchmaking, he was working in Audemars Piguet, the famous Swiss watch company. In 2005, paving the way for his current job, Frederic Garinaud founded his own watchmaking unit, that is La Cellule des Specialites Horlogeres (ÑSH). As for Opus 8 with its pseudo-digital display, this men's wrist watch reminds of 1970s. Frederic Garinaud confesses, that since his childhood he has been a great fan of pop-art, disco, “Star Wars” and comics about the Superman. While developing the watch concept, the watchmaker drown his inspiration from this bright period of time, which he likes and highly appreciates. During the process of Opus 8 creation, Frederic Garinaud wanted to make an electronic watch, powered not by a battery, but by a traditional complicated movement. Curiously enough, but Frederic Garinaud's little daughter suggested him such an idea. The girl had a very interesting mosaic game, where the pictures of different coloures were formed with the help of multicoloured pins, which move by pushing a button. The new 21st century requires new ideas from different spheres of life, including the watchmaking industry. The eighth Opus watch is an unbelievable invention. It seems, that this watch has come to our current world from the past, and during this travel it has changed greatly. In outward appearance this men's watch looks like any electronic timepiece, but actually it is not so. Under the watch dial there is a disk, on which pins are located in somOpus 8 watch casebacke specific order. The design of display is based on the principle of the so-called spiked lattice, the display consists of numerous moving elements. These elements reproduce the relief of 3D objects. In other words, such a mechanism reminds of a music box or a barrel organ. By pressing the button on the case side, the pins lift the dial plates, which are moving above them at that very moment. So, the necessary numerals appear on the dial, showing the current hour by AM/PM indicators. The hour numeral disappears after 5 seconds – it is enough to find out what time it is. The minutes can be observed on the liner minute indicator, located to the right of hour display. The minute indicator with a hand consists of 12 five-minute segments. On the case back there is a 48-hour power reserve indicator and the second time zone (AM/PM), indicated by discs. The design of a bezel is also very interesting. It looks like the bezel of the first electronic LED watches. 44 jewels and the unique movement, consisting of 437 elements, are indicative of the high complicity of Opus 8. Here one can see the classical archy nubs, which are traditional elements for Opus collection by Harry Winston Rare Timepieces. The vintage kinescope-shaped case of Opus 8 has the square form, reminding of a retro TV-set. The case is 45.8 x 33.5 mm, it's made of 18K white gold, the strap is produced from crocodile leather with a gold buckle. It's worth mentioning, that among Opus watches, the models numbered 3 and 8 are considered to be the most avant-garde timepieces. There is no wonder, because while completing Opus 3, Vianney Halter was working together with Frederic Garinaud. The merge of true art and high functionality makes Opus 8 a very precious piece for every collector, all the more Harry Winston company has released “The Great Eight” in the strictly limited edition of 50 timepieces.
This watch evokes very strong emotions, from the first sight you can understand: or you like it or you hate it. Someone may suppose, that it's rather difficult to read the time with the help of this timepiece, but Opus 8 is not just a traditional wrist watch. It has been created to show the time, as well as to excite different emotions. If you ask me, this is an interesting game, a way to express master's admiration and love towards 70s, when Frederic Garinaud was a small boy. Frederic Garinaud says, that the most complicated process during the Opus 8 creation was to “transform a traditional digital display” by changing the traditions and adding some audacity to them. In other words, the watchmaker uses non-conventional and brave ideas together with the established standards. He describes his watch as “bold audacity in old watchmaking tradition”. Perhaps, the audacity is bold, but no doubt, it has brought luck either to the innovator or to Harry Winston company.


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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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