For the next 10 years, John
worked on various designs. In 1998, he secured financing from friends
to develop his work, and in 1999, he filed for a Swiss patent on his
invention. John filed for worldwide patents in 2000, and that same
year he began working on prototypes with watchmakers Robert Greubel
and Stephen Forsey. Robert was a prototypist with IWC from 1987 to
1989. He worked for renowned complication specialist Renaud &
Papi from 1990 to 1999, and for seven of those years he was a
partner and Vice-General Director. In 1999, Robert, along with Stephen
Forsey, founded CompliTime
in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Stephen Forsey was born in the UK, and he is a graduate with honors of
the British Horological Institute. He received further watchmaking education
during 1988 and 1990 at WOSTEP in Neuchatel. He worked for Renaud
& Papi from 1992 to 1999, and since then he has been a partner in CompliTime.
Together, John and the Cyclos team built what
is now known as the “dual phase module”, shown in Figures 1 and 2
on the right. This device, which contains 40 parts, controls the hour hand’s extension and retraction as it
moves around the dial. The hour hand (shown in purple) is attached to
a finger (shown in turquoise), which is attached to a radially adjustable
arm (shown in orange). The pin of the finger attaches to the hour hand from
below, near the tip. The arm to which the finger attaches, and other
parts of the module, are hidden by a disk that sits on top of the
dial, just below the hands, as can be seen in Figure 3. This
arrangement creates the impression that the hour hand is floating in
space, as can be seen in the graphic at the top of this article. A series of planetary gears work to maintain the hour hand on
the correct axis, and allow it to extend and retract by 3.5 mm as it
makes its two cycles around the dial each 24 hours.
Figure 1, a
computer rendering of the dual phase module
Figure 2, dual phase module
Figure 3, detail
the Cyclos dial.