Spero Lucem is not so much a watch as an exceptional and most unusual new brand; the brainchild of fiercely independent and individualistic watch maker and designer Yvan Arpa. Based in and solely upon Geneva, the brand specialises in producing highly technical and limited edition timepieces and other quality lifestyle accoutrements including a range of prestige writing instruments and even a mechanical letter opener.
The writing implements feature authentic fully functional watch mechanisms driven by a micromechanical construction. They are true high quality horological complications whereby the nib of the pen suddenly pops out of hiding, while a transparent glass allows for viewing of the magic of the gear wheels in movement, just as it should be with the finest watches.
Yvan Arpa has a passion for creating left of field watch concepts and out of the ordinary brands, and it should come as no surprise that he has on occasion teamed up with conceptual watch designer Romain Jerome.
Not content with his own ArtyA brand and his magnificently eccentric Blackbelt Watch company, whereby the watches are only available to those who hold a blackbelt in martial arts, about the most conventional Yvan has ever been throughout his maverick career are spells with luxury brands Baume et Mercier and Hublot. When major brands such as these respect his talent, it’s clear to see that he is a hugely skilled watch maker and his latest brand offering is further testament to his capabilities.
Spero Lucem is located in the Eaux-Vives district of Geneva, a mere stone’s throw from Lake Léman and its famous Jet d’eau. The Spero Lucem brand has been created through a rare association of horological competencies. Earlier this year the brand’s debut watch was showcased at Baselworld 2013.
Yvan Arpa has a deep love for his home town of Geneva and for this reason the watch is known as Spero Lucem La Cleménce Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon. It is named for the largest of 45 bells at the landmark St Pierre cathedral.
The watch is set in a choice of an 18k rose titanium or rose gold case, within a larger case that measures 44mm. The watch is powered by an in-house manual winding flying tourbillon movement with an impressive 90 hour power reserve. The mechanically complex movement is also decorated with 59 jewels.
The radiant dial displays hours and minutes via a specially layered disc complete with Roman numerals at 12 o’clock. The flying tourbillon is then located at 12 o’clock with the Spero Lucem logo to be found at 3 o’clock.
For some, a watch with a complication such as a tourbillon would be more than enough for a debut entry for an earnest new brand. But not for Yvan Arpa. La Cleménce has a third and most unusual complication which will delight those who look for that extra special touch of ingenuity, creativity and humour in a high-end watch. This complication initiates the movement of the hour and minute markers once the minute repeater starts striking via the lever on the left hand side of the case. The hands then go haywire, whirring round the inset dial. Of course the unique movement has been lovingly hand decorated and is visible through its sapphire crystal caseback.
The tourbillon cage is inspired by the pastoral key’s head, appearing on the emblem of Geneva. The sunshine feathered engraving on the dial is shaped as if it were an imperial eagle’s wing. On the back of La Clémence, the eagle’s crown act as a bridge. All of these design touches tie back to the inherent values of the brand. Most everything relates back to the city Yvan knows and loves; Geneva. The Swiss city was the very reason the brand was conceived.
And the price of the watch? Well, for ardent collectors of Yvan Arpa’s work, such things are not really a consideration.
Spero Lucem La Clemence – Technical Specifications:
- 44mm diameter
- Time indications: hours and minutes off centre at 12 o’clock
- Repeater slide at 9 o’clock
- 471 components
- 59 jewels
- 21,600 vibrations an hour
- 90h power reserve