The Cyrus Klepcys GMT Retrograde is the latest creation from the Le Locle based brand and its inspirational master watchmaker, Jean-François Mojon. After previously reviewing the brand’s Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon and falling for its charms, Carl Eady was keen to review another of the Swiss marque’s distinctive creations.
Jean-François Mojon grew up in a small village not far from Le Locle. His father was a watchmaker and proved a source of inspiration to Mojon. From a young age, he was fascinated with the creation of movements, so it was perhaps inevitable that he would choose a career in the watch industry. He studied for a Diploma in Engineering and Microtechnology in Le Locle. Thereafter, Mojon went on to work for brands within the Swatch Group, before becoming the Technical Director of IWC. Ultimately, his overriding ambition led him to form his own company, Chronode, in 2005.
Initially, Chronode specialised in developing movements equipped with exceptional complications. The firm, based in Le Locle, has built an enviable list of clients, including Czapek, Hermès, HYT, MB&F and many others. Many of these collaborations have seen Mojon and his clients win prestigious awards. Indeed, he won the ‘Best Watchmaker Prize’ at GPHG 2010.
Since 2011, Mojon and Chronode have worked in collaboration with Cyrus, assuming responsibility for the production of the watch brand’s creations. In so doing, Mojon has created a unique design language, including multi-layered dials and cushion-shaped cases. The brand’s distinctive dual crown designs provide a further point of differentiation as well as delivering a pleasing symmetry. Cyrus Klepcys GMT Retrograde timepieces tend to be eye-catching and predominantly feature cases measuring 45mm or more, making them ideally suited for the more adventurous collector.
The Swiss firm’s latest creation, the Cyrus Klepcys GMT Retrograde , was requested by the brand’s well-travelled Managing Director, Walter Ribaga. Its design is thoroughly modern, yet upholds the design language that Cyrus fans have come to love. It is spectacular but also practical, both in form and function. Its comparatively restrained dimensions of 42mm subscribe to present-day trends, while the user-friendly dual time zone function ably fulfils the needs of today’s international traveller.
The Cyrus Klepcys GMT Retrograde subscribes to the brand’s ‘tried and tested’ cushion-shaped case design but, as stated earlier, it has been pared back to 42mm. The case has been made considerably thinner and now measures 13.9mm. Fashioned from lightweight Grade 5 titanium, the housing is a wonderful exhibition of contrasts, mixing high grade polishing with fine brushwork. Each elongated lug is accompanied by a deep recess, reinforcing the model’s contemporary persona. The sense of symmetry is conferred by the ‘twin crowns’ positioned at 3 and 9 o’clock, a stylish trademark common to all Cyrus creations. The sapphire glass, positioned to the front and rear, has been treated with anti-reflective coating, bestowing superb views of the wizardry within.
The dial of the Klepcys GMT Retrograde is comprised of multiple layers, delivering a wonderful three-dimensional appearance. A sapphire disc forms the upper layer, it is adorned with luminescent Arabic numerals and features the Cyrus moniker, presented in a contemporary font, at 12 o’clock. The rhodium-plated hands are part skeletonised and incorporate a generous application of Super-LumiNova
. The arrow-shaped GMT hand is presented in a prominent shade of royal blue and complements the blue lacquered track of the GMT display. At the 6 o’clock position sits a small seconds display, decorated with a raised triangle pattern and finished in black PVD. Each 5-second marker is white and luminescent, while a helix-shaped hand, also the brand’s logo, imparts meaning. Perhaps the most extraordinary feature in the display is the upper plate. Originating from the 6 o’clock position, its arms are finished with satin and microbillé finishes and extend to the hour markers positioned at the dial’s periphery, delivering a dramatic sunburst effect. By skeletonising this plate, the beauty of the movement’s gear train is revealed.
To date, the name Cyrus is inextricably linked with Mojon, whose credibility is at the heart of each of the brand’s timepieces. To power the Cyrus Klepcys GMT Retrograde, the team created a new in-house calibre, the the self-winding CYR708 comprised of some 278 parts. The movement is a derivative of Chronode’s excellent C102 movement and carries a 5-year guarantee. Visible through the exhibition caseback, the movement features bridges presented in grey anthracite NAC, decorated with a slightly curving sunray motif and embellished with satin and microbillé finishes. The oscillating weight sports fine brushwork and is also skeletonised, giving brief glimpses of the rubies, balance wheel and mirrored screws that sparkle among the movement’s grey canvas. Beating at 4Hz (28,800 vph), the movement will run autonomously for 55 hours once fully wound.
Most watches in the luxury world are paired with alligator straps. Personally, I find it refreshing to see some that some brands are now favouring environmentally and ethically sourced alternatives. For the Klepcys GMT Retrograde, Cyrus has selected a caoutchouc (natural rubber) strap. Sitting neatly between the lugs, the jet-black strap sports the Cyrus logo and is secured with a folding clasp.
In my opinion, Cyrus is one of the most exciting independent watch brands of recent years, often delighting watch aficionados by pushing horological boundaries. Its designs have a healthy appreciation for traditional watchmaking techniques but merge that respect with innovative movements and daring design.
There is a palpable sense of passion which pervades the Cyrus brand and the models it makes. The GMT Retrograde proves no exception. The design is eye-catching, modern and unique, all highly admirable qualities and attributes which Cyrus has repeatedly demonstrated since its foundation in 2010. Furthermore, the firm’s highly skilled team have combined said attributes with exceptional practicality. Indeed, the Cyrus Klepcys GMT Retrograde is comfortable, legible and simple to understand. By adding this new model to the Cyrus portfolio, the brand’s extraordinary appeal has been elevated, potentially enticing new buyers to this fascinating marque.