Million-Dollar Watch to Have Its Own Gallery Show

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A computer-generated image of parts of the DR01 Twelve First. Its vibrating balance system is a change in the way watches have kept time for two centuries.

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Dominique Renaud SA

It’s unusual for a watch to have its own exhibition at an art gallery. But then the DR01 Twelve First is no ordinary timepiece: It has a movement that changes the way watches have kept time for more than 200 years and a price of 1 million Swiss francs, or $1.05 million.

In 2012 Dominique Renaud, the watch’s creator, decided to end a self-imposed exile from watchmaking and invented a new movement with a vibrating, rather than oscillating, balance system that he says all but eliminates friction in timekeeping to increase efficiency, precision and power reserve. Then he placed the new movement in a clear angular housing much like NASA might have imagined, and announced he would make a limited edition of 12 pieces, each to be commissioned and personalized.

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Dominique Renaud, the creator, decided to make 12 of the revolutionary watches.

Credit
Dominique Renaud SA

“The DR01 should be considered a work of art,” said Eric Freymond, whose personal model will be displayed at his family-owned gallery, Espace Muraille in Geneva. “But it’s more than that. It’s a totally innovative project that will bring fantastic progress and a new perspective to the entire Swiss watch industry.”

The exhibition, Nov. 23 through 25, is being designed to explain how the movement was invented, with sketches and prototypes as well as comparisons to the industry standard. Items from Mr. Renaud’s own history are to be included, like his father’s handwritten notes from watch school and early work at Renaud & Papi, the movements company he co-founded in 1986.

“My wish is that with this watch, we will inspire more pioneers to embark in their own watch odyssey,” Mr. Renaud said. “It’s just the beginning of the journey. Everything is still to be reinvented.”

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