The Minerva Limited Edition
TimeZone Watch

by Richard Paige
Minerva Limited Edition TimeZone Watch

Firstly, I would like to thank Jean-Jacques Frey, President of Minerva, for without his belief in the credibility of TimeZone.Com this watch would of never come to reality.

The project started about 2 years ago. I was having my usual problems trying to convince the great watch Houses of Switzerland, that the internet wasn’t a minefield, but a clever new medium which could transform the way information is gathered. But these Companies kept insisting that if they embraced the internet, it would wreak havoc on the age old distribution system of manufacturer, to distributor, to retailer, to consumer.

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I wanted so desperately to be able to offer the TimeZone audience the opportunity to purchase the best of the best in the watch world here on the site, but the reality was that the great Houses saw this as a act of mutiny.

Then the idea came to me that if I could convince the watch companies to do a special watch strictly for the TimeZone, then it would not interfere with the normal distribution channels, but actually give the end consumer a “special” watch, at a price which would eliminate 2 layers of distribution…directly from the manufacturer to the consumer.

I approached 5 Watch Companies…all brand names that we all love here on TimeZone. Three of the five literally laughed in my face. But two of the companies had their interest sparked. Both of these companies had a broader vision of the market, and both controlled their own destinies. After what seemed like endless hours of discussions on how will this affect the Brand name, to how will the retailers react, to whose going to buy these watches, to how to price the watch…I received a “go”….

After being in the watch business for 30 years, I was finally going to realize one of my dreams…to be an active participant in designing and producing a fine quality watch.

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The Minerva limited Edition Pythagore for TimeZone is the second watch in the series…I personally felt it best to release this watch first, as Minerva is such a “favorite son” here on TimeZone. I wanted the edition to be small, I first thought that 99 would be the perfect size…but the more I thought about it, the more I decided that 49 would be infinitely more desirable…where else can you you acquire such a small edition of a world class watch, without paying a King’s ransom??…here on TimeZone!

The watch is the Classic Pythagore, with swan’s neck regulateur…the dial is a collaboration between myself, Michel Schmutz (The USA Minerva Distributor), and Jean-Jacques Frey (President of Minerva). I wanted something that evoked a vintage feel, since the Pythagore is a watch that was first created in 1943, by Andre Frey, Father to the present owner of Minerva, Jean-Jacques. So we went with this special dial, with the “burnt sienna” colored Arabic numbers and hands. The watch is signed and numbered on the side of the case, in a limited worldwide edition of 49. The Dial has the “TZ ” logo directly below the Minerva logo.

We felt that the band color complements the black dial and that the sienna colored numbers, and the Minerva Folding Buckle, completes the creation.

Each watch came in a
“TimeZone” leather zippered watch wallet. This wallet is embossed with the TimeZone name on the cover, and has 2 compartments to hold 2 watches for travel or storage. The watch was fully warranted by Minerva, and had an international warranty, good for 1 year.

The cost was $1300…and the watch sold out within 7 months.


The Pythagore

The exceptional feature of this watch is that the aesthetic considerations on which the external appearance of the watch are based also form a key element in the design of the movement. In the Minerva movement 10 1/2 no. 48, created in 1943 by Andre Frey, the bridges are positioned using aesthetically appealing mathematical proportions. It uses the ideal proportions defined by the Golden Section , the discovery of which is attributed to Pythagorus. This proportion is always pleasing to the human eye.

The design of the bridges also features straight lines positioned at angles of 0°, 45° or 90° to the horizontal.

Stainless steel case, 34 mm in diameter, 8.9 mm high, 30 meters water resistant, sapphire curved Crystal, see through exhibition back, tan leather strap, steel Minerva folding buckle.

Signed limited edition of 49 pieces worldwide.

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Minerva caliber 48.


  • Mechanical, hand-winding
  • Movement with five bridges, rhodium plated,18 jewels
  • Diameter: 23.60 mm Height: 3.80 mm
  • Lever escapement 18,000 Bph
  • Balance with screws, incabloc shockabsorber
  • Escape wheel bridge with endpiece
  • 45 hour power reserve
  • “Cotes de Geneve” decor milled
    with a boxwood tool.

In retrospect, I feel that the watch was a huge success. I understood that price would be the main consideration for the TimeZone audience, and since my “neck was on the block”, I needed to come up with a “no excuse watch”, that is, value for the dollar with no excuses needed. It was initially determined that the price would be somewhere between $1500 and $1700 with the TZ leather watch case, but as we got closer to the release date, we all agreed that the “best Buy” we could offer would be the same price as the production model. Other “Great Swiss Watch Houses” always released the limited editions at a much higher price than a similar production model, but we felt that we broke tradition with this price and edition number. Also, a major consideration was that it was of the utmost importance to sell out the edition within a year, so price could either make or break the project.

What does the future value hold for this watch? …I believe that as Minerva gets a wider audience than just the hard core watch enthusiasts, that the value of the whole Minerva line will be more understood in relation to the other Great Houses prices, and that the Limited Edition TZ Pythagore will hold it’s value, due to market fluctuations of supply and demand, and have a very good chance of appreciating in value through auction sales and sales on TimeZone.

Hope you enjoyed this article.

Best Regards,
Richard Paige