Every Baselworld watch fair brings its share of new and often innovative variations on the still-popular tourbillon watch. Here’s a look back at 10 tourbillons, from 10 very diverse brands, that commanded our attention at last year’s Baselworld, all of which should be available at retailers now.
1. Angelus U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante
From the recently revived Angelus brand comes the Angelus U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante, a watch that contains not only a large, one-minute tourbillon but also a double-column-wheel-controlled flyback chronograph with rattrapante (split-seconds) and a cleverly designed power reserve display. The self-winding movement that integrates all these functions has also been highly skeletonized to reveal as much of its workings as possible, including no less than 15 wheels that are visible from the dial side. The tourbillon cage at 10 o’clock is made entirely from non-magnetic materials and occupies a full quarter of the dial space; the column wheel that activates the split seconds function is on display at 4 o’clock, right below the 30-minute counter, while a second, separate column wheel drives the chronograph from the back side. At 8 o’clock, a power-reserve indicator with visible gears and wheels offers an eye-catching view of the watch’s 45-hour running time: the green sector indicates ideal torque for the mainspring while the red sector cautions the wearer that it’s time to wind the watch.
2. Armin Strom Tourbillon Skeleton Earth
Skeleton watch specialist Armin Strom launched the first model in its new Tourbillon Skeleton collection, the Armin Strom Tourbillon Skeleton Earth. The watch’s skeletonized, manual-wind movement, Caliber ATC11-S, is on full display beneath the sapphire dial ring with founded appliques for hours and minutes. Its fully openworked mainplate features a black PVD coating that echoes the case material. The movement is equipped with a double going barrel that stores an astounding 10-day power reserve; in addition to witnessing the rotation of the tourbillon, the wearer can see the winding mechanism in motion on the dial side. Click here to read our pre-Baselworld report on the watch.
3. Breguet Tradition Repeater Tourbillon
The Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon has a passel of features that make it different and, Breguet says, better, than other minute repeaters. Among these are the shape and placement of the gongs, which, instead of wrapping around the movement, are placed above it. The longer, hour gong is shaped like a semicircle; the minutes gong is a kind of round-cornered triangle. Both have rectangular, rather than round, profiles, and the hammers hit them vertically, not horizontally, as in other minute repeaters. These unorthodox elements, Breguet says, contribute to better sound quality for the chimes. The tourbillon is an extra-flat one similar to the one the brand introduced in 2014. For more details on the watch’s multiple features, click here.
4. Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon
Girard-Perregaux celebrates its 225th anniversary this year with several new watches, the star of which is the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon. The company based the watch on an archival piece, a pocketwatch with a chronometer-rated tourbillon movement with pivoted detent, tourbillon escapement and G-P’s iconic three gold bridges, which won a gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889. The rose-gold case was constructed to imitate the multi-layered one of the original pocketwatch, which was hinged with front and back case covers, plus a second, hunter-style cover protecting the bridges. The Tourbillon with Three Bridges caliber, on display in this timepiece,is the oldest watch movement still in production, with an overall layout that has remained unchanged since its introduction in 1860. The three bridges include a barrel bridge, gear-train bridge and tourbillon bridge, all made from solid gold. Click here for more info.
5. Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7
Harry Winston unveiled the seventh watch in its Histoire de Tourbillon series, in which the brand explores interesting variations of the tourbillon. The Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7 actually features two of them in one watch. The right side of the dial is dominated by an unconventional, pyramid-cut off-center time display, beneath which is a power reserve display on a roller. On the left are the two bi-axial tourbillons that move in harmony, with the first tourbillon cage completing its rotation in 45 seconds and housing a 30-degree-tilted balance wheel, and the second cage making a complete rotation every 75 seconds. The two tourbillons are regulated for optimal accuracy by a spherical differential device, which connects them and averages out their rotational speed. The watch has a 50-mm white gold case and, like other Histoire de Tourbillon watches, is a limited edition: only 20 pieces will be made.
