Sequential One is a fascinating watch concept, a display based on four blocks of rotating prisms that show the hour digitally. It’s complicated, with 471 components including 81 jewels, and in this collaboration with artist Anish Kapoor, the watch takes on new depths of meaning. We were able to speak to the CEO of Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps (MCT), Pierre Jacques, and founder of the company Denis Giguet, who is also designer and CEO of the watch division of Cage Holding. Pierre Jacques told us about how the concept developed.
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Blacker than black
“One morning I was driving to the office and I was listening to the news, and I heard that Anish Kapoor had bought the rights to the blackest black in the world, and there was some discussion on this, with people saying that an artist shouldn’t be allowed to own a colour. We were interested in making a watch using this material, Vantablack, and so we decided to try for a collaboration with Anish Kapoor who purchased the rights to its use.”
Vantablack consists of carbon nanotubes, each a millionth of a millimetre thick. If you manage to stand them all up on end, so that they create a sort of microscopic carpet, the surface absorbs 99.965% of the light reaching them. It’s the blackest material in the universe, with the exception of a black hole.
“In order to heighten the effect of the blackness,” said Pierre Jacques, “we added a moon-shaped extremity to the minute hand, also coated in Vantablack. When this passes over the part of the dial with the Vantablack surface, the moon simply disappears.”
The watch is a limited edition of 10 pieces. “Each is signed by the artist,” said Pierre, “and Anish owns Number 0. Each watch is a double work of art, firstly for the watch itself, and also because it is signed Kapoor.”
The Sequential One concept
We spoke to Denis Giguet about the initial concept for Sequential One, a watch unlike anything else seen before. “The initial concept was to be able to show the time with a large numeral. I think that the revolving prisms system is the best way of achieving this. It’s complicated: a lot of parts move in the course of one hour.”
Is there an energy-storing system to power the moments of high energy absorption, such as the C-shaped ring when it revolves anti-clockwise once an hour? “Yes, we have a second spring that accumulates energy. There is a drop in amplitude during the period of maximum energy absorption, but it doesn’t affect precision.”
The MCT Sequential One S110 Evo Vantablack is without doubt an unusual and exclusive watch. It costs $95,000 plus tax.