A Swiss watch invites you to take your time

The watch indicates when to think before you act pd

A small company from western Switzerland has come up with a novel idea in a watch that advises you to have a break for 90 minutes to take time for reflection.

This content was published on April 12, 2008 - 18:36

The world first brings together a Swiss timepiece and a key element of an Indian calendar, the Panchang, which is more than 3,000 years old.

Two entrepreneurs from Gland are now gearing up to put their brainchild - the Panchang watch - on the market under the brand name BorgeauD.

"This watch is unique because it gives another dimension of time," co-founder Marc Aeschbacher, a former financial trader, told swissinfo.

Apart from telling you the normal time, it automatically displays a daily 90-minute sequence called the Rahu period, considered all-important in India.

"Nothing important happens in India without consulting the Rahu period, so that's why it's critical," business partner, Chitra Subramaniam, explained.

Time for reflection

"It's considered a time for reflection when certain aspects of the moon are not the best for taking action," she added.

Subramaniam, a former journalist, said the Panchang almanac contained thousands of calculations on the movements of the sun, the moon and various planets. Four or five elements were critical, she said, including the Rahu period.

The problem is that the Rahu does not take place at the same time every day, for example it takes place on Mondays in the morning, on Tuesday in the afternoon and on Wednesdays at noon.

With none of the big watchmaking groups thinking of such a challenge, the two entrepreneurs took the bull by the horns, did some research, found watchmakers who could realise such a complication and have now patented a movement.

But the Panchang watch is more than just a timepiece with a complication.

"If you look at the entire notion of time and you go through all the watch museums, it's always one more tourbillon or one more complication – something complicated for the sake of being complicated."

A tourbillon is a device in a mechanical watch that compensates for the pull of gravity.

Functional

"But here we are saying this is a watch that is functional. It is complicated because it is non-consecutive but it's actually catering to a need. We're not creating a need," Subramaniam said.

The watch shows the Rahu period on the left hand side of the dial and on the right there is a physical display of the 90 minutes of reflection in real time.

Not surprisingly the Panchang has aroused considerable attention but this was not the case at the beginning.

"The interest was one of curiosity and to be frank we got the impression that people didn't take us seriously. But it's just the opposite now, it's got a huge amount of interest," Subramanian said.

While the two friends feel there is big potential in India, Europeans also seem to be taking a good look.

"In Europe, I think people like it because this is a completely new idea and we tell people that they can have an appointment with themselves every day for 90 minutes. They love that. This is the only watch that tells you 'just wait'."

swissinfo, Robert Brookes

Panchang watch

It was presented at this year's Baselworld watch and jewellery fair in April.

The Panchang range will include mechanical and quartz watches.

Other watches that have been developed by the company incorporating aspects of the Panchang include a chronograph and a tourbillon.

The company says the range is unique in that it does not "create a need" or promote a lifestyle. Rather it caters to an existing need that no Swiss watch has attempted until now.

Retail prices start at about $2,700 (SFr2,695) but Subramanian says "the sky is the limit" for people who want their own special stones on the watch.

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Rahu timings

Monday 7.30am to 9.00am
Tuesday 3.00pm to 4.30pm
Wednesday 12.00 noon to 1.30pm
Thursday 1.30pm to 3.00pm
Friday 10.30am to 12.00 noon
Saturday 9.00am to 10.30am
Sunday 4.30pm to 6.00pm

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