6. Rebellion Sapphire 540 Magnum Tourbillon Sapphire
Independent Swiss watch brand Rebellion says it spent nearly 100 days to create the eight-part, transparent, sapphire case of the Rebellion Sapphire 540 Magnum Tourbillon Sapphire, which offers a full-on view of its proprietary movement, tourbillon Caliber REB T-14. The movement features a double spring barrel storing a power reserve of 14 days and an extra-large tourbillon cage. Measuring 540 tenths of a millimeter in circumference and 17.2 mm in diameter — hence the watch’s name — the tourbillon cage is made of a special aluminum alloy and dominates a large portion of the openworked dial. Titanium and carbon fiber are used for other parts of the 490-piece movement, including a carbon fiber three-quarters mainplate, in order to maximize both its rigidity and lightness. The conical gears of the linear power-reserve indicator at 9 o’clock are also on display.
7. Seiko Credor Fugaku Tourbillon Limited Edition
Seiko‘s first-ever tourbillon, the Seiko Credor Fugaku Tourbillon Limited Edition, showcases not only horological craftsmanship but the traditional Japanese handicrafts of metal engraving and lacquer finishing. Its elaborately engraved dial recreates a scene from one of Japan’s most famous paintings, “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” part of the “Thirty Six Views of Mt. Fuji” series by the 19th-century artist Katsushika Hokusai. (The watch’s name, Fugaku, is another name for Mt. Fuji in the Japanese language.) Inside the watch is Caliber 6830, a manual-wound movement based on the ultra-thin Caliber 68 family. Including the tourbillon carriage, the whole movement measures just 3.98 mm in thickness, and the diameter is just 25.6 mm. The engraving on the dial depicts the Great Wave in 18k yellow and white gold. The reverse side of the watch features the same wave, combining engraving and lacquer finishing. For more info, and close-up photos, click here for our full report on the watch.
8. TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02 T
TAG Heuer made news at Baselworld with the launch of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02 T, a COSC-certified chronograph watch equipped with a flying tourbillon that retails for a surprisingly accessible price of $15,950 (15,000 Swiss francs). The watch contains an entirely new movement, based on the company’s CH-80 integrated-chronograph caliber; the movement features automatic winding, a frequency of 4 hz (28,800 vph), an integrated, column-wheel-controlled chronograph function, and a power reserve of more than 65 hours stored in a single mainspring barrel. The flying tourbillon is exceptionally lightweight, with central sections made of titanium and a top section made of carbon, like the tourbillon created for TAG Heuer’s Monaco V4, The watch is also notable for its case, made of grade-5 titanium for maximum lightness and shock resistance and whose modular construction enables a wide range of combinations in the areas of materials, colors, treatments and finishes. More detail can be found here.
9. Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon
The Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon is conceived as a sailboat for the wrist. The watch’s dial miniaturizes elements of the deck of a classic racing yacht, including a wood deck, winches, lines and a mainsail boom. It is made of inlaid wood in a color and curved design that resembles the deck of a classic yacht. A blued aluminum minutes hand represents the boom, the horizontal spar used to angle the mainsail on a racing boat. It swings down from the 12 o’clock position, sweeping across a retrograde minutes scale from 3 to 6 o’clock. It is pulled across the scale by strong high-tech fibers that wrap around two “rigging screws” and two pinions designed to resemble – and function as – the winches on the deck of a racing yacht. This mechanism is linked to the flying tourbillon in Caliber UN-630, which is made up of 469 components and has a frequency of 3 Hz and a 48-hour power reserve. The movement is equipped with two barrels — one driving the time and the other powering the complication and the display. Click here for our Baselworld report on the Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon.
10. Zenith Academy Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot
The Zenith Academy Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot, named for the Swiss brand’s founder, is the first Zenith watch to unite both a tourbillon and a fusee-and-chain transmission system in a high-frequency movement based on the classic El Primero. The hand-wound, dial-free El Primero Caliber 4805 is on full display under the sapphire crystal, with its deep anthracite-blackened mainplate and bridges imparting an intriguing dark look. The tourbillon cage, which rotates once per minute, is at 6 o’clock, is coupled with the fusee-and-chain mechanism between 10 o’clock and 10:30, which is secured to the mainplate by polished screws and supported by three blackened bridges. The system is linked to the mainspring barrel so as to ensure constant force. The hour and minute hands, as well as the applied hour markers, are black-faceted. The movement stores a 50-plus-hour power reserve, which is indicated between 4 and 5 o’clock by a red-tipped hand moving between “high” and “low” sectors. The watch, which has a 45-mm black ceramic case, is limited to 150 pieces.