“The true cost of luxury is the choice that it affords.”
The above 1st time zone shows 09:13 AM and the 2nd time zone (-3H) shows 05:13 AM. The date is the 10th of the month.
When you first clock the new ochs und junior two time zones + date watch, you may be a bit perplexed. There is no brand logo on the dial nor a statement of origin. In today’s brand conscious and social media pompousity, this starkness may even be a little bit scary!
What’s a watch supposed to do?
Back in 2006, ochs und junior was founded by Ludwig Oechslin and Beat Weinmann to develop “functional wristwatches”. They made their name with the MIH (Musée International Horlogerie) annual calendar in collaboration with master watchmaker Paul Gerber that had only 9 moving parts instead of 30 – 40 components for the calendar, in keeping with Oechslin’s principle of functional simplicity. Having restored the Farnesian Clock at the Vatican and developed the Trilogy of Time astrological wristwatches for Ulysse Nardin, Oechslin is stranger to complicated timepieces but considers the epitome of watchmaking to be simplification, which flies in the face of conventional luxury.
Ulysse Nardin became a minority shareholder of ochs und junior, which means the Ulysse Nardin CEO and COO sit on the ochs und junior board of directors and Ulysse Nardin gets first refusal to use any ochs und junior inventions.
two time zones + date
The key to the magic is a unique hour hand that shows two time zones at once, and an analogue date display composed of moving dots.
Traditionally, a second time zone is shown on a sub-dial or using an additional hour hand. Oechslin’s solution shows both time zones on one special hour hand.
The above 1st time zone shows 09:04 AM and the 2nd time zone (+8H) shows 05:04 PM. The date is the 15th of the month.
How it works is simple: if the second time zone is ahead of your current time zone (e.g. +6 hours), you set the numeral ‘6’ on the timezone disk at the 12 o’clock position. If the second time zone is behind your current time, that number is subtracted from 12 and the difference is set on the timezone disk at 12 o’clock.
As the open hour hand passes over the timezone disk, the second time zone is displayed proportionally within its frame.
First time zone
The usual hands display the first time zone. e.g. 02:51 PM above.
Second time zone
The number inside the open hour hand shows the second time zone: 08:51 PM above. The timezone disk in the center is adjusted so that the difference between the two time zones (+6H) is displayed at 12 o’clock. Both time zones are designed as 12 hour indications. It is assumed that whether the second time zone is ahead or behind the first is already known; the users must assume some responsibility to know where they are!
Practical date display
The above date on the white dial is 10th of the month.
ochs und junior two time zones + date watch uses the same analogue date display as a previous 12-part perpetual calendar. You can read the date from further away than conventional ‘big date’ displays and does not obscure time display.
The 30+1 date holes are arranged in a gentle spiral. The 10-minute markers serve as reference points for the 10th, 20th and 30th of the month.
The small circle beneath 12 o’clock is the power reserve indicator. Full power (60 hours) is when the dot is beneath the rightmost 12 o’clock marker. Empty is when the dot is beneath the leftmost 12 o’clock marker. The disk rotates counterclockwise as power runs down.
Hour and minute
The exact minute can be read using the date holes, which are spaced at 2 minute intervals. Holes mark even minutes and gaps show odd minutes.
The minute hand is on 16 minutes above.
Just above the 6 o’clock marker is a seconds disk with a milled dot. This moving dot shows the watch is running.
What’s with the name: ochs und junior?
Ludwig Oechslin’s son Giorgio was having a laugh when, at lunch one day, he suggested a re-interpretation of the family name. (In German, Ochs means ox, and Oechslin is the diminutive form of Ochs, i.e. little ox) Playing on the image of the old “Ochs” and his cool junior, Giorgio, suggested “ochs und junior” (or ox and junior). Since his father is known for his unconventionality, it didn’t take much persuading to run with that name.
An ochs und junior also needs unconventional packaging. The original MIH watch was wrapped in a Zurich newspaper dated when it was dispatched!
och und junior state: “Instead of the typical, luxurious, oversized tomb, we see more value in an elegant, simple and handmade travel case – from the very same Ecopell eco-tanned leather as our watch straps. Margareta Theiler developed this pouch for us in 2007 and made them for us until 2014, when she passed the work to Sabina Brägger.”
Sturgeon leather! Sabina Brägger first presented her tanned sturgeon skins from the Tropenhaus Frutigen in spring 2013. och und junior loved the idea of a leather strap that would not only be tanned ecologically – like all their other leather straps – but would also be waterproof.
