Hard and scratch-proof, check. Full visual access to internal components, check. Eye-catching good looks, check. Sapphire as a material offers many benefits in the construction of watches. So, why then is it almost always relegated to being used solely for constructing the watch’s crystal or case back? The answer is simply because it’s an expensive and difficult material to work with. Grinding and polishing a piece of sapphire to the exacting standards set by luxury watch manufactures requires a skilled hand and expertise that can only be gained through decades of experience. It’s for this reason that sapphire case watches are a rarity in the world of horology and those that do appear on the market, come with exorbitant price tags. Until the S.Craft Transparency N°1 came along, that is.
While some may balk at the CHF3,990 (SGD$5,686) price tag on S.Craft’s IndieGogo campaign, keep in mind that sapphire case watches are typically only done by luxury brands as limited edition pieces and usually command prices upwards of US$55,000. In comparison to Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Sapphire and its US$57,900 asking price for example, the Transparency N°1 is downright reasonable. Especially given the quality of workmanship and technical specifications of this stunning timepiece.
According to their website, S.Craft stands for Sapphire Craft and it reflects the brand’s desire to construct a timepiece that allowed the wearer to observe and admire the interaction between the various components that make up the watch’s movement. To achieve this feat of watchmaking, S.Craft chose to go with a 40mm case, expertly fashioned from a solid block of sapphire. As mentioned, crafting a sapphire case is an arduous task, requiring the steady hand and eagle eye of seasoned artisan to achieve the perfect polish and finish. Once this has been accomplished though, sapphire has a number of advantages over more conventional case materials. The most obvious is its transparency, which has been flawlessly utilised here. The second is its hardness. Sapphire has a hardness ranking of 9 on the Mohs scale, making it the hardest material on earth after diamond (10) and moissanite (9.25). As a result, the watch case is almost entirely scratch-proof, reducing the likelihood of pesky scratches or scuffs.
The beating heart of the S.Craft Transparency N°1 is its swiss-made automatic ETA 2892-A2 movement. Beating at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) the ETA movement sits in the sweet spot, balancing shock resistance, smooth-sweeping hands, and a reasonable 42 hour power reserve. Apart from its mix of accuracy and reliability, the movement has been extensively skeletonised, allowing the wearer to see through the main plate and bridges to gaze upon the watch’s inner workings. Flipping the watch over reveals a similarly skeletal rotor, allowing the wearer to admire the movement from both ends. Polished steel screws hold the framework in place and add a touch of industrial, steampunk aesthetics to the elegant design.
The Transparency N°1’s dial also received the skeletonised treatment, effectively turning it into a ring that encircles the movement, upon which the blue hour indexes and minute markers sit. In keeping with the sapphire blue colour scheme, the watch comes stock with a pair of azure bands. With environmental and ecological awareness becoming an increasingly hot issue, S.Craft decided to go with genuine top grain cowhide, rather than exotic animal leather, which is embossed with a crocodile pattern and dyed blue to create a band that blends classic stylings with modern colours. A second band is also included with each watch and can be easily swapped using the “quick-click” spring bars.
With the Transparency N°1 S.Craft has created a stunning fusion of artisanal craft and modern engineering. Its see-through concept, allowing people to gaze into the beating heart of the watch, creates an attention-grabbing piece that also honours the noble craft of watchmaking. The S.Craft Transparency N°1 is available for pre-order through their IndieGogo and Kickstarter pages now. Head over to find out more and get one of these inspired timepieces.
All images courtesy of S.Craft.