What is a jumping hours watch and how does it work?

If you are looking to get a unique-style timepiece and in a reasonable budget, you should definitely consider checking out jumping hours and regulator watches! Let’s have a look into this rare complication dear watchgeeks!

What is a jumping hours watch?

Jumping watches are referring to a specific kind of displaying time. Hours and minutes are said to be “jumping” when hands or discs are moving instantaneously after each time period relative to its function. An hour long period for hour function and so on…

Usually, this complication is displayed through apertures on the dial like on the Audemars Piguet example below. Rotating discs are used to display time, moving each hour or each minute to display the right time. On the Audemars Piguet below, only the hour disc is jumping. The minute one in in constant movement and the pointer indicates the time. Discs are synchronized to moving pallets, rotating according to their indication.

Audemars Piguet jumping hours


Jumping functions require a specific additional plate to calibres (unlike regulators requiring only specific pivots’ positioning).

IWC jumping hours and minutes

A jumping watch can feature both jumping hours and minutes like the IWC pocket watches above, or “only” a jumping hour paired with a minutes hand like the MeisterSinger below.

MeisterSinger jumping hours

Some watches, can also provide jumping hours, minutes and a minute repeater like this amazing A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk!

A. Lange and Sohne Zeitwerk

Why using such a display?!

For design for god’s sake!

The first jumping hour watches were recorded in the XVIIIth century. But the rise of jumping watches occurred in the 30s, during the Art Deco period. Designers used this kind of display to better express their creativity on dials and on the overall watch cases.

Here is a Cartier Tank jumping hours:

Cartier Tank jumping hours

Even today, watchmakers are using this display to create new modern watches, such as the brand new Monsieur from Chanel. This one also features a retrograde minutes hand!

Chanel jumping hours

Why should I get one? Same reason as regulator watches, to get a one of a kind product, offering high originality!

Are you fancy enough?! 😉

Did you know: the PP ref.5275 launched for the175th anniversary of the brand features jumping hours, minutes and seconds! It’s a wonderful association with a deadbeat seconds. The 5275 also chimes each hours, because it’s a Patek!

Patek Philippe jumping hours

See you soon for a next article to share our love for mechanical watches !