Call me petty, if you will, but as the owner of the original MIH watch, I am a more than a little miffed that this watch is coming back, albeit in a slightly altered form and under a different name. Kinda.
Look, all things considered I don’t think this will affect the value of the original watch. They’re hard enough to come by on the secondary market anyway, and besides, I have no intention of selling mine. There’s too much of a good story to it. But I do enjoy the fact that it was discontinued and MIH has moved on to the second model, called the Gaia.
The story goes that after the original MIH watch discontinued in 2020, after being in production for 15 years, the designer, Christian Gafner, felt that it was too good a thing to be relegated to the past. So he acquired the rights to the watch back from Embassy Jewel AG of Lucerne, and re-released it as Mechanik 2, with a bit of a refresh, to distinguish it from its predecessor.
The original MIH concept was developed by Ludwig Oechslin, (who is known for a variety of amazing creations with Ulysse Nardin, but is possibly best known for the “Freak”), and Paul Gerber, who is known to have made some pretty darn interesting complications himself. Ludwig Oechslin was the curator at the MIH (Musee International d’Horlogerie) and by buying this watch, you’re supporting a fantastic watch museum (and if you ever do get the chance to go to Switzerland, you must go visit).
It’s obvious that the design of the watch is focused on legibility and minimalism. You would never guess just by looking that it’s actually an annual calendar with a mono pusher chronograph. The minimalism extends beyond the aesthetics, as the annual calendar module is also minimalistic; only 9 additional parts were needed, and this module was used by Zenith in their Captain Annual Calendar from around the same era as well. Furthermore, even the package was minimal to the max. It was basically the day’s newspaper!
Powered by the ever-reliable Valjoux 7750, with most of the chronograph parts removed save for the 30 minute counter, visible through a small window on the case back. The watch is cased in matte titanium, and coupled with the very short lugs, the 42mm watch is extremely wearable and the new Mechanik2 retains all of these positive points, but has moved the 30 minute counter to the front, positioned at 12:00, and the MIH logo at 9:00 is now MII, for obvious reasons.
In the back of my mind somewhere I do somewhat agree that the watch is simply too good to let it dwell in the past. I am very conflicted. But if you did miss out on the MIH and want a genius of a watch in its reincarnated form, it is currently available for pre-order at mechanik2.com at a relatively reasonable CHF 6420 (~$A9,700 plus shipping and GST) for an estimated delivery of early 2023.
Even legends need a modern touch.
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