For some reason, watches with a jumping-hour complication always intrigue me. The fact that they don’t necessarily need to have traditional hands inspires designers to do things differently. They come up with original ways of displaying the time. Sometimes, there’s just a simple hour window and an additional minute hand. But the watches can also have a more complex dial layout with, for example, retrograde minute and date displays. In this edition of Pre-Owned Spotlight, I’ll take a look at some nice examples of jumping-hour watches.

I was inspired when I wrote an article on recent releases from both Chanel and Chopard. The Quattro Spirit 25 and Superleggera are both very tasteful examples of what a more classic and a more modern jumping-hour watch can look like. But there have been a lot more interesting releases. Look, for example, at Balazs’s hands-on with the SpaceOne Jumping Hour Destro Forged Carbon. Last year, Fears also made a very elegant burgundy Jump-Hour edition of its Brunswick. These fairly recent releases made me more curious to see what kind of jumping-hour watches are out there on the pre-owned market. Let’s take a look.

jumping-hour watches Bell & Ross 123 Heure Sautante

Image: Relojes La Hora

Bell & Ross 123 Heure Sautante

To start, I’d like to highlight a few options I encountered from Bell & Ross. This is certainly not the first brand I think about when it comes to watches with interesting complications. However, the brand does or did release quite a few jumping-hour watches. It’s true, though, that some designs work a bit better than others. With this complication, you always have to take into account that the minute hand, at some point, might block the view on the hour window. It seems like the designers at Bell & Ross weren’t taking this into account when working on the 123 Heure Sautante.

Image: Relojes La Hora

The big blued minute hand seems to cover the hour window right at the magical moment when the hour changes. That, however, doesn’t mean I don’t like this watch. Adding the bold power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock makes this a watch with a healthy dose of individuality. And in its 38mm brushed platinum case, it looks almost like a field watch. I certainly wouldn’t mind wearing this one on a nicely worn NATO strap. By the way, €6,900 doesn’t seem like a lot of money for such a watch, right? But if you’re looking for something a bit more elegant, the WW1 might be more your cup of tea.

Bell & Ross released the WW1 Heure Sautante with either a platinum or rose gold case around 2012. Each case had a specific dial configuration. I prefer the very minimalistic gray one with a lot of open space. But the white-dial version also looks nice with its more Bauhaus-like style. It’s quite difficult to find either of these watches for sale at the moment, though.

jumping-hour watches Gérald Genta 3634

Image: The Vintage Hunters

Gérald Genta’s jumping-hour models

Then we come to a more famous watch designer, Gérald Genta, and his jumping-hour watches. You’ve probably seen the Mickey Mouse versions of these. However, I prefer the cleaner versions because they remind me of the dashboards in classic cars.

Image: The Vintage Hunters

Look, for example, at this reference 3634 that came out at the end of the ’90s. It has big, funky numerals filled with good ol’ tritium along the retrograde minute track. The numerals have a nice patina now that matches nicely with the blued minute hand, and the hour is displayed in a big window at 6 o’clock. The window itself and its border are a bit curved, and the numerals on the hour disc are very bold. Another great thing is that it’s only 36mm in diameter. Plus, its €7,500 asking price also doesn’t seem too unreasonable to me.

jumping-hour watches Gérald Genta Bi-Retro

Image: Christie’s Watches

If you’d like to add a retrograde date into the mix, then reference 3734 might be more your cup of tea. Its hour window is placed up top at the usual 12 o’clock position, and the date complication is on the bottom half of the dial. Of these two watches, I think I prefer the first version just because it’s a little bolder and the tritium adds a little extra to it. However, the asking price of €8,270 isn’t bad for a watch with double-retrograde and jumping-hour complications.

jumping-hour watches Breguet Classique 3620

Image: Black Tag Watches

Breguet does it better

This last watch is in a different league when it comes to price, but I feel it’s worth it. Ever since I bought my Breguet Classique 5907, I’ve been staying on the lookout for other interesting references. What I love about that 5907 is how clean it looks with the straightforward dial layout and hand-guilloché finish. When I stumbled upon this reference 3620, I was again positively surprised. It might even be a little bit cleaner than my 5907 since there’s just a minute hand in the center and an hour window at 12 o’clock.

jumping-hour watches Breguet Classique 3620

Image: Black Tag Watches

I was also surprised to read that this platinum watch is only 36mm wide and 7.5mm thick. That makes it a fantastic size for a Breguet with an automatic movement. Of course, the dial is beautifully finished, and the hours are printed in red to make them stand out a bit more. As a cherry on the cake, the crown is set with a blue sapphire that matches the heat-blued minute hand and the alligator strap. As I said, you will have to dig a little deeper inside your pocket because this one will set you back US$25,500.

There you have it — a few interesting pre-owned jumping-hour watches. What do you think of these options, and do you know of any other good examples on the secondhand market? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Featured image: Black Tag Watches