Pretty wild right? This is the new version of the La Clef du Temps watch. From “La Clef” to “La Clé,” funny enough they both mean “the key of time.” The original La Clef du Temps was never originally meant to be an Hublot watch. It was designed for the Confrerie Horlogere under BNB Concept before it went bankrupt. When Hublot bought up the Confrerie and Mathias Buttet, it got the La Clef du Temps with it. I wasn’t really too enthused on that watch – writing about the La Clef du Temps here. I later learned that Mathias designed it with the Predator in mind, and the dial was meant to look like a brain.
Now the weird movement that is able to speed up and slow down time is back in a new watch called the La Cle du Temps – and it is part of the Hublot Confrerie (a division of exclusive, very high-end Hublot watches). It is in a brand new case to hold the movement (which is a reworked version of the one from a couple of years ago). The watch is now much more futuristic and feels more in line with the concept of the Hublot Confrerie.
If you aren’t familiar with the movement in the La Cle du Temps, let me explain it. It starts with a tourbillon based movement, where the tourbillon juts out of the bottom side of the watch. This is called a vertically mounted tourbillon. You can see it in the picture looking like some space age propeller. The watch dial, to tell the time, is on the upper right of the dial. The lower left of the dial is a power reserve indicator (looks like 5 days worth in the manually wound movement), and above it is the selector for speeding up for slowing down the time. This is where it gets interesting, and Hublot has clearly changed the format of the dial a bit from the previous watch. Using a crown on the left of the watch you can alter the time to run fast or run slow. A fun, but gimmicky way of “controlling time.” The neat part is that the movement always retains knowledge of the correct time – so you can always switch it back to “normal” mode and the time isn’t all screwed up.
When is a watch like this useful? Honestly, I am not sure it ever is above and beyond appreciating the complexity of it all. In a sense, it is a metaphor about controlling time. The name of the watch itself is the “key of time.” If you can afford it, you can say that you hold the key to time – and what greater power is there than that?
In terms of technical details and specifics on the watch – little is known thus far. Hublot is keeping tight lipped on that until March 2011. What I do know is that there will be something special that helps the green parts of the watch glow. The rest of it will be in black, save for the polished base plate of the dial. Mathias Buttet designed the new La Cle du Temps himself as I understand it, and he is generally very clever in these things. I am quite excited to get this crazy creation on my wrist. It will no doubt be highly limited in production, and come with a rather high six figure price. Now start thinking about how you’d use this watch in your every day lives…