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The Experiment ZR012 goes black

By on 16 September 2013 in Watches

The Experiment ZR012 goes black
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A stealthy new version of one of the craziest watches out there

What’s the coolest, most outrageous collectors’ watch of the last couple of years? In our book you’d be hard-pressed to beat the Experiment ZR012, the bizarrely magnificent collaboration by two of Switzerland’s most progressive firms, Urwerk and MB&F. We love this piece because 1) its almost impossibly odd mechanism is inspired by the rotary Wankel Engine; 2) it resembles, depending on the angle you look at it, an armour-plated beetle, a xenomorph Alien or a space ship; 3) you’ll never find it in any shop, and can only order it via its own website; 4) the sub-brand created to sell the thing has a name even its creators can’t remember how to pronounce: C3H5N309 – the chemical formula for nitroglycerine. Beat *that*, Breguet. 

And now there’s a new version that’s still more alien/beetle-like: the Experiment ZR012 has gone black.

Nitro-Black-Front-1 Nitro-Black-Profile
The case of the original Experiment ZR012 is made from the tough, lightweight metal Zirconium (in a limited edition of 12). The new version is in “blackened zirconium” – which we understand to be a black PVD coating. There was talk back when the ZR012 launched of a series of rose gold watches, and this appears to have replaced that plan. Good decision, we say.

Nitro-Black-BackAnyway, black it is, and there are 12 pieces available once again. The difference this time is that it’s being sold exclusively by one shop. And that shop is in Singapore. Ah.

Said boutique, The Hour Glass, is one hell of a watch shop – just check out the list of brands it carries – and you can contact it to express an interest in the ZR012 Black if you so desire, by calling +65 6730 1167. The price is Singapore $229,000, which is about £135,000.

Nitro-Black-Front-2-A4For a full explanation of the Wankel engine design and all other aspects of this watch and the MB&F and Urwerk collaboration, visit the C3H4N309 website. It appears, by the way, that there’s still availability on the original zirconium edition if black’s not your thing but nutty Wankel engine watches associated with explosive chemicals are. 

Here are the technical specs:

Experiment ZR012 Black Technical specifications
Experiment ZR012 is a unique edition, i.e. there will be no more variations, of 24 pieces in total: 12 pieces in zirconium and 12 pieces in black zirconium – the latter available exclusively from The Hour Glass
Hours and minutes are indicated by two Wankel engine inspired Reuleaux polygon rotors tracing epitrochoid curves

Dimensions without lugs: 55mm x 44mm
Case and lugs: natural zirconium or black zirconium case with titanium lugs.
Number of case components: 60
Compound front lug, articulated rear lug
Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment both sides
Water resistance: 30m – 100’ – 3atm
Strap and buckle: Brown or black calf leather strap. Titanium and white gold folding buckle. 

Movement dimensions: 32.65mm x: 41.35mm: 11.55 mm
Number of components: 328
Number of jewels: 42
Manual winding
Power reserve: 39h
Balance frequency: 28’800
Finishing: satin finishing, sandblasted, circular graining on movement, black PVD treated components, black ruthenium treated components
Number of plots to create epitrochoids for hours and minutes: 180
Tolerance between hour and minute indication rotors and inside of epitrochoids: 0.20mm



The Experiment ZR012 goes black

A stealthy new version of one of the craziest watches out there

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Tim is the editor of QP Magazine, is watch editor for City AM business newspaper, and writes on watches, travel, style and good living for the Financial Times, Wired, the Telegraph, Departures and many others.

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