“Design a watch that gives me all the information I need at a glance.” That was the brief that Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, curator of the Musée Internationale de Horlogerie, once gave to Swiss industrial designer Kristen Gaffner. Honestly, not much to go on. But, as history has shown us, it has resulted in a truly intriguing, charming and pure mechanical watch. In return, the watch raised funds for the Musée Internationale de Horlogerie. The original watch was introduced in 2005 and was available until 2020, when it was discontinued. With 100 pieces produced per year at the time, it was not a very widespread piece. Seventeen years after the original, MIH Watch has transformed into Mechanic2 and is now a key name in watch history thanks to Christian Gaffner.
Back in 2020, the rights to the MIH watch were transferred from Embassy Jewel AG, owner of renowned haute horology retailer and Musée International d’Horlogerie, to Christian Gaffner. This also explains why the MIH Watch is not available from Embassy, which is the one place you can order it from. In the absence, the MIH watch has transformed and now returns as the Mechanik2. Although very similar to the original MIH watch, the Mechanik2 has more than just a new name, which we’ll get to later.
One of the most interesting things to consider about Mechanik2 is, of course, its background and its “less is more” attitude. Thanks to the minimalist design of Christian Gaffner and the mechanical wizardry of Dr. Ludwig Ochlcin, the watch looks unlike any other watch. The MIH watch and its offspring, the Mechanik2, are a testament to Oechslin’s genius, also presented by Ochs & Junior. The beauty is that using as few components as possible, Dr. Ochslin can communicate multiple indications over time. Whether it is a date or a complete calendar, the sum of parts is kept to a minimum. The same goes for this watch, as it uses a module made up of just nine additional moving components for the date, day of the week, month and AM/PM indications.
The exterior of the Mechanik2 is little changed, topped by a fully matte grade 5 titanium case measuring 42mm in diameter and 13.7mm high (including the crystal). The simple design of the case, without any frills, contributes to the minimalism of the watch. Lug-to-lug distance is kept relatively short, thanks to short lugs and a partially hidden strap connection. On the right side, we still find the titanium crown with 12 notches, which mark the 12-hour markers on the dial. Next to it is a single pusher for the chronograph, which is used to start, stop and reset. At the back, a titanium caseback with 12 Torx screws hides the movement from view, apart from the sapphire crystal on the balance wheel. This used to reveal an anonymous 30-minute counter for the chronograph, but this is where things take a Mechanik2 turn.
As mentioned, Mechanik2 is a lesson in purity and restraint. There’s nothing this watch shouldn’t have. And thanks to the flat black dial and contrasting markers and hands, it’s a very legible watch. White printed hour indices and minute track, paired with simple white hour and minute hands, are easily readable from a distance. The right side of the dial is reserved for the horizontally aligned calendar indications. From left to right, you can see the day of the week, month and date, all in white print on black discs. To the left, two small dots indicate whether it is AM or PM (one dot for AM, two for PM). The biggest change to the dial is the inclusion of a dotted 30-minute chronograph counter, which is placed on the back. Using the red dot under the track with holes, you can easily see how many minutes have passed since you activated the chronograph. The central chronograph seconds hand is finished in black with dark red accents. One final detail is the 9 o’clock hour indicator, which now reads MII (or M2) instead of MIH.
Powering the Mechanik2 is the tried and tested ETA / Valjoux 7750, with a module designed by Dr. Ludwig Oechslin on top. We already pointed out that this module only uses nine additional moving parts, and yet, you get an annual calendar display paired with a chronograph activated by a single pusher. Pretty awesome, right? A look at the rest of the specifications reveals no more surprises. The rotor can be seen spinning through the sapphire crystal window, providing the necessary power for the movement. Running at 28,800vph, the Valjoux 7750 uses 25 jewels and offers a power reserve of approximately 48 hours.
The Mechanik2 can be pre-ordered with two gaskets of different lengths, both attached to a Grade 5 titanium pin buckle. The pre-order campaign is now open. Mechanic 2 will cost CHF 6,900 (CHF 6,375 For non-Swiss clients), with a 50% deposit after ordering. Delivery year is set for later, early 2023.
For more information, please visit Mechanic2.com.