MIH, also known as the Musée International d’Horlogerie, is one of the foremost bastions of watchmaking knowledge in La Chaux-de-Fonds. They preserve a wide array of antique clocks, watches and time measuring devices in order to commemorate the advancements to Human knowledge they have provided. However, keeping everything in ticking order is quite the challenge and in 2009 they had the genius idea of creating their own watches to fund restoration of key artefacts. And their latest creation is the MIH Gaïa II Watch.
Alternatively, you can call this watch the MIH Gaïa Series II Black because that’s what it is. A black dial update to the first Gaïa, which was released in 2019. It’s uncompromisingly minimalist with a smooth PVD coated dial that almost looks enamelled housed in a round 39mm stainless steel case. The lugs are surprisingly bold and square, echoing the brutalist architecture of the museum itself.
As for timekeeping, it uses two rotating discs in a wandering format. Essentially, there is a large hour ring with Arabic numerals, black on white, which rotates fully once every 12-hours and is visible through the large aperture at what is traditionally considered 12 o’clock – the number showing at ‘12’ being the current hour of the day. Then there is a central minutes disc which rotates fully once every hour and comprises a white on black hand that points to a peripheral minute track in the traditional manner.
It’s the type of atypical timekeeping you’d expect from people who spend their days surrounded by a million different methods of telling the time. Although, the actual watchmaking expertise comes from all over La Chaux-de-Fonds because one of the key principles of MIH’s watches is collaboration. To list off a couple of groups involved: Atelier XJC, Sellita and Jean Singer & Cie.
And if you’re familiar with Swiss watchmakers and recognise one of those names, it’ll come as no surprise that it’s powered by a Sellita SW400-1 movement. An automatic calibre with a 38-hour power reserve and a frequency of 4Hz, classic Sellita fare.
The first 75 pieces, which will be sold from the MIH boutique and on their website, will fund the restoration of François Ducommun’s Tellurium. It’s an astronomically themed table clock that is surmounted by a mechanism depicting the Earth and the Moon as they rotate around the sun. You know, in case a moonphase indicator isn’t elaborate enough for you.
All that leaves to cover is the price, which is CHF 2,900 (approx. £2,270). It’s by no means a small investment but for a cool, minimalist watch that supports a good cause that you can actually go and visit if you’re so inclined, it’s not a crazy price.
Price & Specs:
Model: MIH Gaïa II
Case/Dial: 39mm diameter x 9.74mm height, stainless steel case, black sunburst dial
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: SW400-1 calibre, automatic, 26 rubies
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38h
Functions: Hours by disk display at 12 o’clock, central minutes disc
Strap: Calf leather
Price/availability: CHF 2,900 (approx. £2,270), the first 75 pieces sold will fund the restoration of François Ducommun’s Tellurium
Available at MIH and MIH boutiques.