How does a new brand distinguish itself in the crowded field of ultra high-end, avant-garde watches? Make something truly quirky and niche, that’s how. And that is what Anura Rafael has done with this part-timepiece and part-writing instrument you are looking at called the Write Time. The Anura Rafael Write Time features a “linear movement” with a tourbillon at the end, all in a module that can be removed from the watch case and attached to a pen.
Anura Rafael is the eponymous brand of a watch engineer who has spent the last 15 years working behind the scenes for some of the world’s biggest watch brands, and the Write Time is his first watch. It also marks the launch of his new brand with a product that, as often happens at these watch price levels, stands out not only for its technical features but also simply because someone took this unusual concept far enough to make it a reality.
The name Write Time is appropriate because it is a tourbillon watch and fountain pen combined into one. Using the brand’s own terminology, the “horological capsule” itself is something like a cylindrical or conical module made out of sapphire crystal, pink gold, and partially wrapped in alligator leather. It is fixed to an open-worked “receptacle” (that the brand also refers to as the “case” or a “wristlet”), which, in turn, is affixed to an alligator strap. On the wrist, the case measures 42mm wide by 55mm long, and a not-insignificant 31mm thick – the pictures illustrate well its “wrist presence.”
The capsule itself is 60mm long with a maximum diameter of 34mm. It is locked in place in the receptacle by means of a rotating ring. The rings use a patented internal tooth lock washer system, and each set of lock washer teeth will be unique for every Anura Rafael Write Time manufactured.
Time is read off three discs that are housed under the large sapphire crystal, one for the hours and the other two for the minutes. Numerals on the discs are all hand-engraved and painted but we would like to see some kind of indicator to help users line up the numerals to make reading the current time easier.
The movement, dubbed the Calibre ARS001/T and consisting of 472 parts, took Rafael two years to develop and features a unique tubular construction with a linear gear train. It is a hand-wound movement and winding is done using a large fluted pink gold crown at one end of the case. The crown winds two barrels in series which provide a power reserve of 48 hours. The tourbillon, which is visible at one end of the case under the large sapphire crystal, makes a revolution every minute.
Even with its focus on novelty, we have seen some elements of the Anura Rafael Write Time before – pens, for one thing, are a well-established crossover sub-genre of watches. In terms of design, the Anura Rafael Write Time is reminiscent of Parmigiani’s Bugatti Super Sport watch or even the Hublot LaFerrari, but unlike those watches, the Write Time still has a trick up its sleeve in that it turns into (or attaches to) another object. To turn the Write Time into a writing instrument, you simply unlock the rotating ring, remove the module, and place it into the end of the pen. Presumably, the “horological capsule” is not required to use the pen for writing.
Again, the rotating ring is used to lock the watch in place when used as a writing instrument. The pen itself is also made out of pink gold and is wrapped in the same alligator leather used to make the strap. It can be ordered with either a piston filler or cartridge and owners will be able to have the nib in different sizes to suit their writing styles. As a convertible watch that detaches from its wrist mount, examples like the Bovet Amadeo Virtuoso VII Retrograde Perpetual Calendar that we reviewed here have used a similar concept to make a wristwatch into a pocket watch or a desk clock. One might even compare it to the TAG Heuer Connected Modular smartwatch for its modular nature. Needless to say, this kind of feature in watches is extremely rare.
The Anura Rafael Write Time will come in a special leather travel case that safely houses all components of the Write Time along with an inkpot. There are also additional compartments and trays for storing other items. According to Rafael, everything that you see here – the watch, pen, and travel case – are 100% Swiss-made by artisans in the Jura mountain region.
Anura Rafael has certainly succeeded in making a grand entrance in the world of high-end luxury watches with his new Write Time watch. I’m not convinced about the practicality of a watch that doubles as a pen, but it is certainly outrageous and wacky. But beyond that, there’s serious horology on show here too with that specially designed linear movement. The Anura Rafael Write Time will be made on an individual-commission basis with prices starting from 245,000 CHF. anurarafael.com