Whilst doing research for a forthcoming article I discovered a small independent watchmaker called Frank Heydrich. Although his website is fairly modest the watches are absolutely magnificent and highly original. This prompted me to contact him immediately to see if I could get access to one of the timepieces for review purposes. Fortunately for me Frank agreed to produce a custom made watch exclusively for Total Watch Reviews. The timepiece has been christened the Mini Meteorite.
Even though Frank Heydrich is not a trained watchmaker he seems to have enormous amount of expertise in this area. His main job is designing jet engines for aircraft and high-speed yachts. Primarily he used this technical ability to repair mechanical watches for friends. After gaining substantial experience deconstructing Swiss movements he decided to produce his own range of watches.
Like most aspiring watchmakers Frank wanted to develop a unique and stimulating timepiece. Instead of using a generic painted brass dial he wanted a material that displayed more interesting characteristics. In recent conversations with Frank he informed me that he was an avid rock collector. On that basis Meteorites seemed like a natural choice for the dial of the watch. Incredibly these specimens can be over 4.5 billion years old and have magnificent patterns (called Widmanstatten lines) that cannot be replicated by synthetic materials.
Due to the fact that Frank didn’t disclose any details of the watch before he shipped it, I was really impressed at the stunning craftsmanship of the piece when it arrived. The Mini Meteorite measures 42mm x 10mm, which is smaller than a lot of timepieces currently available on the market. Nevertheless these classical proportions will appeal to a wide range of buyers including the unisex market. My wife normally isn’t that interested in the world of horology but was totally captivated by this watch. We both wore this timepiece and found it to be exceptionally comfortable and lightweight on the wrist. Realistically this watch could be worn for most occasions and definitely on a daily basis.
Visually the Mini Meteorite has a really high quality appearance and is certainly as well made as watches twice the price. The dial on this particular watch is constructed from Gibeon iron meteorite, blue, which is pretty mind-blowing and very calming. Amazingly each dial is constructed from a 50-gram piece of stone. This material is so fragile and is prone to develop cracks during the machining process. Ultimately this means that many dials never make the grade. Other features include 3 subtle markers (in a triangular formation) and slender hour/ minute hands. I also love the intricate pattern on the bezel, which is achieved by a delicate technique of fine polishing. This special finish is designed to hide fine scratches and prolong the beauty of the timepiece. Overall I would say the composition is understated and exceedingly refined.
To power the watch Frank has used a calibre ETA 2892-A2. This self-winding movement comprises 21 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Due to its accuracy Omega have modified it for use in their successful Seamaster range of watches. This superior mechanism is also visible through the sapphire crystal case back. Functionally the Mini Meteorite features hours, minutes and a power reserve of 40 hours.
All of Frank Heydrich watches are made to order and therefore can be customised to the buyers exact specifications. The exquisite Mini Meteorite has a real stingray leather strap with matching steel strap. Priced at: $5,000.