The century-old Swiss watch industry has proven that it’s perfectly capable of reinventing itself with the number of ‘tribute’ watches in recent years representing proof of its longevity.
It also survived the quartz crisis of the 70s and 80s and the more recent economic crisis, and without fail continues to present innovative new ideas at the annual fairs. With the growing interest in mechanical timepieces comes a demand from new collectors for unique pieces and customisation for a point of difference. This has also presented opportunities for collaborations and for newcomers to the world of watchmaking to present a non-conformist take on their trade. Enter new brands such as Ressence (2010), HYT (2012), MB&F (2005) and a number of successful kick-starter campaigns.
Much like the high-speed racetracks that inspired the first chronographs in the 50s, among the audacious newcomers is Rebellion with its roots firmly embedded in the world of motor racing. Born out of Swiss endurance racing team Rebellion Racing, each timepiece is produced in a very limited series and inspired by this high-speed world of race car production and mechanical perfection, where there is no room for compromise.
The Rebellion team has also worked with design luminaries such as Eric Giroud who is credited for his retro-futuristic HM7 Aquapod and HM6 Sapphire Vision for MB&F, Spacecraft for Romain Jerome, as well as watches for Tissot, Vacheron Constantin and Swarovski to name a few. The company has also partnered with Roland Iten, the like-minded pioneer of luxury mechanical objects who shifts the mundane into a universe of high precision for those who love their gadgets.
From their T2M (only 10 watches) with its titanium ‘chassis’, 8-cylinder engine and ground-breaking 2-month power reserve, to the Weap-One with its asymmetrical flying tourbillon, the watchmaking division of this 2017 FIA World Endurance Champion (Le Mans Prototype 2 category) has crafted a bold, futuristic car-inspired collection of watches that combine a decade of technical and material expertise from the circuit with the world of fine Swiss horlogerie.
For something more ‘conventional’ the Giroud-designed RE-1 Chronograph is updated this year as the RE-1 2.0 with honeycombed ‘grille’ dial with diver style Plongeur hands. Its large 46x56mm square case comes in titanium black DLC, forged carbon or gold.
To power these flamboyant designs, Rebellion has its own efficient in-house movements but also uses supplied ETA and highly specialized propriety manufacture movements made in collaboration with Concepto.