TECH SPOT: Hublot Key of Time

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A mythical name for a watch that can speed up or slow down time.

Taking control of time is becoming a bit of a theme in watchmaking in 2011. Tech Spot has previously explored the Septagraph by Borgeaud, which alerts you to a 90-minute period that you are supposed to use to “take time for yourself”, and elsewhere in the pages of WatchPro we have featured the Le Temps Suspendu from Hermès, a watch that allows you to pause time at the click of a button and, when you are finished taking time out, you click the button again and it automatically reverts to the correct time.

Now Hublot has got in on the act with the MP-02 Key of Time, and it has taken the creation of a whole new watchmaking department to do so. The watch has a movement that allows the wearer to choose the speed at which time passes.

There are three speed settings, controlled by moving the crown, to choose from: actual time, when the passing of an hour equates to an hour passing on the watch; the fast setting when 15 minutes in real time is shown as an hour on the watch; the slow setting where an hour in real time is shown as 15 minutes on the watch.

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To ensure there is no confusion about which setting the watch is set to, there is a star arrangement on the dial that indicates at which speed the watch working.

The powerful movement allows the watch to be set at fast or slow indefinitely, but it is still able to jump to the correct time at a click of the button. The technology used to do it is powered by what Hublot calls a “mechanical memory” built into the movement.

As well as this intricate complication, the MP-O2 Key of Time also features a vertical flying tourbillon cage with a seconds indicator on its edge.

In a watch world obsessed with precision timekeeping, the Key of Time is Hublot’s way of sticking two fingers up to the establishment. Sure it can keep accurate time, but why would it want to when it can slow time down when you are having a great time with friends and want it to last forever or speed it up when you are enduring one of life’s duller tasks, such as a long-distance car journey.

The fact that it doesn’t actually control time, extend your nights out or make your car travel four times faster is irrelevant. Like most watches, its functionality is a gimmick for wearers’ to show off and play with. And this has been an expensive one for Hublot to make.

To create the watch’s movement, which it describes as the “fruit of cutting-edge research in the field of mechanics and engineering”, it has had to employ a department of 30 skilled craftspeople solely focused on grand complications. But then again, Hublot has never been afraid of being flashy.

The Stats

Series: Limited to 50 pieces

Case: Microblasted titanium (Grade 5), with black DLC coating

Functions: Hour, minute, seconds via the vertical tourbillon cage, power reserve indicator, speed of time indicator, tourbillon without ball bearing, manual winding

Dial: Multi-part black, with green transfers

Hands: Polished black nickel, with green SuperLuminova

Movement: HUB

Frequency: 21,600 Vib/hour (3 Hz)

Power reserve: Approximately 100 hours (4 days)

Main plate & bridges: Brass, bevelled with drawn rims, and circular-grained recesses, black nickel coating

Strap: Black rubber with microblasted black ceramic clasp and black PVD steel buckle
 

 

 

 

 

 

This article was taken from the November issue of WatchPro. To read the issue on full, click here.

 

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