Japanese Movement Replica DeWitt Academia Skeleton Watch
DeWitt is a very niche Swiss brand that likes to remind you that owner Jerome DeWitt is a descendent of Napoleon Bonaparte. While that is kind of cool for him, the brand mostly gets our attention with technical horology and unexpected designs. The avant-garde Academia collection with its rare complications is the brand’s signature, and the new DeWitt Academia Skeleton is the latest addition. While the name of the watch would seem to suggest that the skeletonization is the main show, it is the “bi-retrograde” seconds hand that stands out the most.
Note the giant semi-dial at 7 o’clock, with an inner 0-30 scale and outer 30-60 scale. It could have been a regular retrograde seconds hand that jumps back to the beginning – but no, we’ve seen that before. So, upon reaching the end of the lower scale at 30, the seconds hand juts forward to extend to the upper scale and begins its sweep slowly back in the opposite direction. At 60, of course, it retracts back to zero. The video will help you understand better than my description.
It’s really just a novel way of displaying the seconds, but let’s face it, mechanical watches are very much like tiny Rube Goldberg machines, anyway: exceedingly complex but mesmerizing ways of accomplishing relatively basic functions, such as indicating the time. And at the high end of horology, around DeWitt’s neighborhood, where little expense in terms of time or money is spared, it gets even more complex – and mesmerizing.
While we don’t have any caseback images of the watch, we can pretty clearly see everything going on in the movement from the dial side of the DeWitt Academia Skeleton. The power reserve of over 100 hours is displayed up around 2:30 – and we like power reserve indicators, particularly on manually wound movements like this DW1105S. But next to that, at around 10:30, you can see the large double barrel that is open to also show you exactly how tightly the mainspring is wound. And the balance wheel can be seen twitching away at 3Hz (21,600bph) around 4:30, providing even more eye-candy animation.
On the same note, it’s interesting that DeWitt likely spent the least amount of work on the facet of the watch that tells the moment. The clock part of the watch sticks out like a node in the mothership. Unlike conventional watches which use palms, the WX-1 has three two rotating disks. Line them up using the little arrow near the peak of the dial, and also you have enough time. First look tells me that the disks are some way of compass or instrument too complicated for the cognition. Closer inspection however shows numbers generally found on a watch face, this must surely be where I tell the moment, and it is. This isn’t DeWitt attempting to confuse anyone, but rather to make sure the effect of this watch isn’t last. The vision of a grand complications, whose browse from advice has been as beautifully imagined as the body which holds it.Smooth pushing the WX-1 case back together I realize that the windows all over the watch are all what seem to be sapphire crystals, exceptionally difficult to fabricate in such shapes. I am completely impressed by this watch, and enjoy in seeing it at the hands of the others. What is to say about the Plan? I filed to the fact that to every one their own. Like a Victorian era spaceship. Some would define the appearance as “steampunk,” and I would not disagree. Vianney Halter has created his whole brand of high-end watches round the steampunk aesthetic, and the idea is masterful. The WX-1 fits these tags, and it emulates nothing especially. The in depth rivets around the instances are intended to signify the labour put into the opinion.
On top of all that and the contemporary skeletonized movement, the rose gold hands seem to do a pretty good job of being legible and contrasting with the mostly brushed “black gold” (not oil) surfaces. The rose gold hands match the DeWitt Academia Skeleton’s rose gold case that is 42.5mm wide and 10.25mm thick – which promises some wrist presence, but also to be pretty wearable. On the case sides, black rubber forms what the company calls “Dewitt imperial columns.” The DeWitt Academia Skeleton case is water resistant to 30m, no surprise there, and the lug width is a less common 21mm – so you may have a little more trouble finding a nato strap to fit it.
It moves when the 59-hour power book decreases and when the barrel is wound, it slides on its longitudinal axis. The screw features simple movements but manipulated concerning precision engineering.The dial is totally hand-crafted designed to please the high quality of finishes embraced by the Manufacture. The dial features characteristics typical of the DeWitt original. Unconventional as it seems, legibility is quite made simple. Two discs at 9 and 3 o’clock indicate the hours and minutes rotating around a fixed central slice. Then a reverse triangle points to the markings. We see lots of gears on the dial, highlighting its mechanical nature, it’s amazing to observe.While the dark dial balances the cool effects of the gold and steel interplay, the 42.5 millimeter diameter around case generates a more holistic delicate comparison working with the impressive mixture of gold (18 carat rose gold) and black rubber. For those of you well versed about the new, this pretty much recreates the famed imperial column motif, the symbol of Emperor Napoleon I. There are also two small “W” signatures found on the crown and also on the buckle.The Geneva-based producer modified the normal DeWitt 5050 automatic motion to give power for the Academia Endless Drive. It has been fully done by hand, thus we can only surmise into the meticulous skills of their new craftsmen. The adapted caliber is made of 320 parts such as the variable-inertia equilibrium and it surpasses at 21,600 vibrations per hour enough for this to crank up 59 hours of electricity reserve.The fresh Academia Endless Drive wears on a black lace calfskin leather strap secured by a rose gold triple fold clasp with a “W” signature.
One of the reasons things like tourbillons are so popular is that they not only display the mechanical complexity that we so enjoy watching, but they are highly animated. Simply finding a way to display the balance wheel from the dial side is another way many watchmakers have added mechanical sparkle to a watch. Even just a sweeping seconds hand will do – animation of any kind adds a lot to a watch face. That’s why the windshield-wiper seconds hand here, with its stabbing and jerkily retracting motion every thirty seconds, is worth all the obviously necessary extra engineering. That combined with the DeWitt Academia Skeleton’s “openwork” movement provides a good deal of horological entertainment for a price of $85,800. dewitt.ch