Watches: Manufacture Royale Androgyne Origine 245th Anniversary Limited Editions (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on March 5, 2015

With a very distinctive steampunk-inspired case like no other on the market, Manufacture Royale’s “Androgyne” collection stands out in the Fine Watchmaking landscape. Exquisitely crafted, this 43 mm frame made of 52 parts combines a linear, square-like shape and a circular bezel adorned with 12 screws that also serve as hours indicators. Not only eye-catching and, as its name implies, suitable for men and women, this sophisticated signature of the line also fits perfectly on the wrist thanks to its flexible lugs and represents the perfect house for the brand’s in-house movements with tourbillon escapement.

With so many qualities, the “Androgyne” timepiece was the natural choice to celebrate an important anniversary in relation to the history of the brand. Indeed, 245 years ago, in 1770, François-Marie Arouet, better known by his “nom de plume” Voltaire, created a workshop called “Manufacture Royale” with the ambition of turning watches into beautiful pieces of art dedicated to European royalty and elite. Reborn in 2010 with the same guidelines, the brand wanted to use this opportunity to pay tribute to the well-known French writer, historian, and philosopher but also entrepreneur.

The homage takes the form of two limited edition timepieces called “Androgyne Origine 245th Anniversary”: one in rose gold produced in a series of 20 pieces and another in black PVD steel limited to 45 units. Both models stand out from the rest of the Androgyne line by their movement: the MR06 calibre instead of the MR02 movement used in the other “Androgyne” models.

The manually-wound calibre has been carefully skeletonized to offer a new aesthetic to this stunning timepiece. The industrial, almost raw look of the previous versions gives way to a surprising show of transparency. All the bridges have been expertly hollowed out to create a see-through effect. The master craftsmen responsible for this lace-like work have opted for an electrolytic treatment giving the movement’s part a black ruthenium coating for a modern look. It suits the “Androgyne” case beautifully. For obvious homogeneity reasons, the sword-shaped hands have also been skeletonized to follow the aerial theme of the new models.

A careful inspection of the rose gold model for instance and a non-anniversary version of the Androgyne in rose gold reveals the major difference between calibre MR02 and the new MR06: the tourbillon has been upgraded to a flying tourbillon to further enhance the skeletonising work. With no upper bridge to hold the tourbillon cage, the high-end escapement equipped with a silicon escapement wheel and ceramic ball bearing seems to float at the 6 o’clock position strengthening the transparency effect obtained by skeletonising.

Both versions are really nice and give a totally different look to the “Androgyne” model. The rose gold version retails for CHF 72,000 while the price tag for the black PVD steel is CHF 56,000 (both of them before tax). They are very elegant tributes to the creation of this Manufacture and a very promising sign that it will continue to produce innovative timepieces just like what Voltaire ambitioned to do.

For more information please visit the Manufacture Royale web site.

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