When you see Papillon for the first time, besides the bridge in the form of a butterfly, one particularly notices the large central gear wheel. Upon closer inspection of the gear train, one notices further that there are only two gear wheels whose movement is barely visible. A seconds-wheel with its fast revolution is completely missing. The Papillon represents Andreas Strehler’s own interpretation of an emotional watch movement. By omitting the “hectic” second and the reduction to only two wheels, the movement has a delicate aspect that is rare and unique to this collection.
The particular design of the Papillon results from the individual structural elements. It needs no further decoration, which emphasises the understated nature of the watch. For example, the central bridge, which holds the wheels in position, is designed like a butterfly and gives the watch its name. Worked using high-quality, classic hand bevelling and with the finest, hand-polished chamfered edges.
Two giant gear wheels with 192 and 175 teeth mean that Andreas Strehler can do without a third wheel. The double spring barrel arrangement and the omission of one gear wheel deliver energy savings which extend the life of the watch enormously. Along with the technical advantages, the arrangement of the gear wheels also offers the opportunity to design the movement in an open way, and the particular pleasure of being able to watch the passage of time.
Andreas always loved Art Nouveau’s flowing lines and shapes, which often took precedence over colour, explaining many of the forms in his designs, including the leaf-shaped hands. But working with subtle lines and contours is exceedingly difficult and usually requires a lot of tweaking to create an ideal design. The cushion-shaped case, which Andreas uses for all his watches, is based on his love of Art Nouveau.
Starting at the end of the 19th century, the movement aimed to restore quality—of production and design—to ordinary objects used in daily life. Andreas’ design of the case was not just aesthetic; he incorporated removable, “slide-on” lugs that also form the flanks of the case. That ensures easy accessibility to all parts of the case for refinishing during servicing, allowing for polishing without destroying the lines of the case, particularly important since the case design incorporates both convex and concave contours.
With its unusual design, the Papillon fascinates the viewer at first sight. But the most important function, of simply telling the time, is not lost in the process. Moreover, it becomes an experience. The unusual path of using the movement as a design component endows the Papillon with additional character and originality. The smooth housing made of white gold completes the flowing form and makes the silhouette perfectly. It nestles against the wrist of the wearer thanks to the concave curvatures as if the watch had always been there. Elegance is evident down to the smallest detail. For example, the crown has been lovingly designed in the form of a calyx. The sapphire display back emphasises the transparency and strength of the Papillon.
Spring barrels normally turn too slowly for the display of minutes and too fast for the hours. But in the Papillon the timing works differently. Its spring barrels are not firmly tied to the sequence of the train. As a result, the time display can be adjusted by means of the hand setting. An apparent matter of course, which is transformed into amazement on closer inspection of the mechanism. This is where technology becomes tangible—and a voyage of discovery begins.