Hartwig's Signature Composition | MISSION Collection: "BR" References

The "Black & Rhodium" line of references found in the Mission Collection speaks to the core principles found in the TWC approach to fine watchmaking. Hartwig Balke's first conceived M250 Series that would follow years after his iconic "space chronograph" in 2000 featured the same palette and applications seen in the "BR" references available today.

FUNCTIONS: Quickset Day, Date, Month, Moonphase, Minute-Counter & Hour-Counter with Stop-Function, Central Chronograph with Stop-Function, Tachymeter for Average Speed

Towson's new watchmakers were given the privilege to work with Co-Founder Hartwig Balke to kick off 2023. Together, they built fifteen MM250-2-BR timepieces at the TWC workshop in Baltimore, MD.

"BR" Reference Attributes:

Gloss-Coated Black Guilloche-Style Dial

Rhodium-Plated Hands & Hour-Markers

"Blank-Face Moonphase Window"

Skeleton Rotor

MISSION MOON | SERIES TWO Attributes: Full Calendar Chronograph, Swiss-Made Caliber 7751 Automatic Movement, Chronometer Grade Accuracy +/- 5 seconds/daily, German Satin-Finish Stainless Steel Case, 50 Meter Water-Resistance

Designed, handcrafted, and recommended by the master watchmaker himself - Hartwig Balke. This custom reference variant of the Mission Moon | Series Two features our founder’s signature "black rhodium" composition. The opulent presence on the wrist and consistent pairing of rhodium applications on the dial gives to clear readability and precise measurements in all light conditions.

As a German engineer, Hartwig Balke seeks elegance in his utilitarian-based design language. Consistency across texture, shape and color is a practical means to luxurious ends. Uncalled-for splashes of color, clashing shapes, and impractical contrasts used to achieve aesthetic often jeopardizes utility. A watchmaker who engages in these practices can't consider their product the result of fine watchmaking. The instrument becomes a piece of jewelry rather than a tool in these instances.

"The purpose of design is usefulness. Usefulness includes aesthetics. The instrument made for the wearer's use should be made conscientiously and well, but simple and without anything superfluous."

Limited to 15 timepieces (Ref. BR) within (Ref. MM250-2) each individually-numbered 1-250. Handcrafted & Authorized by Hartwig Balke.

TIMELINE : Replacing White with Rhodium

Hartwig Balke's first Mission Chronograph in the year 2000 was made for a NASA astronaut to be used in outer space. It was worn by Commander Thiele on a STS-99 mission, mapping the Earth for six months on the Endeavour Spacecraft.

The commissioned item came with the following requests:

Chronometer Grade Accuracy (+/-5 seconds a day)

Automatic Movement

Sapphire Crystal

Readable & Clear

The timepieces that Towson Watch Company made for the mission in outer space would feature the requested horological needs above. Presented with a high-contrast two-tone palette, Roman numerals, and an elegantly textured surface.
TWC MISSION I: Now featuring a mirror-finish, guilloche-style and blued-steel cathedral hands on a silver dial.

The commemorative line of TWC chronographs that would follow began to part away from the sporty aesthetic and lean towards elegance. The new market for these chronographs were no longer astronauts. The design language had to be appropriated for collectors, enthusiasts and business professionals.

MISSION M250-1 : Now featuring rhodium-plated hour markers, hands, and dial rings. With a brushed case, Arabic numerals & the TWC shield logo.

With the first M250 Series of 250 timepieces released back in 2015 into select retailers, the aim of formalizing the sporty nature of the chronograph continued as a priority. But Hartwig Balke recognized that he may have undermined his core design principles in the former MISSION I. While the same instrumental utility of his first "space chronograph" remained in the timepiece, the identity of this "use value as a tool" had been lost.

The Roman numerals didn't allow for precise measurements. The dial was printed and flat. The high-polish case could be easily scratched and the cathedral-style hands have no right being on a sport-watch.

With the M250-1, Hartwig decided that he must return to the original "space chronograph" design to recapture the innate identity of his Mission Collection. This entailed returning to the black & white two-tone palette and sharpening the hands. To keep the opulence, there is nothing more suitable than rhodium, a material more expensive than platinum. The application of rhodium throughout the black dial successfully balanced the two opposing personalities of the former Mission Chronographs. Revealing the mere luxury of a tool as itself.

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