Azimuth Round 1 Regulator Retrograde ¶
Over the years we here at Matt Baily have experimented with a number of exclusive brands. Often we have been the first and only retailer in Canada, sometimes the first in North America as it was with Marvin watches. One brand that we had experience with is Azimuth, a small producer of unique complications based in Bienne, Switzerland. Azimuth has made a name for itself producing quirky and complex pieces that sell for very reasonable money considering the workmanship and engineering. One such design is the Azimuth Round 1, a watch that seems simple at first but features a rather complex regulator layout with a retrograde minutes system.
The Round 1 has seen several variations over the years, the examples that we have here are probably the most elegant and dressy. Featuring either a black/brown mother of pearl dial or a clean white dial, the Round 1 echoes design elements of classic brands like Breguet. The Round 1, however, is unique. It’s a regulator, meaning the hours, minutes and seconds are displayed on separate dials, and it features a retrograde minutes display. A retrograde is a linear dial that features a hand that snaps back to zero instantly when it reaches the end of the scale. In the case of the Round 1, this happens every 60 minutes when the minute hand snaps back to zero.
The movement is a heavily modified ETA 2836 calibre automatic. Azimuth specializes in making module complications, which are kitsthat take an existing movement and add extra complexity. In the case of the Round 1, they add the retrograde and re-arrange the positions of the hands for the regulator layout. Seconds are in the centre, hours are on a small subdial at 12 o’clock, and the minutes are on the retrograde scale at 6 o’clock. It looks hard to read but it is pretty straightforward once you get used to the odd layout.
The dials are the highlight of the two examples we have here. The silver version is very elegant and perfectly traditional, and sets off the guilloche hour subdial nicely. All the applied elements are nicely finished with polished and brushed metal details. The blued hands are a nice contrast to the bright silver dial as well. The black dial isn’t really black – its more of a dark brown mother of pearl. The colour variation is really something, with the colour varying between black and reddish brown. It has a lot of depth and texture and really makes the design stand out.
The case is a relatively simple 42mm design in stainless steel. A small porthole on the back reveals the balance wheel of the movement, and the main crystal is a nicely domed sapphire item. It’s a fairly thick case so it wears big for a 42mm. The case is not fancy or outlandish, but that means the case doesn’t distract from the focus of the watch – the dial. The strap is an elegant black alligator item on a nice double deployant clasp.
Wearing the Round 1 you immediately start to fall in love. While it looks fairly simple in photos, on the wrist it is a spectacular design. It’s big for a classic watch and wears well for its size. The face is stunning, and watching the giant seconds hand gently sweep across the huge expanse of clean dial is mesmerizing. Then at the top of the hour you feel the retrograde hand click back to zero. Wearing it on my wrist for a little while I started to really become attached to the watch. It isn’t flashy, and it certainly isn’t conventional – it’s just a good design.
We have both Round 1s available with box and papers here at Matt Baily for 2995$ for either example. If you are looking for something rare, distinct, and perfectly elegant, the Round 1 is a great design from a quirky manufacturer. For more info please visit the contact page and drop me a line.