A tourbillon is among the most intricate and difficult complications to pull off. Here’s a selection of the very best from this year.
AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK TOURBILLON CHRONOGRAPH OPENWORKED
This openworked, limited edition tourbillion comes in a sleek 44mm black ceramic case with a bezel and sapphire caseback. It comes with a two-tone black rubber strap with elegantly understated colour highlights on the sides, in a choice of grey, blue, green and pink gold. Limited to 25 pieces in each bracelet colour. Power reserve of 72 hours.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN TRADITIONNELLE TOURBILLON
This watch houses the first self-winding movement developed by Vacheron Constantin. Its elegant, openworked carriage is shaped like a Maltese cross, while the mechanical, self-winding movement is distinguished by its incredible slimness at just 5.65mm. The bar of the tourbillon carriage at 6 o’clock has been entirely hand-bevelled. Comes in a 41mm case in 18K pink gold. Power reserve of 80 hours.
BLANCPAIN VILLERET TOURBILLON VOLANT HEURE SAUTANTE MINUTE RÉTROGRADE
A modern reinterpretation of Blancpain’s 1989 flying tourbillon, this new model combines vintage charm with fresh complications, in the form of jump hours and retrograde minutes. Another talking point is the traditional champlevé technique used in making the classic grand feu enamel dial. Several layers of enamel are hand-painted on the gold base before being fired to 800 degrees to produce the final product. The manual movement is housed in a double-stepped 42mm red gold case, ensuring a power reserve of 144 hours. The platinum version is limited to 20 pieces
HARRY WINSTON HISTOIRE DE TOURBILLON 9
The ninth piece in this illustrious line of tourbillon watches brings together retrograde jumping hours and retrograde minutes, with a triaxial tourbillon. The tourbillon, holding three carriages, undertakes its rotation in a well of light (20.5 mm in diameter). The balance wheel carriage rotates completely once every 45 seconds, while the other two carriages take 75 and 300 seconds respectively. The hour and minute hands point to two zones calibrated with Arabic numerals. Comes in a 46.5mm case (18K rose or white gold). The mechanical manually-wound movement has a power reserve of 50 hours.
PANERAI L’ASTRONOMO LUMINOR 1950 TOURBILLON MOON PHASES EQUATION OF TIME GMT
The original L’Astronomo from 2010, launched to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the earliest celestial observations made by Galileo, was the first Panerai timepiece with a tourbillon regulator, calendar, equation of time indication and display of sunrise and sunset times. The new version comes with three new features — GMT indication, phases of the moon and an innovative date display using polarised crystals. The tourbillon escapement can be admired both from the front and the back, thanks to the skeletonised movement and the absence of an actual dial. Like its predecessor, this watch is also made to order, and the hand-wound skeletonised movement P.2005/ GLS (standing for Galileo Luna Scheletrato) is personalised to operate as per the geographical coordinates chosen by the client. Comes in a 50mm brushed titanium case. Power reserve of 96 hours.
GIRARD-PERREGAUX NEO TOURBILLON WITH THREE BRIDGES SKELETON
The first skeleton version of the Neo Tourbillon with Three Bridges collection gives the impression of the dial being crisscrossed by slender, black, finely rounded bridges, like cables over a precipice. This design is a tribute to the architecture of some of the world’s most famous bridges, like the Millau Viaduct in France, Mohammed VI bridge in Morocco and Oversteek Bruk in Holland. The 80-part spinning tourbillon seen on the dial is made from titanium, to reduce friction, and weighs just 0.25 grams. The self-winding mechanical GP 09400-0011 movement has a power reserve of 60 hours. Comes in a 45mm titanium case.
IWC PORTUGIESER PERPETUAL CALENDAR TOURBILLON EDITION `150 YEARS’
This limited edition watch combines the perpetual calendar with a tourbillon on the dial for the first time. The tourbillion, which is made of 82 components weighing just 0.635 grams, is located at 12 o’clock. The moon phase has been integrated in the month display disc at 6 o’clock. Comes in a 45mm, 18K red gold case. With its solid gold rotor, the automatic winding system generates a power reserve of 7 days. Limited edition of 50 pieces.
ULYSSE NARDIN EXECUTIVE SKELETON TOURBILLON STARS & STRIPES
Launched on the 4th of July to coincide with the American independence day, this watch, with a stars and stripes background, celebrates Ulysse Nardin’s century-old ties to the US Navy. Comes in a 45mm titanium case with a blue ceramic bezel and blue crown. The skeleton dial with iconic executive roman indexes and rectangle center features a miniature painting with a stars and stripes pattern. The stripped down arachnid-like skeleton movement, Caliber UN-171, has a power reserve of 170 hours. Comes with a blue carbon effect leather strap. Limited edition of 50 pieces.
MONTBLANC STAR LEGACY SUSPENDED EXO TOURBILLON LIMITED EDITION 58
Montblanc’s objective with this patented ExoTourbillon was to maximize the visibility of the tourbillon. The one-minute tourbillon features a large balance wheel that has been raised 3.2mm above the dial to create a three-dimensional floating look. The tourbillon bridge has only one stainless steel arm, which is curved and mirrors the domed hour circle at 12 o’clock. The dome houses the off-centred hours and minutes counter, mirroring the Exo Tourbillon’s effect at six. The 38.3mm case is made of 18K red gold. The manually-wound mechanical movement has a power reserve of 50 hours; limited to 58 pieces.
