Friday, April 24, 2015

Magellan Watch: Brand Profile, History and Products

Magellan Watch brand is named after Ferdinand Magellan (1480 –1521). This great navigator and explorer embarked on a daring expedition that has become known as the first circumnavigation of the world. The expedition proved conclusively that earth is round and is even today considered one of the most important feats in human history.

Created in 2000 by Everhard Vissers, Magellan was bought up by Mario G. Nargi in 2010.Magellan Watch is established in the heart of the Swiss watch production region. Employing some of the most gifted local craftsmen, the company creates and produces tactile and aesthetically pleasing timepieces - incorporating proven high quality Swiss precision components- dedicated to a discerning clientele, world-wide.

Magellan Watch was founded in 2000 by Everhard Vissers, a businessman with a definite penchant for mechanical watches. For several years prior to that, he had been thinking of creating a watch unlike any other and inspired by a ship’s compass. Nonetheless, as an enlightened connoisseur, he waited until he met professionals capable of creating an  authentic horological product, before carrying out his plan. The result was the Magellan 1521 watch featuring an astonishing design – based on semi-spherical dial, hands and sapphire crystal – clearly evoking Magellan’s round-the-world voyage and driven by an innovative movement. In the early 2000s, this concept was regarded as a curiosity clearly intended for a niche audience.

Everhard  began by addressing kindred spirits, horological enthusiasts with a thirst for exclusive models, and Magellan Watch unsurprisingly proved mainly successful among informed collectors and connoisseurs. The brand accordingly found its way through its first decade while making only limited series of one-of-a-kind models. While the initial design and technology have remained unchanged, the central theme underwent transformations that opened up whole new vistas just waiting to be explored.
In 2010, Magellan Watch was bought up by Mario G. Nargi, an experienced watchmaking executive who has been eagerly awaiting a chance to conduct a personal project. Magellan Watch represented a dream opportunity and he soon grasped the strength of the concept. All the ingredients were basically already there in 2000, but there were very few innovative ideas floating around in the field of watch design. Since them, all many of curiosities have been popping up all around, and the brand thus appears as genuinely visionary – especially since its creation is not at all out-dated. It is a unique watch, the kind that have the ability to adjust to the passing of time without ever betraying their true nature, and it clearly deserves a prime position on the 21st watchmaking scene – as the enthusiastic new owner is firmly convinced.

Finding a brand name is no easy task, but for Magellan Watch, the choice was obvious. An illustrious navigator from the great age of discovery, Magellan was the first to sail his fleet from Europe to Asia via the Western route, and to discover the straits between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that now bear his name. He thereby demonstrated that the Earth was indeed round – a discovery dating back to 1521 which is clearly evoked in the original and remarkably accomplished Magellan Watch concept.

In the models evoking Magellan’s voyage around the globe, the hands perform their own round-the world journey in a strikingly realistic manner; they feature an original shape that moulds the contours of a central half-sphere representing one of the Earth’s two hemispheres, around which they turn. The three traditional hands are enriched by another patented hand indicating the Sun’s position above the Earth: by keeping track of the longitudes appearing on an external ring, the user can always tell at which point on the globe it is noon.

The three-dimensional dial is unique in its kind and called for the development of a special module on the self-winding base movement, ETA 2893. The four hands are considerably raised thanks to an ingenious system of nested guiding pipes. This height means the sapphire crystal is as convex as it could possible, and very few manufacturers are capable of making it. This feat is all the more remarkable in that visibility is ensured from all angles, since there is no “magnifying glass” effect engendered by this crystal which also encompasses the winding and time setting crown – a unique feature on existing watches.

The latter is clearly visible from the front, beneath a cover incorporated into the longitudes dial, but it is accessible only from the underside of the case – a judicious move. The result is a perfectly round case that could indeed not be any rounder, since even the bracelet lugs are invisible. Magellan watches equipped with mechanisms every bit as astonishing as their designs. They are also crafted from noble materials using hand-crafted decorative techniques. Opening their tailor-made presentation boxes reveals a beautifully rounded world to be admired beneath a crystal globe.

Magellan Watch began its history by directly evoking Magellan’s round-the-world voyage. The first creation features a reproduction on the dial of a world map draw up in this age of discovery. The Magellan 1521 attracted due attention at the time of its launch and won an honourable second place in the Jury Prize of the 2003 Watch of the Year awards. Since then, it has been interpreted in versions exploring new worlds, while all housed within a unique structural concept. The Magellan watch is so easily recognisable that it requires no brand signature on the dial. New owner Mario G. Nargi intends to follow the trail that has been blazed, and the Magellan Earth model that marked his arrival cleverly evokes the initial symbolism. The historical world map is replaced by a photo of Earth taken in 2010, the year of the brand takeover.
The Magellan 1521 and Magellan Earth watches come in cases that are 43.5 mm in diameter, 19 mm thick, and water-resistant to 30 metres. Available in steel, rose gold and yellow gold versions, they are driven by an exclusive self-winding movement, developed on the ETA 2893 base movement and powering indications of the hours, minutes, seconds and the Sun’s position above the Earth.

Surrounding the planet depicted on a 32 mm-diameter brass half-globe – a motif created using coloured varnishes applied to a sandblasted surface – the longitude dial is in mother-of-pearl that is white for the Magellan 1521 and Tahitian black for the Magellan Earth. A planisphere is engraved on the casebacks. The straps are made from navy blue ostrich skin for the steel models, and brown crocodile leather for the gold versions.


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