MW&Co’s exploration of its ASSET model continues. For its latest outing at Baselworld, the collection has been almost completely revisited, whilst preserving its motoring / racing ethos, exemplified by its legendary piston lugs. MW&Co will be unveiling a very unexpected prototype, too!
“We received a very warm welcome at Baselworld last year, and the distinctive nature of our ASSET collection aroused keen interest. The 2019 edition will be addressing this interest – and much more besides,” says Alain Carrère, MW&Co Sales Director.
Following on from the introduction of the ASSET 2.1, the 2019 collection introduces the ASSET 2.2 and ASSET 2.3. In the world of high-performance sports cars from which MW&Co draws its inspiration, models change with each new Grand Prix season. Similarly, the chassis of this new collection remains identical to that of the ASSET 2.1, but the timepiece has been further optimised, tweaked, and fine-tuned, right down to the tiniest details.
The Racing Spirit
Grade 5 titanium has beenused for the case band, the openwork ring, bezel, caseback, flange, crown, pushers, and lugs, all of which make up the housing for the precious 3916A caliber, a two-column-wheel automatic flyback chronograph.
The new ASSET 2.2 and 2.3 also feature a sportier and markedly more assertive design. The crown and pushers have been polished to provide even brighter highlights, as have the bezel edges. To give the dial a more imposing feel, the logo and counters are now relief mounted, creating greater volume and presence on the wrist. The rear side of the piece, beloved of collectors keen to view the ASSET’s powerhouse, has also been reworked in the minutest detail, including an edgier-looking oscillating weight, finished in grey NAC or galvanic black.
One piece, two colours
Two new colours further accentuate the sports / racing theme of these versions. The first is a new black, known as ‘Black Hardeco’, produced using an innovative electroplating method that gives this particular black an infinitely broader palette of shades, ranging from anthracite grey to the darkest of blacks depending on the light.
Alongside it, another new colour for MW&Co is also making its début: orange. This lively, heavy-duty, sporty colour is used to subtle effect on the ASSET 2.2 for the tachymeter scale and chronograph graduations, and in a brighter, more powerful role on the ASSET 2.3 for the flange, jacks, chronograph graduations, and strap overstitching. Two variations of the same piece are thus available to take to the road in sports or racing mode, depending the wearer’s individual preference.
The ASSET 2.2 and 2.3 will be produced in limited editions of just 20 and 50 pieces respectively.
An outstanding prototype
Alongside these two limited editions, MW&Co has chosen Baselworld to announce the prototype of a piece that could go on to become a capsule collection, in a very limited edition of 5 watches per year. “We’ve designed this prototype to show our collectors the extent to which the ASSET can be customised. Our unique piece for Joey Starr has already sparked their curiosity, and the ASSET-Y.E goes even further,” explains Alain Carrère. “It represents a combination of historic and contemporary craftsmanship, blending technical prowess and artisanal knowhow.”
For this unique piece, a Grand Feu enamel ring has been made to measure for the ASSET. This highly advanced technical feat alone required over 60 hours of work, carried out entirely by hand by a French master enameller. The challenge was to give it a perfect texture, and more especially just the right curvature to match the outline of the titanium case to the nearest micron. The goal was to use enamel for a core component of the watch construction itself, rather than just as a feature safely housed on the dial.
From Toulouse to Asia
The motif on this ring is the result of some natural chemistry between artist Julien Soone and the MW&Co teams. Like them, this living legend and pioneer of French graffiti has roots in Toulouse. Later, he moved abroad to Asia, further enriching his culture and motifs with inspiration from China and Japan for another ten years.
The prototype produced jointly by MW&Co and Julien Soone has been dubbed ASSET-Y.E, for ASSET Yakusa Edition. An original fresco runs round the entire circumference of the case, combining industrial graffiti and floral patterns. The ASSET’s surprising and arresting white gold ring thus becomes a medium for a form of modern art, riffing on the age-old art of grand feu enamel – a process that calls for half a dozen perilous sessions in a kiln heated to 800 °C to fire the enamels, each time running the risk of a defect, inclusion, or cracking. The end result is then polished and adjusted to the ASSET-Y.E to the nearest micron, forming an original, one-of-a-kind creation, the colours of which will remain undimmed for centuries to come.