ROTONDE DE CARTIER SKELETON MYSTERIOUS DOUBLE TOURBILLON WATCH
French heritage and an intense watchmaking know-how have come together to create this skeleton watch, in a 45mm polished platinum case. The tourbillon appears `mysteriously’ suspended in mid-air, with no connection to the rest of the movement, hence the name. The double flying tourbillon completes its rotation in 60 seconds, while the tourbillon cage performs a second rotation every five minutes. Power reserve of 52 hours. Limited to 30 pieces.
BVLGARI OCTO FINISSIMO TOURBILLON AUTOMATIC
The 42mm sandblasted titanium eightcornered case of this automatic tourbillon is just 3.95mm thick, an industry record. To achieve this scale of slimness, the openworked skeleton movement, Calibre BVL 288 Finissimo has been pare down to a thickness of just 1.95mm. The movement incorporates a prominent flying tourbillon as well. Power reserve of 52 hours.
CARL F. BUCHERER MANERO TOURBILLON DOUBLE PERIPHERAL
CFB T3000, the fascinating new movement of this watch, combines a peripheral automatic winding system with a peripherally mounted tourbillon that appears to float on the dial. Placed at 12 o’ clock, the tourbillon case rotates along its axis every 60 seconds and also features the seconds display. The state-of-the-art technology for the escapement with a pallet and escape wheel made from silicon ensures low friction and an increased power reserve of 65 hours. The 43mm case is in 18K rose gold.
A. LANGE & SÖHNE 1815 TOURBILLON WITH ENAMEL DIAL
Four years ago, the original version of this watch first combined the stop-seconds mechanism for the tourbillon with a zero-reset time-setting feature. The patented mechanisms allowed the watch to be stopped and then set with one-second accuracy. The limited edition 2018 model (100 pieces) comes with a white enamel dial. The 39.5mm platinum case is numbered. Blued-steel hands, Arabic numerals and a railway-track minute scale give the watch a classic personality synonymous with legendary 19th and 20th-century pocket watches. 72 hour power reserve.
LOUIS VUITTON TAMBOUR MOON MYSTÉRIEUSE FLYING TOURBILLON
Developed first in the 19th century, mysterious movements watches featured hands that appeared to levitate. This optical illusion was made possible thanks to a clever mechanism of crystal discs, which these days have been replaced by sapphire crystals. In this watch, the co-axial double barrel, concealed beneath a Monogram Flower situated at 12 o’clock, the central wheels dedicated to the hours and minutes, as well as the tourbillon carriage at 6 o’clock all appear to float in mid-air. Comes in a 45mm concave platinum case. The manual winding movement has an eight-day power reserve.
CHOPARD L.U.C ALL-IN-ONE
This unique watch combines as many as 14 indications across its two faces, including an extensive calendar, several astronomical functions and a tourbillon. The reverse side displays equation of time, power reserve, 24-hour day/ night indication, sunrise, sunset and the astronomical orbital moon phase. Comes in a 42mm case in two limited series of 10 in platinum and 10 in 18K rose gold.
BELL & ROSS BR-X1 SKELETON TOURBILLON SAPPHIRE
Bell & Ross has taken the next step in its ‘Experimental’ journey – which started with a completely transparent watch in 2016 – in the form of this new skeletonised tourbillon. The use of the BR-X1 case, assembled from five carefully carved sapphire blocks, highlights the watchmaker’s quest for horizons beyond pilot watches while keeping the DNA intact. Inside the familiar square 45mm sapphire case is the skeletonised dial, indicating hours and minutes, and the tourbillon at 6 o’ clock. Only six unique pieces have been created, two each in three colours, pink gold, blue and black. Black pieces sold on the company website, and blue pieces on mrporter.com. The Calibre BRCAL.288 hand-wound movement yields a power reserve of 100 hours.
HUBLOT BIG BANG SAPPHIRE TOURBILLON
Hublot has called upon the resistance and durability of sapphire for this skeleton movement tourbillon watch. The timepiece is entirely see-through, with only a few metallic gears sketching out the contours. One can see the sapphire middle and bezel, while the back of the case reveals crystal mechanics that seem to float in the case. The 45mm case is cut off a sapphire block, and so is the tourbillon strip. The HUB6016 manufacture manual-winding movement yields a power reserve of around 115 hours. Limited to 99 pieces.
TAG HEUER CARRERA ‘TÊTE DE VIPÈRE’ CHRONOGRAPH TOURBILLON CHRONOMETER
This is TAG’s first chronograph to bear the Tête de Vipère certification from France’s Besançon Observatory. Only 500 watches have been certified since 2006 by this independent, public organisation. The stamp can be seen on the bridge, through the sapphire crystal of the caseback. This watch combines the tourbillon and the chronograph complications. The automatic Heuer 02T movement is housed in a 45mm midnight blue ceramic case. Power reserve of 65 hours. Limited to 155 pieces.