Flash News: 4N MVT01 Sapphire Planet

By Thierry Ané on March 10, 2015

It is really intriguing to realise that no matter how technically complex some timepieces are, they fail to strike my horological chord! Sadly, I have to admit that the MVT01 model of niche luxury brand 4N is the perfect example of a really cool piece of Fine Watchmaking that did not exactly arouse my interest.

Yet, its sophisticated MVT-01/D01 calibre developed in partnership with Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi ticks all the right cases to catch the watch connoisseur’s attention. This manually-wound movement made of no less than 514 components offers an impressive digital display of the time of the day.

Through ten instantaneously jumping discs (4 discs are used for the hours, 1 for the tens of minutes and 5 for the units of minutes), the MVT-01/D01 provides a constant show all the more so that the watch features no dial to allow an uncluttered view of the mechanism.

Unfortunately, though, it took a very long time and the help of Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi for the watch to be operational and from the very first prototype presented to the press and the current commercial models, the look of this timekeeper has not moved an iota!

Whether in white gold or in rose gold, even in its titanium rendition or as the unoriginal all-black version in black DLC titanium, the watch has kept its identifiable orange numerals and overall initial look. For years, at every step of the adjustment process and with each new edition, I had almost the feeling of seeing the watch over and over again…

At last, a much welcome wind of change seems to have blown on 4N this year as the brand introduces what I consider the very first customisation of its unique model. Nicknamed the Sapphire Planet, the new MVT-01 model relies on the same movement as its predecessors but the case is now entirely crafted in sapphire. François Quentin worked in close collaboration with FashionLab 3D of Dassault Systèmes to manufacture this monobloc sapphire rectangular case with sapphire back cover and white gold crowns.

This visually striking frame offers an unprecedented view of the intricate inner workings of the watch and the jumping discs can now be literally admired from all angles as they set into motion to display the time of the day. The white alligator strap with turquoise stitches and the use of this summery colour for the Arabic numerals also constitute a long-awaited change!

Apparently, 3 pieces only of this € 280,000 MVT01 Sapphire Planet will be made and the buyers will have the opportunity to customise the colour of the markings and strap. It looks very nice in the version selected for the official pictures, though, and I would not change anything from a design point of view. I look forward to seeing this new model in the metal (sorry, crystal!) at Baselworld and I will give you my final impressions after the fair with lots of pictures and a video.

For more information please visit the 4N web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: