Unlike a conventional watch that uses hands to display the time, jump (or jumping) hour watches employ a rotating disc printed with digits. Every 60 minutes, the disc instantly advances to reveal the subsequent hour number through an aperture in the dial, while the minutes are indicated with a separate display, often a retrograde.
Though it dates to 19th century pocket watches, the streamlined and animated digital time display imbues contemporary wristwatches with a sense of modernity and elegance, qualities exhibited in new designs from DeBethune, DeWitt, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Oris, which debuted its first jump hour timepiece this year.
Oris' Artelier Jumping Hour (4,100 Sw. francs) offers a more value-driven alternative to this year's pricier jump-hour lineup. The automatic Oris 917 movement is based on a Sellita SW300, with the hour aperture at 12 o'clock, a decentralized minute counter, and a small seconds display at 6 o'clock.
In an unusual design flourish, the minutes and seconds displays intersect. Polished nickel hands and indices highlight the silver dial that has been stamped with a sunray pattern evoking the refinement of expensive guilloché engraving.
The multipiece, stainless-steel case and crown, which provide water-resistance down to five bar, are matched with a sapphire crystal that is domed on both sides and treated with an anti-reflective coating. The screwed case back also uses sapphire crystal to reveal the movement. For those who prefer not to follow the crowd, a jump hour makes a distinctive style statement that also exhibits a dynamic personality at the turn of every hour.
For more, see Jump Hour Watches.