Watches: Harry Winston Midnight Retrograde Seconds Automatic 42mm (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on June 23, 2014

If your definition of a stunning timepiece is a model featuring a high-end movement with impeccable finish and a distinctive yet timeless design, you must share my enthusiasm for Harry Winston. And I am not just talking about the “High Complications” line: “Premier”, “Midnight”, “Ocean” or even “Ocean Sport”, there is not a single collection from this prestigious brand that does not hide breathtaking treasures of Fine Watchmaking.

Despite the absence of a fourteenth “Opus” this year, the models we were introduced to during our visit to the brand’s stand at Baselworld, once again measured up to our expectations. I have already reviewed a favourite of mine: the stunning Project Z8 Retrograde Dual TimeWatches: Harry Winston Project Z8 Retrograde Dual Time (+live pics). Part of the “Project Zalium” series, this amazing model combines the originality of a zalium case with the sporty look of a black rubber strap with “Clous de Paris” decorations, as well as the complexity of a retrograde dual time movement with the refinement of multi-layered dial.

More recently, I have also discussed the Midnight Moon Phase 42mmWatches: Harry Winston Midnight Moon Phase 42mm (+live pics), an outstanding example of the brand’s ability to create elegant timepieces with exceptional character thanks to unusual dial layouts mixing off-centred or retrograde indications with a broad variety of complementary high-end finishes.

The model is would like to present today also belongs to the “Midnight” collection but showcases an entirely different facet of the brand’s incredible expertise. The Midnight Retrograde Seconds Automatic 42mm, to give it its full name, is the ultimate classic watch with a sober timeless and uncluttered design. Far from the sporty and technical look of the Project Z8 Retrograde Dual TimeWatches: Harry Winston Project Z8 Retrograde Dual Time (+live pics) or the contemporary and sophisticated side of the Midnight Moon Phase 42mmWatches: Harry Winston Midnight Moon Phase 42mm (+live pics), it proves, if need be, that Harry Winston really masters all sides of the Art of Watchmaking.

Although extremely classic at first sight, the case of the Midnight Retrograde Seconds Automatic boasts a resolutely modern 42.5 mm size and a distinctive paw at 3 o’clock designed to evoke the arches of the façade of the brand’s historic Fifth Avenue Salon. A thickness of just 10 mm and the presence of slender lugs ensure it remains delicate enough for a dress watch. It is available in white gold or rose gold respectively mounted on black or brown alligator strap with a pin buckle in the same gold as the case.

The elegance of the case is enhanced by the purity of the dial and the Haute Horlogerie standard of its finish. Gold hours and minutes hands sweep gracefully on a nice satin-brushed surface with sunray finish. Silver for the white gold version, it is rosé champagne for the rose gold model and features gold baton hour markers and the brand’s logo appliqué at 12 o’clock. The incessant back and forth of the retrograde seconds hand at 6 o’clock breaks the monotony of the dial and creates a fascinating visual effect.

The sapphire exhibition case back offers a beautiful view of the self-winding mechanical movement that animates this piece. Fitted with a flat balance spring in silicon, the HW2101 calibre beats at the frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and features high-end decorations, including circular graining on the baseplate, bridges featuring Côtes de Genève motifs and perfectly polished and bevelled edges, polished screws, and a white gold skeleton oscillating weight engraved with the brand’s name.

Whether in white gold or rose gold, the Midnight Retrograde Seconds Automatic 42 mm is an extremely refined and understated timepiece that focuses on the essentials of Haute Horlogerie, namely a reliable and expertly-decorated movement and a flawless case and dial design that expresses fine watchmaking tradition while retaining its Harry Winston personality.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: