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Always"watching"

Otium Cum Dignitare

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This is not going to be a long, highly researched, article - the brand is so young that relevant review material is still sparse on the ground, partly, I think, because reviewers are still finding it slightly difficult to come to terms with the effort involved in describing new ways of telling to time, within cases that hold mechanical ETA movements. In spite of this lack of objective review material, it seems that collectors have caught on and the watches themselves are apparently becoming popular.

Otium is a German company and was founded in 1999 by a young watchmaker and designer Dirk Hillbruger. His main concept was to use tradition horological mechanical movements to present the act of telling the time in novel and unusual ways. Hillbruger's motto is, "We do not follow function. Our form is the function." which seems a rather pretentious and unhelpful statement. Nevertheless watch collectors have not been slow in coming forward to order watches from Hillbruger, although I myself would perhaps wait a bit.

Hillbruger's first model was "Regulateur" with a "jumping" hour and a "mystical" minute. The case is round and in stainless steel, being 42 mm in diameter, with the crown at the usual 3 o,clock position. the unusual black dial has two windows - one at twelve and the other at three o,clock. The 12 o'clock window shows the hours and to be more accurate shows them written inside a small small "jumping" white circular dot. Hands are not completely excluded, nor are minutes - which are shown by white lines and a small red arrow. the watch has a black leather strap, and the stylish Otium brand logo is on the 9 o,clock position.

Otium Regulateur with black dial, and by far my favourite of the Otium watches (pic from monre24.com):

regulateur_1.jpg

No, Apart from the Regulateur, which I like very much as a design, I don't really get it yet either, but hey ho, that hasn't stopped Hillbruger from moving on in terms of how complicated he can make it to tell the time, while always using ETA movements, including manual wind examples.

I can now see the problem facing reviewers of Hillbruger's timepieces, and if I am to follow the message of the Latin-derived word, "otium", then I would take it easy and not try and write anything about Hillbruger's range of unusual-looking and not always quick to read or describe watches, some of which use a pioneering technique of moving tiny steel balls in channels to tell the time. The first of these was the Otium 07 followed by the Otium Sphaera (42 mm diameter and with an ETA 2428-2 movement) with a cross shaped foursome of channels in the middle of which is a small minutes dial, and then this was followed by the multi-channeled-dial watch, the Otium Du:z, which reminds one of the front of a radial aeroplane engine. This watch uses the ETA 2824-2 movement in the 38 mm diameter version and the ETA 6498-1 in the 42 mm version. The Spheara similarly comes in different size and movement variations. As for Hillbruger's first watch, the Regulateur, that came with the ETA 6498 movement.

Otium Du:z watch with white face. Priced at $6,100,00 on Amazon (pic from Amazon.com):

41%2BvafVP8LL.jpg

Other watches from Hillbruger are the handwound Otium 07, also using steel balls, and the Segue. Finally, we come to the latest product from Otium Watches, called the Trigulateur, which is a manual wind watch whose dial is arranged rather like 3 circular car instrument dials set into an engine-turned metal dashboard. The watch has a circular main dial, and the subdials in a row are for hours, minutes and seconds. A more conventional approach perhaps, but still a bit outside the norm and clearly designed to please car enthusiasts.

Otium Trigulateur (pic from Europastar.com):

img_gall_otium_209.jpg

I suppose the question will be asked - and it has indeed been asked in the literature - what is the point of it all, when the function of a watch is to enable the wearer to tell the time instantly? And I must admit that I do have some sympathy for this view when it comes to Otium Watches, in spite of their amazing design and construction using mechanical movement to move tiny steel balls into position in order to tell the correct time. Presumabnly, there is considerable German input into the watches, since on the first page of the Otium Catalogue is the statement "MADE IN GERMANY", which can't be a bad thing given the dominance of the Far East in watch manufacture. However, there is no indication of country of origin on the dial, but perhaps, for design reasons, it is on the caseback. Otium watches are not cheap, however, and a guide can be given here by revealing that the Otium Du:z with white face and an automatic ETA 2824-2 movement costs $3,500

(not pounds, note) and the latest watch, the Trigulateur costs, with sapphire glass, 2,200.00 Euros.

I do not know how well these watches will stand up to wear and tear, and I cannot give any assurance of ultimate quality. That remains to be seen, and will no doubt be taken up by reviewers who at last decide to take the plunge and write about Otium Watches. In the meantime, instead of Hillbruger's rather pointless motto, we should just state "Time will Tell" on these most unusually designed watches.

For those who wish to contact Otium Watches, I can tell you that they are based at Nymphenburger Strasse 187, 80634 Munchen, Germany. Phone: +49 89-688 42 78. The company gives its e-mail as dh@otium-watches.com.

Edited by Always"watching"

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Just a little classical jest! My phrase has the intended meaning of "Poor old Cicero!"

(The thread title is a very slight misquote from the great orator.)

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Just a little classical jest! My phrase has the intended meaning of "Poor old Cicero!"

(The thread title is a very slight misquote from the great orator.)

Good old 'Google Translate'.....got it wrong again..... :D

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Good one AVO and my apologies for the typo, which you so cleverly spotted. I should have written "Otium Cum Dignitate" which frequently refers to a period of ease or leisure, often taken after a time spent in private or public service. And, yes, I believe that it was a quote from Cicero. I spent ages when writing this topic trying to remove typos such as calling "Hillbruger," the name "Hilfigger", after Tommy Hilfiger (a brand that also produces watches in its fashion range, that I went and left the typo in the title. Well-spotted. I give up! :lol:

Sorry Rog, your confusion was down to me :bag:

Edited by Always"watching"

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RLT make great .watches with ETA movements at a fraction of these prices.Just goes to show that a bit of marketing can work wonders = a fool and his money comes to mind.

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What's the Latin for

Load of old cobblers?

:eek:

Good review from AW tho' :lol:

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I decided to forego any attempt to decide on value for money on these watches, although my views veer towards those expressed expressed by Thomasr, richy176 and mel. Of course, I do not know just how difficult it is to translate a mechanical watch movement into an arrangement of little steel balls in the design, but personally, I just don't really see the point in functional terms, and I feel that the Trigulateur, which just has three ordinary subdials set into the face of the watch, is not only the latest of the watches but the poorest financial value of the lot in terms of innovative function and design.

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i was thinking perhaps a sundial type face with a small light source rotating around the 'whatever the sticky uppy bit of a sundial is called' casting a shadow allowing the time to be read. would have to cost at least 450,000 and of course much much more in rose gold with a white dive strap... :tongue2:

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My current Otium has 6 little ladybirds working a treadle wheel just behind the face...

Costs £6,000 - a grand per beetle. When one of the beetles runs out of puff, you just give it a shake to wake the little bu$$er up.

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What's the Latin for

Load of old cobblers?

:eek:

Good review from AW tho' :lol:

Probably something like 'multi senes sutores' - approximate meaning 'many old (men) shoemakers'.

I dare say the Romans had an expression for it, but I have absolutely no idea what it would have been!

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For watches where it takes five minutes to workout what time it is, i'll stick with Tokyo Flash. Somewhat more affordable.

rogue.jpg

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