Timekeepers Club / January 22, 2022

J.N. Shapiro Infinity Tantalum Limited Edition

Stylish, sleek, stealthy. That’s tantalum. The metal features in the case and chapter ring of the Infinity Tantalum Limited Edition, Josh Shapiro’s latest extension to his Infinity series of rare watches that will be available in three dial variations:

Untreated palladium dial with tantalum chapter rings, blue enamel ink with blue steel hands


Black ruthenium dial with tantalum hours chapter rings, rose gold hands, seconds rings and numerals


Navy blue dial with tantalum chapter rings, blue enamel ink and steel polished hands


The material is usually reserved for medical and dental applications, so what’s the attraction? “It’s stealthy. White metals are very popular at the moment, because they’re not as flashy as others. Tantalum also has a beautiful, unique color – dark grey with hints of blue,” says Shapiro.

Its incorporation pushes the independent watchmaker’s boundaries creatively and technically, and further supports his substantial financial investment in the kind of hi-tech machinery that’s up to the task. This enables the company to make the tantalum cases and chapter rings in-house, which is a big deal for the brand and for collectors who appreciate the challenge involved. “Tantalum is very gummy, but hard and dense as 18ct gold, which is a funny combination. So it’s like platinum – only worse. Very few brands use tantalum because it’s very difficult to machine and to work with. Until you figure it out, you waste a lot, and tantalum goes through tools very quickly,” says Shapiro.

His use of the metal for the case is a first, outside Switzerland. The same goes for the chapter ring (which in J.N. Shapiro’s case holds the numerals and dots away from the edge of the case). “I don’t think tantalum has been used before for a watch part other than a case.”

The Infinity Tantalum Limited Edition also features a palladium dial, which showcases Shapiro’s intricate engine-turned patterns and a custom-made font. The watch follows the design concept for the Infinity series, but in a slightly smaller case. It is powered by the J.N. Shapiro Uwd movement, which has a hand-chamfered gold serial plate. What makes it different? The use of exotic materials.

Shapiro ranks among very few American watchmakers and is further distinguished by his aptitude for the ancient art of engine turning (guilloché). It’s as rare as his timepieces. His interest in the craft came through his reading of George Daniels’ book, Watchmaking, and inspired him to invent the Infinity weave. It’s a basket weave within a basket weave – squares within a square – that highlights his sub-dials. “The Infinity weave appeals to me aesthetically, but also differentiates me and excites collectors. It’s extremely difficult to do, noone else in the world is doing it, and it’s advancing the art of engine turning,” he says.

His dials feature four different patterns, including the standalone basket weave, which is the second-most difficult guilloché pattern to produce, as well as the barley corn and ratchet patterns. This time he’s engraving on palladium. “I don’t think that’s ever been done before either. It’s not used often, but it’s a very neat metal and more valuable than gold right now.”

Shapiro has been making watches from his California studio since 2013. His grandparents were artists, a “jack-of-all-trades” machinist and a surgeon, and he’s inherited their creativity and dexterity. To date, he has made and customized watches with steel, rose gold, white gold and platinum cases, and recently sold-out the Infinity Meteorite P.01 commissioned by Collective Horology.

Proceeds from the sale of the Infinity Tantalum Limited Edition will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Association to support their research into type 1 juvenile diabetes.

Technical specifications

J.N. Shapiro Infinity Tantalum Limited Edition

Limited edition of 26 pieces (all dial colors in total)


  • Material: Tantalum
  • Diameter: 39 mm
  • Water-resistant to 30 meters

Dial and hands

  • Palladium base dial with engine-turned patterns available in three versions:
  • Palladium dial with tantalum chapter rings, blue enamel ink
  • Black ruthenium-coated dial with tantalum hours chapter rings, rose gold accents
  • Blue dial with tantalum chapter rings, blue enamel ink


  • Uwd Caliber 33.1
  • Hand-wound movement
  • Diameter: 33 mm
  • Number of jewels: 19 jewels
  • Frequency: 21,600 vph
  • Power reserve of 53 hours


  • Hours, minutes, small hacking seconds

Strap and buckle

  • Alligator strap with tantalum pin buckle

MSRP: USD 33'000

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