Depending on how long you have been reading DreamChrono for you may remember that one of my first articles for the site was about the rise and fall and subsequent rise again of a pioneering young brand named MCT Watches. You can read the original article here if you would like the detail but essentially, despite the brand’s initial success, MCT struggled to gain real traction and were unable to launch any successive models to their highly acclaimed first watch; the Sequential One.
As I mentioned in my first article their story, sadly, is not a unique one. Luxury watchmaking is an extremely competitive industry, with high costs of entry and long lead times. This means that without a steady cash flow from existing models you can very quickly become hamstrung in your development activities, not to mention the fact you are competing with brands that have the ability to spend more on their marketing budget in one year than you do on your entire production line. Plus let’s face it, selling a six-figure watch is simply not as straight-forward as it was in the pre-crisis days.
And so, after an extended period of what we will call ‘limited activity’ at MCT Watches, new owners took over in 2012, injecting new life and some much needed capital into the business. Their first move was to release the S-110, designed by Fabrice Gonet (co-founder of HD3), at Baselworld 2013. More of a range extension than the new series people were perhaps hoping for it nevertheless gave some insight into the brand’s longer-term strategy and more importantly put MCT back on people’s radar.
The big test however came earlier this year, when MCT Watches unveiled the new MCT Sequential Two S200 at Baselworld 2014. This would be the timepiece that arguably makes or breaks the brand. A failure to capture the interest of collector’s in a meaningful way could potentially sound the death knell for the brand before it even had a chance to start on its new vision. Fortunately, as history now tells us, the response to the Sequential 200 was overwhelmingly positive, if a little mixed.
The MCT Sequential Two S200 Hands On
Probably the worst kept secret about the S200 is that it would be round. Now for most brands this is not really any cause for excitement, after all most watches are round, however for MCT Watches it was something of a big deal. If you recall one of the defining features of the original Sequential 1 (or S100 as it is now known) was the distinctive square-shaped case, helping the watch stand out just that little bit more.
As much as the square shaped case was a strength however, it was also a weakness, limiting the brand’s ability to modify and add to the collection. Plus the simple fact is that more people wear round watches and when you are trying to sell a product with a high price tag in a very competitive market, you want to expand your potential target audience as much as possible.
There was of course another very good reason for changing to a round case and that was the fact that MCT Watches had developed a brand new, in-house movement specifically for the S200. Comprised of some 507 pieces, including an 18 carat gold micro-rotor and Traditional Breguet terminal curve, it features a very similar time display to the original S100 but with some subtle but important changes.
As you can see in the pictures the current hour is still framed by the open ‘window’ created by the ‘C-shape’ arc rotating around the centre of the dial, however the minutes are now shown on a separate outside chapter ring. Personally I find this design far more intuitive and easy to read, especially given the redesigned dimensions of the case. The proportions of the classic MCT Watches sapphire sandwich (two parts of golden case separated by a sapphire glass band) have been reimagined, with the watch crystal becoming deeper while the upper part of the case is now more recessed (just look at the side profile and you’ll see what I mean).
At 44.6mm x 14.5mm the new case is admittedly a little large on the wrist, at least for my tastes. This is not a watch you slip away casually under you cuff, this is a show piece plain and simple. That being said, given the unique construction of the 43 part case the watch feels surprisingly light on the wrist, especially given the fact that it is made from 18k gold. Still it does require a certain amount of confidence to wear a watch like this as it is definitely going to attract plenty of attention on the wrist.
What I think many people perhaps overlooked with the new MCT Sequential Two S200 however is what it could potentially mean to the brand going forward. Yes, it was important for MCT Watches to come out with a strong offering this year – which I believe they have – but more importantly it was critical that they laid a foundation upon which they could build a collection in the years to come. For the new MCT Sequential Two S200 the foundation is not the updated case or dial design, rather it is the new automatic movement that has been developed in-house. This is the building block for the future and whilst it does not look like a revolutionary change for the brand just yet, I believe the ensuing years will show that this was the original step that forever altered the path of MCT Watches. Of course only time will tell if I’m right.
The MCT Sequential Two S200 is available in red gold with dark dial elements or white gold with light dial elements, with both retailing for around US$100,000 each without tax.