Marc Jenni

take a look at the new Prologue timepiece from young watchmaker Marc Jenni to get an understanding behind the reason for change, the philosophy behind change. Because the Prologue brings something new to the game, it’s not change for change’s sake, it’s about a revision of perceptions and expectations of the watch and it’s functionality.

Marc Jenni’s Prologue watch was unveiled recently at BaselWorld 2010 on no less a platform than the Horological Academy of Independent Creators (AHCI) booth; this fact alone underlining that there was indeed something worthy of attention here to see.

In creating his first watch under his own name, Marc Jenni has been labouring away for over two years on his concept prior to it’s unveiling at the AHCI stand and if his Prologue (literally meaning the opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details) is anything to go by, then it’s a good omen of things to come in future chapters.

The Prologue has no crown. No obvious means of winding, of time setting or of changing the date. Just a button of some kind at the four o’clock position, there must be some way to perform these functions.

The genius of the Prologue is in the approach to these functions, for it’s world’s first lateral winding mechanism is incorporated in the black ring which surrounds the flanks and passes through the lugs of the watch and which can be rotated smoothly in either direction. Pressing the unusual black square button at the four o’clock position allows the wearer to wind the watch, or to select the time or date setting, again by rotating the ring.

Once time and date are correct, the watch is set to ‘wind’ and this will be verified in the triangular ’subdial’ near the 3 o’clock on the dial, where ‘time’ and ‘date’ refer to the setting in use. The réserve de marche is displayed without fuss at the 9 o’clock.

The 44mm case is available in 18Kt white or rose gold and houses the Calibre 2010 automatic movement which has a 42 hour power reserve. The ‘turning ring’ is made in 18Kt gold, but has a soft, grippy coating which I imagine would also serve to protect the ring from picking up scratches. A sapphire caseback reveals the 22Kt oscillating weight which also continues the triangle motif found on the subdial, perpetuating a centuries-old family coat of arms going back to 1780 when Jenni’s descendant , Johan Jakob Jenni was a watchmaker by profession.

I like the imagination behind such a concept. Like visionary watchmaker Urwerk, Marc Jenni has integrated modern thinking into a traditional practice, they have gone about their craft differently to the great majority of their contemporaries and it stands to their credit that they have the ability to visualize new ways of reinventing an age-old profession.

Such change comes about through passion, great skills and I’m sure a barrel-full of doggedness to see innovation through to it’s conclusion.

I think much more of Marc Jenni’s Prologue than I do of the Porsche Panamera. Plus, it has the added advantage of not  looking “as ugly as an inside out-monkey”!