A modern miracle of metallurgy

Angus Davies reviews the Harry Winston Ocean Sport Chronograph Limited Edition. This watch from the “jeweller to the stars”, features an interesting case made of Zalium.

Harry Winston Ocean Sport Chronograph Limited Edition


Harry Winston started his jewellery business in 1932 in New York. He soon earned a reputation for his approach to jewellery design. He acquired the jewellery collection of Mrs Arabella Huntington, wife of Henry Huntington, the owner of Pacific Electric Railway.

Mrs Huntington’s jewellery featured fine gems but in a rather staid, dated design. Harry Winston utilised the gorgeous gems and invigorated them with new life. His jewellery was contemporary and showcased his immense skill and craftsmanship.

He was clearly an astute businessman, taking one of her pearl necklaces from the collection and creating numerous pieces from it which collectively yielded substantial profit.

Winston repeated this business practice with the acquisition of Mrs Evalyn Walsh Mclean’s jewellery collection. Mrs Walsh Mclean was an American mining heiress and the proud owner of the Hope Diamond. A 45.52-carat blue diamond.

In 1958, the Hope Diamond was donated by Harry Winston to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C where it is viewed by millions of visitors each year.

The Lesotho, an original rough diamond was over 601-carats uncut. It was discovered in South Africa in 1967 and was purchased by Harry Winston. The cleaving of the stone was broadcast on live television and resulted in 18 separate gems. The largest was Lesotho One, a 71.73-carat flawless emerald cut diamond. Aristotle Onassis, the famous Greek shipping magnate, purchased the 40.42-carat Lesotho Three for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s engagement ring.

Those who have been fortunate enough to see the incredible jewellery of Harry Winston will confirm that the designs and craftsmanship of their rings, necklaces and other high-end jewellery are beyond compare.

Harry Winston have earned a reputation as one of the finest jewellers in the world.

In 1989, the Harry Winston brand entered the world of haute horology. This was a brave step as the industry is dominated by famous names with incredible history. However, the company has gone on to earn a reputation for original, avant garde timepieces with innovative design and execution.

Their watchmaking atelier is based in Geneva and each year the world’s horological cognoscenti wait with bated breath to see the latest Opus series.

The Opus series is a partnership between the Harry Winston brand and independent watchmakers. The latest version is the awe inspiring Opus 12, an incredible watch made in collaboration with renowned horologer, Emmanuel Bouchet.

Video of Opus 12

Ocean Sport Chronograph Limited Edition

Like many visitors to Baselworld I was deeply impressed with the Opus 12, but this was not the sole attraction on the Harry Winston exhibition stand. There were several other models which garnered my interest for various reasons.

The Ocean Sport Chronograph Limited Edition was one of the new releases for 2012 which brought something new to the watch collecting world.

Firstly, the design is exciting, with numerous details, layered in construction. Like a delicious patisserie, each component delivers enjoyment yet works in harmony with the whole. Harry Winston’s eye for aesthetics has been upheld with this neoteric assemblage.

The other fundamental aspect to this watch is the choice of material for its construction. Zalium, is a zirconium based alloy. This modern miracle of metallurgy is light, harder than titanium and extremely resistant to corrosion.

Zalium is unique to Harry Winston in the watchmaking field and does present challenges in fabrication due to its exceptional hardness. However, Harry Winston have clearly found answers to the difficulty in machining, as evidenced by the amazing design details on this watch.

The dial

A central area, almost rectangular in profile, occupies a significant section of the dial running from east to west. This section is beautifully decorated with Clou de Paris motif. Within this area is the chronograph minute counter located at 9 o’clock. The elapsed minutes are indicated with a blue coloured indicator.

Harry Winston Ocean Sport Chronograph Limited Edition

Again on the central area of the dial is the Harry Winston nomenclature at 3 o’clock and beneath this the words “Zalium” and “Swiss made”. It is the Swiss origins of this timepiece which further validate the Ocean Sport Chronograph as a product with excellent provenance.

The hour and minute hands are finished in black and silver, the seconds hand restricted to the undertakers preferred hue.

At 6 o’clock is the disc of an hour counter for the chronograph, utilising a blue indicator to impart the necessary data. The disc appears to almost float, sandwiched between the neighbouring layers of the central area of the dial and date disc rotating beneath. It is the interplay with layers which offers intrigue and devotion in equal measure.

At 12 o’clock is an aperture showing the date.

The watch does not have a conventional chapter ring, indices mark the hours, but the integers flirt with different shapes and layers in an enticing manner.

The wearer will be further beguiled by the “blue-accented” decoration which plays peek a boo through a window at 2 o’clock. This is referred to by Harry Winston as a “Shuriken”, a symbol borrowed from martial arts which they employ to convey dynamism.

The case

The rotating bezel is zalium, notched with black detailing, embracing different shapes. Between 12 o’clock and 2 o’clock, black marks feature on the bezel in one minute intervals, whereas elsewhere five minute integers are more discretely indicated.

The chronograph pushers continue with the silvery zalium finish placed adjacent to black charcoal inserts.

The crown has a knurled black grip, with silvery Zalium hub.

The movement and strap

The movement is self-winding and has a 42 hour power reserve.

The fitment of a rubber strap and the watch’s water resistance to 200 metres make it ideal for water sport enthusiasts.

The black rubber strap features a deployant aiding wearer comfort.

Conclusion

Harry Winston has a well earned reputation for its jewellery.

The watchmaking arm of Harry Winston is younger, only being formed 23 years ago, but it has brought the design and innovation from its jewellery division and stamped it firmly on the world of horology. Moreover, on some of the haute joaillerie watches, Harry Winston’s gem-setting genius is peerless in its presentation.

The Ocean Sport Chronograph is a different kind of jewel. Absent of diamonds, its brilliance is afforded by the allure of the modernity of its design and the use of cutting-edge metallurgy.

Harry Winston’s exceptional skill-set continues to grow and its ascent shows no sign of abating.

The Ocean Sport Chronograph is limited to only 300 examples, so budding socialites and shipping magnates will have to move quickly to secure one of these gorgeous gems of modern timekeeping.

Technical specification

  • Model: Harry Winston Ocean Sport Chronograph Limited Edition
  • Reference: 411/MCA44ZC.K2
  • Case: Zalium; diameter 44.00 mm; height 14.80 mm; water resistantant to 20 bar (200 metres); sapphire crystal to front, solid case back in satin finish Zalium.
  • Functions: Hours; minuntes; seconds; date; chronograph with minute counter and hour counter.
  • Movement: self-winding; Frequency 28,800 vph; 58 jewels; Power reserve 42 hours.
  • Strap: Black rubber strap with deployant

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