For the past two weekends, we have had two of the smallest Independent watchmaking companies visit us in southern CA. One could say at either end of the handmade watchmaking spectrum in terms of the level of hand finishing of the movements, but equally passionate are their creators and their contribution to the watchmakers art in terms of pure enjoyment.
The very select few pieces emanating from the workshops in Völkermarkt & Dresden are quickly snapped up by eager collectors wanting to share in what Maria Kristina & Richard Habring and Marco Lang see as their life's work.
I have known Maria & Richard for 5 years now, and this recent visit was the best yet. They have found their path and clearly demonstrated it to everyone who met them. The HABRING² collection is maturing well and they are defining what it is to be part of their family as they see it. I am still, after almost 2 years, totally enamoured with their Foudroyante Jumping Seconds, which this trip Richard was sporting with a silver dial, rhodiated markers & time hands and those elegant blued steel 1/8th second & second hand.
They have also recently completed the development of the new 36mm cased HABRING², currently offered in either a manual wind Jumping Seconds or a Time Only manual. Looks superb on a lady with a red strap as Maria showed us so well! This 36mm piece is the Jumping Seconds pictured here with a standard 42mm cased automatic Chronograph COS to it's right:
I found this to next piece to be quite something and a striking watch on the wrist, a steel cased automatic Chronograph COS with black DLC coating and the black dial...
We were shown a couple of unusual pieces by Maria & Richard, that are more like one off pieces, the prototype split seconds chronograph and their stunning new stealth Time Only Tourbillon. These two pieces will emerge into the HABRING² line as special offerings next year. The Split chrono for me is a stunner and one that I think will appeal to many who know Richard's history at IWC, where almost 20 years ago he designed their split second chronograph movement, which they have very successfully put into the famous Dopplechronograph and their Split Seconds Portugueiser chronograph.
First up is the Time Only Tourbillon, which currently has a Beryllium Copper cage, but in the serially produced pieces will have a Titanium cage for even less weight. Weight being a tourbillon's greatest menace!
And the back side showing the tourbillon:
And here is the Split chrono with a lovely orange split second hand. Against the galvanic blue dial it is superb!
Another rather lovely and elegant chronograph, is the basic automatic with a silver dial, RG markers & time hands and those great blued steel chrono second & minute hands. At $4500, this is a great value proposition.
And here on the wrist in a different light, where the blued steel chrono hands are shown off to their fullest potential...
One aspect that we love here at Passion, is the relationships that we have fostered with these amazing Independent watchmaking talents over the years. The people whose name is on the dial, have a dedication and fundamental responsibility to excellence that is hard to find in a big brand, after all if things don't go according to plan, then it is they who stand to suffer most. One's reputation takes years to establish, but can be dashed in 5 minutes. Getting to work with like minded people is a blessing and we count these two as friends, who bring much positive effects to our lives! So a big "Thank You" to Maria & Richard.
Richard & Maria love what they do and take immense pleasure in building as they call it, "Their family". We shared a very pleasant meal with them on their last night at a local spot and with the relaxing effect of a good glass of Napa cab, their fun and quite amusing side was in full force. Capturing them in a moment of candor:
In closing, I would like to suggest that these two are doing great things in Austria and if one is interested in acquiring a truly custom, well designed mechanical watch that will give the owner a lifetime of immense pleasure wearing, then seriously consider their work! I love my HABRING² Jumping Seconds with it's silvered dial and RG markers/hands, it is a joy to wear and gets a lot of wrist time...