When it comes to customizing a watch, you generally are limited to selecting specific components (say, a handset or dial) or maybe the finish given to the case. So, what if you really want to get into customizing every detail of a watch? Well, then you have moved into the realm of one-off builds, with prices reflecting the level of detail and effort – while, in return, scarcely encountered possibilities are offered. What the highly unusual Aspen XII watch offers is a customizable calendar and reminder system – all mechanical – assuring that you never again forget one of those important anniversaries.
The “hook” for this watch is that you work with the brand to get 12 special dates (and a name for those dates) built on to the cylinders used in the watch. The date of the anniversary is displayed in a small window just under the 12 o’clock position, with a corresponding window down at 6 o’clock that gives you the name of the milestone or anniversary. As you cycle through these events (and as one approaches), you will have the small hands up at 12 come in to action – when those two hands overlap, then it is the special day.
Now, what if knowing the date is not enough – say, you want to know how old someone is going to be on that birthday? That is indicated by the two subdials at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock. This is, of course, driven by some customization in the movement (a Vaucher Fleurier VMF-3002), but I have to say, it is rather compelling, especially if you are the sort who has a tendency to forget birthdays and anniversaries. Oh, and if those “regular” dates weren’t enough, you could opt for your choice of Zodiac symbols (Western, Eastern, or none).
Frankly, this is a clever way of introducing some complexity and interest to a watch without it becoming something that looks like modern art (there is a time and place for those, but they generally are not well suited for everyday wear). Of course, with customization (and the work for synchronizing the ages) on a limited edition piece like this with 88 pieces ever being made, you can be sure that we are firmly in luxury territory here. Should you opt for the steel model, pricing starts at $94,710 (€75.000), while the 18k gold case will command a starting price of $122,491 (€97.000).
For me, I would have a hard time justifying the replacement of what my various electronic calendars can do (where have I heard that argument before?). If these are the watch waters you swim in, however, this is a very slick “under the radar” sort of a watch that I certainly understand the appeal of. If you pick one up, just make sure one of the twelve dates is the day you read about the watch here on ABTW, alright? aspenjewelryandwatches.com
Tech Specs from Aspen
- Individualized automatic mechanical movement based on Vaucher Fleurier VMF-3002 with additional module 51323
- Vibrations per hour 28‘800 (4hz)
- Power reserve approx 50 hours
- Personalized calendar disc carrying up to XII individuals name and date of birth / event up to 15 characters per name
- Individualized indicators for:
- Zodiac (western/eastern) option
- Countdown to birthday / event
- Separate retrograde dial for 31 day date with additional anniversary hand
- Present year indicator in two subdials
- Versions steel / dlc black / gold
- Classical rounded / flat lunette
- Numbered with owners name inscription
- Case size: 44 mm
- Front: double side anti-reflection glass
- Back: sapphire glass
- Limited edition 88 pieces