If you’re not familiar with Austrian husband and wife watchmaking duo Maria and Richard Habring, collectively known as Habring2, then you should be, as they offer perhaps more value for money than any other watch brand on the planet.
Since launching 15 years ago the Habrings have used their watchmaking nouse to simplify the design and manufacture of complications, a mission that has won them four prizes at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve, three for the best watch below £8,000, the Petit Aiguille award.
Affordability is very much at the heart of Habring2’s offering: by simplifying complications and being relatively sparing when it comes to movement finishing, the brand can offer its watches at much more accessible price points than elsewhere within the industry. Such as a minute repeater for £16,200. Richard first demonstrated a knack for this at IWC in the early 1990s, where he democratised the split-second chronograph by creating one based on the affordable cam and lever Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement rather than more expensive column wheel chronos that were the standard base for a rattrapante. This Doppelchrono would remain the property of IWC for the duration of the company’s patent but, once it expired in 2012, Habring2’s logo would appear on the dial of the Doppel 2.0, a watch that won the pair their first GPHG in the Sports Watch category.
In 2015, two years after scooping a second GPHG for their Jumping Second Pilot, the Habrings took a third for their first in-house movement, the Felix, and then a fourth three years later after making the logical leap of adding the Doppel split-second mechanism to the Felix for the Doppel Felix.
Now, Habring2 has once again imbued the in-house Felix movement (aka A11) with split-second functionality whilst also adding a perpetual calendar from Dubois-Depraz for good measure, all in a watch that will retail for £19,000 when it reaches these shores. Now, perpetual calendars alone might not always command the premium they once did after Montblanc and then Frederique Constant dropped models at hitherto unheard of price points in 2013 and 2016 respectively, while Habring’s own work in the field of the split-second achieved a similar watershed pricing moment in the 90s, but combined the complications still represent an incredibly rarefied area of horology.
This is the kind of territory usually occupied by the likes of Patek Philippe or A. Lange & Sohne, not what you might expect from a small, cost-conscious Austrian independent, but that only adds to the charm of this unlikely watch as the Perpetual Doppel will almost certainly be produced in small numbers, which is bound to be taken as a positive by those in the market for independent watchmaking.
Two dial options have been designed, the first silvered with vertical brushing, the second a high contrast mix of galvanic dark blue dial and metallic sub dials. Both do a creditable job of displaying Day, Date, Month, Moon Phase, Leap Year and 30-minute chronograph counter without feeling overly busy.
The watch is housed in a 43mm case of Austrian Böhler Stainless Steel with its chronograph pusher at the two o’clock position and split-second pusher at the 10 o’clock. Four quick correctors are embedded in the caseband to adjust the perpetual calendar should you forget to wind the manual A11P movement for more than its 48 hour power reserve.
With the GPHG announcing the shortlist for its 2019 awards next month, there’s every chance the Perpetual Doppel will feature once again for Habring2.
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