C3H5N309 - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV Hong Kong Friday, May 27, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: C3H5N309
    Year: Circa 2016
    Reference No: ZR17052016
    Case No: NZR1256
    Model Name: Experiment ZR012
    Material: Black Zirconium
    Calibre: Manual, 42 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Calf
    Clasp/Buckle: Titanium C3H5N309 deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 55mm length x 44mm width
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied with C3H5N309 warranty dated 18th May 2016, instruction manual, leather holder, inca case, fitted presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    A collaboration between two of the most creative brainchild in haute horology, the C3H5N309 ZR012 is a passion project that stormed up between MB&F (Max Büsser and Serge Kriknoff) and Urwerk(Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei) since 2008. With a name that reminds one of a complex molecular formula from a periodic table, the name C3H5N309 is indeed the chemical symbol for the explosive compound Nitroglycerin. Launched in 2012 with their first Experiment ZR012, the project took over four years of R&D to realize.

    Distinctive in design like no other, the timepiece is in an asymmetrical zirconium case with titanium articulated lugs designed by Eric Giroud. Housed inside its futuristic exterior, the timepiece features a Wankel engine-inspired hour and minute indication that dates all the way back to 1919 where Felix Wankel, a young 17 years old German gentlemen dreamt of a new type of engine; combining intake, compression, combustion and exhaust in one single rotation with the use of epicycloid orbital Reuleaux polygon rotors. An epitrochoid is a very complex shape traced by a point on a small circle rotating around the perimeter of a larger circle and plotting that shape involves seriously complex mathematics. Pioneering in the use of epicycloid in comparison to traditional reciprocating engines operated by pistons that reciprocate four times for every cycle, the Wankel engine is smoother, more compact and reliable.

    Fast forward to the modern era with the Experiment ZR012, time is indicated by the red tips of two Reuleaux polygon rotors tracing epitrochoid curves rather than circles. Perhaps rocket science to a layman, it is understood that creating the complex shape of the hour and minute curves took extremely high precision which required the plotting of 180 separate points. Complicated as it sounds, time reading on the watch is simple and instant.

    Limited to 12 pieces only, the present ZR012 is the second variant that was released in 2013 made with a flat out cool matt black appearance in black zirconium. A horological chain reaction of pure mechanical prowess and vision, the ZR012 beats at 4Hz and has a power reserve of 39 hours exhibited on the caseback with luminous indication.

    Sleek in design, the 55mm long timepiece wears with comfort thanks to the long articulated lugs reminiscent of the MB&F HM4 design conceived by the same genius Eric Giroud. With the multi-layered architecture exposed via the open-worked display, the watch is spectacular and perfect for the fans of the two independent brands. Fresh-to-the-auction-market and presented with an impressive presentation accessories, the present timepiece is offered by the original owner in pristine condition with its original warranty signed by the creators of this exquisite steampunk machine.

Property from the Original Owner


Ref. ZR17052016
A rare, eccentric, unusual and “like-new” black zirconium wristwatch with Wankel inspired engine, power reserve indication, articulated lugs, warranty and presentation box, made in a limited edition of 12 pieces in collaboration with MB&F and Urwerk

Circa 2016
55mm length x 44mm width
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

HK$350,000 - 650,000 

Sold for HK$945,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia 
+852 2318 2031

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV

Hong Kong Auction 27 - 28 May 2022