The long-awaited Fleming Series 1 is finally here, with Comblémine dials and a stunning Chronode movement (live pics) The long-awaited Fleming Series 1 is finally here, with Comblémine dials and a stunning Chronode movement (live pics)

The long-awaited Fleming Series 1 is finally here, with Comblémine dials and a stunning Chronode movement (live pics)

Borna Bošnjak
  • Thomas Fleming assembles the horological Avengers for an ultra-high end debut
  • Kari Voutilainen’s Comblémine is responsible for the hand-finished dials, while Chronode’s Jean-François Mojon helped develop the highly decorated movement
  • Available in three metals, Fleming is already planning a second watch, to be designed by Offshore creator Emmanuel Gueit

It’s not every day we witness the birth of a new brand, and very few are as special as what Fleming seems poised to become. Unlike many haute horlogerie marks, however, Fleming is not the brainchild of a watchmaker, but rather a young enthusiast who became enamoured with watches at quite a late stage in life. Clearly, this had little effect on the amount of enthusiasm Thomas Fleming poured into his first creation, nor the incredible pull to simply assemble the minds that made the Series 1 Launch Edition come to life with the help of James Kong (who you may know on Instagram as @waitlisted) acting as COO. Just hearing the names Voutilainen, Mojon and Gueit would make you think the watch in question is some new MB&F, or perhaps the long-awaited revival of Harry Winston’s Opus series. Let’s take a closer look at what this exciting revelation is all about.

fleming series 1 tantalum dial close up

And what better way to begin than with the dials. The three examples presented at launch all exhibit different capabilities of the Comblémine workshop, and the tantalum piece we got our hands on prior to the launch likely strays furthest from their signature look. Instead of an opulent, delectable guilloché, we get a tuxedo dial composed of frosted platinum and star-scattered aventurine. The prominent indices at the cardinal points echo the shape of the cow horn lugs, while the others display a great level of hand-polishing. Bisecting the platinum and aventurine discs is a circularly brushed ring for the small seconds, a natural choice for a contemporary take on haute horlogerie.

fleming series 1 platinum dial close up

Fear not, dear reader, as Mr Voutilainen and co. surely couldn’t rest had they not had a chance to exhibit their skills with a rose engine. The platinum Series 1 in particular is likely the best example of their craft, with three different guilloché patterns adorning the dial. The highly contrasting, warm tones were at first a surprising choice given the white metal chosen for the case, but I guess that’s one way to show off the dial’s many textures.

fleming series 1 rose gold dial close up

In case I wake up with a spare CHF 50k burning a Fleming-shaped hole in my pocket, my choice would be the rose gold number, combining a guilloché pattern I don’t think I’ve ever seen before for the hour ring, with a hand-hammered disc for the inner portions of the dial.

fleming series 1 tantalum movement caseback

We can’t spend any more time talking about the Fleming Series 1 without mentioning the FM-01 movement. Before getting into the nitty gritty of its decoration, though, a word on Jean-François Mojon and Chronode. After a stint at IWC, Mojon created Chronode in 2005, and has since done work for Czapek, Harry Winston, Hermès, HYT, MB&F, and Urban Jürgensen, while at the same time being the Technical Director at Cyrus. Oh, and he was also named best independent watchmaker at the 2010 GPHG awards. See what I mean regarding the horological Avengers?

Back to the FM-01, Fleming chose Chronode’s C101 calibre as inspiration, but modified it to their needs with a new, black-polished balance bridge and click spring assembly, while also adding a power reserve indication to the back of the movement. The result is a seven-day power reserve, manually wound calibre beating at 3Hz that clocks in at around 4mm in height. The immediate attention-grabbers are undoubtedly the two semi-skeletonised ratchet wheels, with the black-polished surfaces and frosted, bevelled cut-outs representing Fleming’s logo.

fleming series 1 tantalum movement close up

And though the lugs don’t seem like they’d be too accommodating to wearing the watch back-to-front, I would be completely supportive of any such attempts. The FM-01 is everything you’d expect from a watch like this, and is almost teasing in its restraint. Rather than fully skeletonising the components, Chronode only partially expose the gear train, framing this vista via a complex, bevelled (with internal angles, of course) cut-out in the frosted plate, at the same time implementing a clever power reserve indicating how much of the seven-day store you’ve used up. I was surprised to see, however, that the spokes of the gears haven’t been bevelled. All in all, I’m glad that the surfaces filling in the gaps between the black-polished components have been left côtes de Genève-free and frosted instead, as it really lets the bevels and polishing shine. Oh and just to dismay any potential “but it’s not in-house” comments, please refer to my thoughts here.

fleming series 1 tantalum wrist

Though their execution may not jump out like it does with the dials or movement, you can bet your bottom dollar Fleming didn’t skimp on the cases, either. Their dimensions are confidently measured, with a 38.5mm diameter, 9mm height, and 46mm lug-to-lug. In my opinion, and I’m sure many other enthusiasts’, this is pretty much perfect for the audience Fleming is trying to capture with his first release.

fleming series 1 tantalum case profile wrist

The focus was in particular on the sculpted lugs and mid-case, as well as the cohesion between the two. It’s no secret that cow horn lugs are a fan-favourite, and with the Fleming Series 1, their skeletonised sides flow into the middle of the three-part main case ringed by a polished band. Whether rose gold, platinum or tantalum, the switching of polished and brushed is impressive.

Coming up on four years in the works in total, I can still remember those first teasers on Instagram that revealed naught but the brand logo almost two years ago. With each new snippet, be it the edge of a lug or a pulled-back shot of Casper Ruud’s wrist, it was clear that Fleming’s first release will be a little bit special. What a name to just subtly drop in there, hey? And that’s not all – the collaboration with the three-time Grand Slam finalist is slated to bear fruit with the Series 1 Ghost, an ultra-lightweight version of the watch presented today. And that’s not all, either, as the Series 2 is already being teased by the brand, with Audemars Piguet Offshore creator Emmanuel Gueit signed on for the design. Not much to say other than, exciting times.

Fleming Series 1 Launch Edition pricing and availability

The Fleming Series 1 is limited to seven pieces in rose gold, nine pieces in platinum and 25 pieces in tantalum, all individually numbered. Price: CHF 45,500 (tantalum), CHF 48,500 (rose gold), CHF 51,500 (platinum)

Brand Fleming
Model Series 1 Launch Edition
Case Dimensions 38.5mm (D) x 9mm (T) x 46.5mm (LTL)
Case Material Tantalum, rose gold or platinum
Water Resistance N/A
Crystal(s) Domed sapphire front, sapphire back
Dial Hand guilloché and hammering (rose gold)
Hand guilloché (platinum)
Platinum and aventurine (tantalum)
Lug Width 21mm
Bracelet Grey crocodile leather, case-matching pin buckle
Movement FM-01, by Jean-François Mojon and Chronode, manual winding
Power Reserve 168 hours (7 days)
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, power reserve indicator
Availability 7 pieces (rose gold)
9 pieces (platinum)
25 pieces (tantalum)
Price CHF 45,500 (tantalum)
CHF 48,500 (rose gold)
CHF 51,500 (platinum)