Introducing Experiment ZR012 from C3H5N3O9 a new concept brand of haute contemporary horology. The birth of this idea came from a lunch between Mr. Max Büsser of MB&F and Felix Baumgartner of Urwerk over four years ago when the two leaders of modern horology discussed how they might work together again, officially. The easy way certainly would have been for Mr. Baumgartner and his partner Mr. Frei to design a movement for an MB&F Horological Machine, but that seemed almost too easy.
So, instead the minds behind two of the strongest independent brands decided to create a small passion project called C3H5N3O9, which is the chemical formula for nitroglycerine. The first watch, or “Experiment” as it is being dubbed, is called the ZR012 and it uses a Wankel engine inspired hour and minute indications in an asymmetrical zirconium case with articulated and compound lugs. The movement was designed by Urwerk, while the case was brought to life by Mr. Busser and long-time friend and colleague Eric Giroud.
So what is a Wankel engine exactly? Well, in 1919, a 17-year-old German boy by the name of Felix Wankel conceived an engine that would combine the four stages of intake, compression, combustion and exhaust-took place in one rotation, rather than four separate reciprocations of a piston as in a normal engine.
In standard internal-combustion engines, pistons reciprocate four times for every cycle of power; in the Wankel engine, power is smoothly generated each rotation with fewer moving parts enabling the motor to be lighter, more compact and more reliable than reciprocating engines. Wankel was the first to use an epicyloid in an internal combustion engine; Experiment ZR012 is the first to use an epicyloid in a wristwatch.
Experiment ZRO12 indicates hours and minutes with two Wankel engine eccentric rotating Releaux polygons (triangular-shaped rotors). Hours are indicated by the lower rotor along the front of the ‘dial’. Minutes are indicated by the smaller upper rotor. For example, in this instance as seen in the image below, the ZR012 is showing 5:36.
The C3H5N3O9 Experiment ZR012 is an entirely new type of watch, and although it is a joint collaboration between the minds behind MB&F and Urwerk, it must be noted that this is purely a concept brand and both teams remain dedicated to their respective brands and businesses.
The Experiment ZR012 is made of Zirconium and will be limited to just twelve (12) pieces for 2012, at a price of 110,000CHF. Next year, there will be an additional twelve pieces made, this time in red gold, and that will be the entire production of the ZR012 – no black editions, no collaborations with Chinese artists, just 24 pieces and out. As for the second Experiment? We’re told it could be a $5000 simple wristwatch, or a $1,000,000 supercomplication – after all, this is just about trying out new ideas for some of the most interesting minds in watches.
The ZR012 is sold exclusively through the C3H5N3O9 website, and the first pieces will be ready for delivery in just 2-3 weeks!