Watches & Jewellery

A Clock That Runs on Air?

The ingredients of a cool timekeeping project: a clock that runs on air, a prominent guest designer and generous sci-fi feels.
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Picture this: an airtight capsule shaped like an accordion’s bellows is filled with a mix of heat-sensitive gases. As the ambient temperature fluctuates throughout the day, the capsule expands and contracts, transforming those subtle variations into mechanical energy.

Marc Newson is also the designer of the Apple Watch.

That mind-boggling feat of engineering is the wow factor of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s futuristic Atmos clock. For nearly 90 years, it has assumed many compelling guises, from the highly artistic (including a handful decked with precious wood marquetry that paid tribute to the masterpieces of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt) to the more contemporary (two of which were dreamt up in collaboration with Marc Newson). “The Atmos is a timepiece that I have loved since I first saw one when I was a teenager,” recalls the Australian design extraordinaire who had previously designed the Atmos 561 and the Atmos 566 for Jaeger-LeCoultre. “It is as if it is a living thing. You have the feeling that it can sense your presence, which I find strangely comforting.”

Continuing from where he left off, Newson returns to create his third Atmos clock for the Le Sentier brand. And the result looks like it came straight out of a Star Trek movie. The ingenious mechanism of the new sci-fi-looking Atmos 568 is seemingly suspended – like a ship inside a glass bottle – within a transparent, rounded cuboid case that is hand-blown by top French crystal maker Baccarat. It tells the time, keeps track of the date and even displays the moon phase. The most impressive part: a one degree Celsius change in ambient temperature can power the clock for 48 hours.

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