Sabina Brägger lasers and sews sturgeon leather straps for about half of the watches that they sell. Besides studying for her Masters degree at the Hochschule Luzern, she began sewing leather cases in 2014 using Ecopell calf leather.
ochs und junior two time zones + date model specifications
Dimensions: 42mm x 12.5mm (incl. crystal)
76.4g in titanium (incl. leather strap and buckle)
119.1g in sterling silver 925 (incl. leather strap and buckle)
Water resistance: 100m in titanium, 100m in sterling silver 925.
2-part case designed by Ludwig Oechslin. Available in grade 5 titanium or sterling silver 925; additional materials upon request. Visible machining marks. ochs und junior watches require no movement ring due to the extremely small manufacturing tolerances on the case. Available exclusively with a solid case back. Manufacturer: Peter Cantieni / Hinwil / Switzerland.
Ulysse Nardin UN-118 with 60 hours power reserve. Hand-regulated by ochs und junior to 0/+5 seconds per day. Manufacturer: Ulysse Nardin SA / Le Locle / Switzerland.
Screw-down crown designed by Ludwig Oechslin in grade 5 titanium or sterling silver 925. Manufacturers: Pibor SA / Glovelier / Switzerland and Helfenstein Mechanik AG / Alpnach / Switzerland.
Designed by Ludwig Oechslin for 22mm watch straps with no loops. Visible machining marks. Grade 5 titanium or sterling silver 925, additional materials upon request. Manufacturer: Helfenstein Mechanik AG / Alpnach / Switzerland.
Over 80 possibilities: sturgeon, textile, leather, suede, rubber.
The sapphire crystals are manufactured by Stettler in Lyss / Switzerland. Both sides are treated with anti-reflective coating by Econorm in St-Imier / Switzerland.
Reading the time in the dark
Super-LumiNova X1. This coating is manufactured by RC TRITEC in Teufen / Switzerland. In principle, all Pantone colors can be made. Super-LumiNova is always applied in conjunction with a color pigment. The brighter the color, the better the luminosity. In the dark, Super-LumiNova shines green (the option used by ochs und junior) or blue, on special request. The Super-LumiNova coating is applied by hand by ochs und junior, or for dials with a color application by Cador in Eimeldingen / Germany and by Monyco in La Chaux-de-Fonds / Switzerland.
The ochs und junior two time zones + date watch is entirely manufactured in Switzerland. The case is manufactured by Peter Cantieni in Hinwil, while the gear system, dial, hands, buckle and crown are manufactured by Helfenstein in Alpnach. The Ulysse Nardin UN-118 base movement is manufactured in Le Locle. Each watch is hand-assembled and regulated at the ochs und junior workshop in Lucerne.
A lifetime warranty covers all parts invented by Ludwig Oechslin, and the entire watch is covered by a 2-year guarantee. ochs und junior’s small scale and direct sales model allow it to offer uniquely fast and competent service.
Customisation and Price
- The basic watch in Grade 5 titanium case is CHF 9,000 — Incl. 7.7% VAT.
- Adding PVD coating to the case costs CHF 1,000 — Incl. 7.7% VAT.
- Substituting Sterling 925 Silver for the case adds CHF 2,000 — Incl. 7.7% VAT.
- The dials come in 19 different colours at no extra cost except if you choose a turquoise Nebra “oxidised-look” dial for additional CHF 1,100 — Incl. 7.7% VAT.
- The central timezone disks come in 20 colours at no additional cost.
- The timezone numerals come in 20 colours at no additional cost.
- The seven baton hour markers come in 24 colours at no additonal cost.
- The standard hands come in 19 colours at no additonal cost but when you replace it with precious metals (950 platinum, 18K gold, 18K distressed gold, 18K rose gold), EACH one adds CHF 400 — Incl. 7.7% VAT.
- The seconds disk comes in 20 colours and the seconds dot comes in 21 colours at no additional cost.
- The power reserve disk comes in 20 colours and the power reserve dot comes in 21 colours at no additional cost.
- The date disk comes in 20 background colours and the 21 date dot colours come at no additional cost but specifying hammered 950 platinum or hammered 18K gold date dots adds CHF 400 — Incl. 7.7% VAT.
- Theere are 24 different leather and coloured straps to choose from at no additional cost.
Thus, there may be 79,119,684,400,000,000 combinations for customisation and the highest price could be CHF 13,300 — Incl. 7.7% VAT.
“The true cost of luxury is the choice that it affords.”
ochs und junior sells directly at its store in Lucerne or by contacting the CEO.
ochs und junior AG
Tue to Fri 09:00-12:00 / 14:00-18:00
or by appointment
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web magazine. He was former CEO of PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).