If the Di Grisogono Meccanica DG was the first watch with a mechanical-digital display, the Opus 8 watch by Harry Winston comes in at a close second. While the DG used mechanical tubes to display the time, the Opus 8 works using a complicated system of mechanical pixels that rise up from the display when the user activates a mechanism on the side of the case. But that's not all.
From the press release:
An exceptional and advanced timepiece, Opus 8 utilizes hand-wound mechanical movements to create a modern, digital time display. Inspired by pin art games, which create 3D impressions of objects pressed against them, the numbers in the display will only appear "upon request," activated by a bolt on the right hand side of the case. Nothing appears until the mechanism is wound.
A plate joins together small segments, both mobile and fixed. Just underneath is a disc driven by the movement, which turns independently in real time. When the mechanism is wound, the pieces adjust to display the time. As the plate descends, the small segments remain visible, "blocked" by the crystal, allowing the hour to be read for 5 seconds. Technically, all functions are related, enabling everything to be displayed on demand - the minute hand turns the hour that then turns the AM/PM function.
In addition, the back of the watch features a design resembling a printed circuit that functions as a second time display. AM and PM status are featured on the left, hours and minutes in the center, and a power reserve indicator is located on the right. Throw all of that fancy technology in a case with a cool looking retro vibe and you have yourself one hell of a timepiece. Just don't get your hopes up about owning one yourself. The series is limited to 50 watches and the rumor is that they were sold out before the unveiling. [Worldtempus via Watchismo and ViaLuxe]