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December 07, 2015

Tourbillons and Chronographs for Every Collector

Text by Simone Louis

Even after eons of existence, these two watch complications are still current, contemporary and worthy of a spot in your collection

THEATRICAL TOURBILLONS
A tourbillon is a remarkable feat of engineering and an intriguing spectacle to observe playing out on your wrist. The whole purpose of this complication is to counter the effects of gravity. In a standard mechanical watch, the escapement is fixed, making it impossible to regulate it and keep the exact same rate no matter which position the timepiece is in. In a tourbillon, the entire escapement is housed in a rotating cage which is continually moving, so the timing variations are basically cancelled out.

Patented by the French-Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet on June 26, 1801, this historic complication was first invented to resolve peculiarities in pocket watches — which were worn in the pocket of a gentleman’s waistcoat and constantly subjected to changes in position.

BREGUET
Since the amount of information displayed on a watch can get confusing, the Classique Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel 3797 features a third layer on the dial. The hours and minutes chapter is pushed to the foreground, drawing attention to the essential information, while a further glance takes in all the other indications. The one-minute tourbillon, located at 6 o’clock, steals the show.

ROGER DUBUIS
Not one, but two flying tourbillons are what you get with the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon and, yes, the watch is also skeletonised. The tourbillon cages, which resemble a Celtic cross, rotate once every 60 seconds while the 47-mm titanium and black DLC-titanium case is offset by fiery red aluminium elements.

JAEGER-LECOULTRE
The translucent plum enamel dial of the Rendez-Vous Ivy Tourbillon features ivy leaves with two types of guilloche work. At 3, 9 and 12 o’clock, the outspread branches culminate in hour numerals while the tourbillon can be seen at 6 o’clock, rotating once every minute.

A. LANGE & SÖHNE
Aesthetically pleasing, innovative and precise, the 1815 Tourbillon unites the stop-seconds mechanism for the tourbillon with the zero-reset function, making it possible to stop and reset the time with one-second accuracy. The watch is available in both pink gold and platinum.

BVLGARI
The Daniel Roth Carillon Tourbillon is an idyllic example of a three-gong minute repeater which also features a tourbillon. This new version of the unique model features a thinner pink gold case and better legibility while maintaining the signature features of the original design.

CHANEL
When it was launched 15 years ago, the J12 timepiece was the first to transform high-tech ceramic into a precious commodity. This year, the J12 Skeleton Flying Tourbillon pays tribute to its predecessor with a black matte high-tech ceramic case, an 18-carat white gold bezel and a comet design set with 30 brilliant-cut diamonds.

CARL F. BUCHERER
The Manero Tourbillon Limited Edition 2015 comes with a new satin-brushed dial and a circular cut-out at 6 o’clock which offers a glimpse into the moving heart of the tourbillon. The 18-carat rose gold watch also flaunts a double-sided anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal face.

CRAFTY CHRONOGRAPHS
There is an inimitable pleasure that comes from an interaction with a first-rate mechanical movement — and no timepiece calls for as much engagement as a chronograph does. With the push of a button and a satisfying click, a sweep hand begins moving across the dial and, with another push and click, time stops and resets. A plethora of buttons, sub-dials and pushers can start, stop and reset the timing function while the rest of the watch runs as usual.

A merger of the Greek words ‘chronos’ (meaning ‘time’) and ‘graph’ (meaning ‘writing’), the word ‘chronograph’ translates as ‘time writer’. The first versions of the chronograph wrote the time, because a hand on the dial deposited dots of ink when operated, which helped to measure the elapsed period.

LOUIS VUITTON
Making for the perfect travel accessory, the Tambour Evolution Graphite Chronograph & GMT puts a second time zone and chronograph on a single dial. A touch of red is echoed in the strap, identical to the one on the GMT dial.

OFFICINE PANERAI
The chronograph made in 1943 for the deck officers of the Royal Italian Navy is revived in a special edition, in the form of the new Mare Nostrum Titanio. The dial, set on two levels, features gilt-printing and gold hands while the solid caseback, bezel, pushers and crown are fashioned in titanium.

BLANCPAIN
The new limited-edition Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback features a blue sunburst-finish dial with Liquidmetal® indexes and luminous hands. The chronograph can be operated underwater, since its pushers have watertight seals.

CHOPARD
Inspired by the Porsche 919 Hybrid, the stripes on the dial of the Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Edition evoke the racing car’s rear diffuser. The large chronograph beats to the pace of a mechanical Chopard 03.05-M calibre, which is chronometer-certified by the COSC.

LONGINES
Inspired by a medical timepiece from the early 1920s, the Longines Pulsometer Chronograph measures the number of heartbeats, in addition to indicating time. The 3 and 9 hour markers have been removed entirely to give the sub-dials space, and the 6 o’clock marker is replaced by a convenient date window.

PIAGET
Setting the record for the world’s thinnest hand-wound flyback chronograph, the Altiplano Chronograph boasts a 4.65-mm movement and 8.24-mm case. Housed within a minimalistic case with sharply defined lines, the sophisticated watch is sure to impress aficionados and collectors.

HAUTE WRISTS:
(Click on the gallery to view larger images)

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