What originally motivated me to start writing about watches was the interesting history behind the brands. Some of these incredible stories date back hundreds of years and contain many twists and turns. Another exciting element in the world of horology is the philanthropic aspect. It is laudable that companies have a conscience and donate to charitable causes. Probably the most high profile event is the ‘Only Watch’ auction held annually in Monaco. Every year this worthy cause raises millions for research into Muscular Dystrophy. In my opinion it has also stimulated watchmakers to create some of their best looking and original timepieces.
Time to Act is a project developed by Rotary Club Marseille Rive Neuve to raise money to eradicate the disease polio. Their prime objective is to release five unique timepieces (in conjunction with high profile brands) over the next five years. Ultimately their mission is to raise $500 million for the Polio Plus Foundation. Hopefully with generous support of the public they will exceed this monumental target. The Polio Watch One is the first timepiece to be released and has been created by Marc Alfieri. As an exceptionally talented designer his luxury goods portfolio includes products like fountain pens, wine glasses, knives and watches.
When I first received the press release for the Polio Watch One I thought the watch would cost in the thousands. The reality is that this beautiful timepiece is a fraction of this price and marketed at only $650. With measurements of 45mm x 34.5mm x 13mm the watch is targeted at a wide audience. The proportions are large enough to make a bold statement without being too imposing. As a watch writer I am fortunate enough to try on a broad spectrum of watches of different sizes and materials. Based on that experience I would imagine this timepiece would be fairly comfortable and lightweight to wear. Primarily this is down to the design of the elegant shaped tonneau case and use of stainless steel in production.
Visually the Polio Watch One has a superb modern and original appearance. The dial displays time in a stylish rectangular format. On the left hand side bold numerals are presented vertically from 07 -11. I love the 12 steel screw markers and three-dimensional rotating globe. The injection of vibrant red colour into the composition is also very effective and enhances the overall design. It is pertinent to mention the luxury fountain pen manufacturer Edelberg have also produced an equally impressive blue limited edition version.
Beneath the refined exterior lies a specially developed movement made in the Neuchatel area of Switzerland. This mechanism comprises 4 steeping motors controlled by a microcomputer. The Polio Watch One is also connected to blue tooth (via apps from apple or android devices), which shows the progress of the fundraiser in real time. Incredibly the rotating globe displays a virus, which gradually with disappears as sufficient donations are pledged.
For every Polio Watch One sold $150 is donated towards polio vaccination, which will help 250 people. More information about this superb watch can be found on the company’s website: www.poliowatch.com