Keeping in line with our annual recap tradition, today we look back at a handful of innovative tourbillon releases that broke onto the scene in 2022. There is much debate amongst watch industry professionals regarding whether or not a tourbillon is considered a complication. Through today’s picks we’ll take a look at how impressive and elegant a tourbillon can be, regardless of its classification.
Bulgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon
Kicking off today’s list is Bulgari, which debuted a new iteration of its Octo Roma line in the early months of this year via the Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon. The watch combines two essentially classic mechanical details– a tourbillon and a chiming mechanism– via a highly graphic skeletonized dial marked by refined blue bridges, with a matching movement to boot.
The layered, geometric case is composed of platinum, with it measuring 35mm across and opting for a relative thinness of 8.35mm; an engaging and contrasting use of brushed and polishing finishing throughout compliments the look, and further adds to the avant-garde aesthetic. A blued titanium band wraps around the sides of the case, which transmits audible sounds on the hour, quarter hour, and minute and make this watch so unique. On the dial, a tourbillon is bold at the 6 o’clock position alongside the regular timekeeping details, with it all powered by the hand-wound caliber BVL428, itself capable of 75 hour power reserve.
The Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon design was released in a limited run of 30 pieces priced at $317,000 each.
Chopard Alpine Eagle Tourbillon
Watches and Wonders made its way back to Geneva this year, meeting in person for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, with 38 brands then showcasing their latest releases. Among those on display was the Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon from Swiss manufacture Chopard. The flying tourbillon design forgoes an upper bridge, thus creating the illusion that there is no attachment. The design bears its name from the inspiration of mountain eagles in the Swiss Alps channeling its majestic nature in the intricacies of Chopard finishing.
Powering the watch is the L.U.C 96.24-L, which offers a power reserve of 65 hours thanks to Chopard’s twin technology which situates two barrels arranged one above the other. And then housing the movement is a 42mm lucent steel A223 case that is a mere 8 mm thick.
The Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon retails for approximately $120,000.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton
Another model coming out of Watches and Wonders this year is the Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton by Swiss brand Vacheron Constantin. The watch is the first model to introduce the tourbillon functionality to the brand’s Overseas collection, and is also the first Vacheron Constantin watch made entirely of Grade 5 titanium– including the bezel and crown.
Taking a closer look, the dial of the Overseas is composed almost entirely of sapphire, with the crystal revealing the details of the caliber behind it and rhodium-plated applied indices serving as the hour markers. Inside the watch is caliber 2160 which offers a three-day power reserve and measures 5.65 mm thick. The skeletonization work of the movement in addition to its slim size is a real technical feat considering the requirements linked to the integration of a tourbillon carriage. The rare Vacheron Constantin is available via the brand’s boutiques, with pricing available upon request.
Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture
Watchmaker Greubel Forsey is a key player in the world of tourbillons, with the mechanism being one of the manufacture’s favorites to make use of. This past summer, the brand released its latest to follow this history, debuting the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture to its catalog. In the timepiece, Greubel Forsey opts for an architecturally experimental titanium case which utilizes a convex and conical-shape that seeks to highlight the intricate haute horlogerie movement it houses. While it looks perfectly round when observed from the dial side, it reveals its convex shape from other angles, along with its large synthetic sapphire crystal ring which spans over the periphery of the caseband.
In 2022, the Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Architecture was produced in a limited run of 11 examples each priced at $500,000. This is a watch to look for in the coming years; it is set to be produced in a run of 18 pieces per year from 2023 to 2025, resulting in a release total of 65 pieces.
Jacob & Co Astronomia Bucherer BLUE
Wrapping up our year-end review of tourbillon releases in 2022 is a timepiece that comes from Jacob & Co, a brand that does not shy away from mechanical or design feats, especially with its newest Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE. The watch is a piece unique, being specially produced for the Rakia space mission, a special Israeli-led, four-person flight to and from the International Space Station that took place this past spring.
With a 50mm 18k white gold case, the design is a special edition update to Jacob & Co.’s previous Astronomia Tourbillon base design. The ornate dial layout includes a patented triple-axis tourbillon, a magnesium and hand-lacquered globe of the earth, a 288-facet “Jacob-Cut” diamond, and a subdual for the hours and minutes, of course, with a patented timepiece-differential gear system. Ensuring steady operation of the delicate display is the manufacture caliber JCAM10 with a manually wound reserve of 60 hours.
The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Bucherer BLUE went on sale via single-lot auction held at Sotheby’s on July 27, 2022, where it sold for $441,000 USD.
You forgot the BA111OD Chapter 4.1 Veblen Dilemma Tourbillon. And at CHF 4920 (plus VAT), a Swiss made tourbillon (the Chapter 4.1 was entirely made in the Canton of Neuchâtel), watch enthusiasts can finally afford one for their own collection. Conspicuous by its absence.