two time zones

The focus at ochs und junior is always on functionality, and the two time zones model is typical of this ethos. The story goes that Ludwig Oechslin woke his Boston-based watchmaking friend Moritz Elsaesser one too many times in the middle of the night. It was time to design a highly readable watch that would show two time zones at a glance.

The ochs und junior two time zones watch (“due ore”) represents an ingeniously simple solution to the two time zone problem. Here Ludwig Oechslin describes his idea, his solution and his modus operandi:

Description by Ludwig Oechslin:

Task / idea

A watch with a 12-hour dial capable of indicating the time in a second time zone at the same time.

Solution / implementation

The solution would have to be based on a movement providing a standard date function, such as the ETA 2892 or ETA 2824-2. The date disk would be replaced by an hour disk bearing 48 instead of the 31 teeth on the inside. The disk would be printed with the hours 1 to 12 arranged equally around it instead of the dates 1 to 31. In place of a date window, the dial would feature 12 hour-windows through which the digits of the hour disk can be seen. With the crown in the first position, the second zone’s hour disk can be moved in quarter-hour steps using the movement’s existing date adjustment mechanism.

In our view, the wristwatch plays an integral, functional role in our lives  –  and it should be designed accordingly. Ludwig Oechslin does just that with his watches. The design of his timepieces emerges as a logical consequence of their functions, which makes it distinctive. Most of our timepieces make do without alphanumeric markings of any kind, and that includes any branding or logo.

You won’t find indications of the make and model on an ochs und junior dial, or of the watertightness, precision or country of origin. In fact, there is a logo, but it’s discreetly branded onto the back of the eco-tanned leather strap. The design of ochs und junior watches is for people who live in the here and now.

Ludwig Oechslin’s guiding principle of functional reductionism is reflected in the mechanics as well as in the appearance of his timepieces. A prototype leaves his private workshop only when he has completed the first stage  –  incorporating his latest thinking into it.

By assembling the prototypes himself, he proves that they can be produced. Small numbers of components ingeniously put together are easier to handle at a mechanical level, and thus a better solution in the long term, than one based on as many parts as possible. Ludwig Oechslin creates and develops the mechanics and makes the initial prototypes. He then lives with them for some time, carrying them either on his wrist or in a waistcoat pocket. These prototypes don’t have an easy life. They are stressed, handled roughly and subjected to the kind of treatment that our production watches never have to endure.

Talking of production, our approach is as distinctive as our designs and unlike that of any other watch company. The technical drawings and a prototype are forwarded to Peter Cantieni. His main activity consists of machining ultra-precise titanium components for the Swiss Formula One racing team Sauber. Based in Hinwil, his experience allows him to manufacture most of the minuscule components we need for a pre-production batch of watches.

These components are then brought to master watchmaker Marion Müller.

In her workshop in Kappel am Albis, she assembles the initial few watches and corrects various aspects to ensure optimal functionality and ease of assembly when the time comes for the definitive production run. The radical nature of Ludwig Oechslin’s innovative functions remains sacrosanct throughout this process. Marion Müller does not reinterpret them, nor does she attempt to make them more conventional. After all, experience has shown that the fewer interfaces there are in a mechanical product and in its production process, the greater its reliability and the longer its service life.

Marion Müller’s feedback now helps Peter Cantieni machine the definitive components, including the two-part case, the buckle (carved out of a single block), the functional dial and the wheels. In other words, almost everything we need to create our watches, not counting the movement itself.

Marion Müller then painstakingly assembles the due ore and regulates the movement, for which we use the self-winding mechanical ETA 2824-2.

We rely on this dependable and highly functional workhorse for most of our watch concepts.

Guarantee

The watch industry usually offers two years’ guarantee against manufacturing defects. That’s also the case here at ochs und junior. The following timepieces also benefit from the ochs und junior long-term guarantee: moon phase, annual calendar, two time zones, date. These watches come with a lifelong guarantee against manufacturing defects affecting the following parts made for ochs und junior by Peter Cantieni:

 

two time zones

  • Case (not including the seal)
  • Buckle (not including the pin)
  • Dial
  • Time disk

The watches are functionally extremely reliable thanks to Ludwig Oechslin’s reductionist approach to components. During the periodic service interventions (or during a repair intervention if needed) we can see how the internal works are doing in terms of service life. If our appraisals indicate possible issues, we can immediately revise the parts in question for new batches of watches and, if necessary, replace them in existing watches. This guarantee also applies retrospectively to all watches in the above series that have already been bought.