17 Luxury Watches With Marvellous Mechanisms | Verve Magazine
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Luxury & Brands
January 17, 2017

17 Luxury Watches With Marvellous Mechanisms

Text by Simone Louis

We highlight two examples of accuracy, the tourbillon and the chronograph

Devised by Abraham-Louis Breguet more than two centuries ago to compensate for the effects of gravity on a pocket watch, this is a visually hypnotic contraption. It features a balance wheel and other fragile components that constantly spin and oscillate, regulating the conduction of energy through the gear train that drives the watch.


Said to be the first minute repeater developed ‘around a predetermined sound’, the Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 introduces six new patents, five new elements and a 60-second tourbillon. Besides an acoustic chamber that enhances the sound of the minute repeater, it flaunts an automatic winding peripheral rotor system, a titanium tourbillon bridge and a power reserve of 80 hours when fully wound.


In 1889, Constant Girard invented a configuration that still influences tourbillon design today: the tourbillon under three bridges. The La Esmeralda Tourbillon wristwatch marks a return to basics and a nod to the pocket watch representation of the invention. The automatic winding rotor, mounted co-axially with the mainspring barrel, is visually exciting under a trio of golden bridges while the characteristic lyre-shaped tourbillon carriage honours a significant part of history.

Richard Mille

A landmark creation for the horological house, being its first flying tourbillon, the RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur puts an interesting automation on the wrists of its feminine clientele. The dial features a hand-lacquered and -painted magnolia flower relief, enclosing a flying tourbillon escapement set with rubies and a diamond.


The brand’s first timepiece to feature an oval-shaped case, the Récital 9 Miss Alexandra Tourbillon — a seven-day tourbillon with moon phase display — features accurate cartography of the moon engraved on a blue-PVD nickel silver plate. The entire movement is hand-decorated with a classic chiselling technique.

Harry Winston

A spectacular double bi-axial piece, the Histoire de Tourbillon 7 features a pyramid-cut area housing the hour and minute hands. A long strip in either red aluminum or anthracite that extends out to the left frames the two tourbillons. Standing out at the bottom of the dial is a rolling power reserve indicator.

Christophe Claret

First launched four years ago, the Soprano now not only holds a 60-second tourbillon and a minute repeater with a Westminster chime, four patented gongs and four hammers, but is also highlighted by stepped bridges inspired by the Charles X style.

Greubel Forsey

Now presented in a 5N red gold case, the Tourbillon 24 Seconds Vision boasts enamelled indications on the anthracite-hued dial and a lower tourbillon bridge whose barrelled and polished surface requires extremely rare expertise. Each bridge is discreetly signed by the ‘movement finisher’ who completes it.

Tag Heuer

After garnering much attention both for its technology and for breaking price barriers, the Carrera Heuer-02T definitely lives up to expectations. With its middle section crafted from titanium and top from carbon fibre, the tourbillon cage sits within a Grade 5 titanium case, while at 12 o’clock, the single barrel of the movement is visible through a skeletonised dial.

The Calibre Heuer 02-T movement uses a different form of construction with 12 modular components including a black column wheel, chronograph bridges, and a carbon and titanium tourbillon cage.


The Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux presents what can only be described as a mysteriously unattached central tourbillon. The movement comprising the mainspring barrel, escapement and gear train revolves on an axis once an hour — its shape creating an elliptical trajectory like that of celestial bodies.

Essentially a timepiece with a stopwatch function, this innovation was invented in 1815 and completed in 1816 by
Louis Moinet. No other wristwatch balances aesthetics, technical know-how and convenience as expertly. Besides being used for horse racing and aviation, it is now prevalent in Olympic sports and naval navigation.

Patek Philippe

Presenting a long-awaited combination of two complications, the World Time Chronograph Ref. 5930 is based on a one-of-a-kind piece by the brand, dating back to 1940. The watch features a 39.5-mm white-gold case and a dial that displays the time in 24 different time zones as well as a 30-minute chronograph.


Fitted with a diamond-set diving bezel, the Master Compressor Diving Chronograph Lady stands out from the crowd with a glistening white sunray guilloché dial, turquoise accents and a stainless steel case on a white articulated rubber strap.


With a powerful yet elegantly minimalist nod to this year’s Olympic Games in Brazil, the Speedmaster Mark II “Rio 2016” features three sub-dials decorated with a bronze ring, an 18-carat yellow gold ring and a 925 silver ring respectively — representing the coveted medals. Available in a special edition of 2,016 pieces, this is surely a model that will be highly valued in years to come.


Launched in time for the world-renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans at Circuit De La Sarthe in France, the Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Black Edition pays tribute to the brand’s ongoing relationship with Porsche Motorsport’s World Endurance Championship team. The titanium flyback chronograph comes in a bead-blasted DLC black finish, complemented by bright red accents.


Exemplifying a history marked by a passion for speed, the newest version of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona comes with a monobloc Cerachrom bezel reminiscent of the 1965 model that had a black Plexiglas bezel insert. Available on a solid-link Oyster bracelet, it is corrosion resistant and virtually scratch-proof while its colour is unaffected by UV rays.


The Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback features a grey case, crown and chronograph pushers, all in ceramic. Unlike other models, which ironically forbid use of the complication underwater, it is equipped with sealed pushers that allow one to operate the chronograph to a depth of 300 metres.


Inspired by the purring engines, finely-weathered leather and sleek curves of the automobile world, the El Primero 36’000 VpH Classic Car flaunts an anthracite dial with an engine-type finish, punctuated by three counters in anthracite, blue and light grey colours.


The first model in this iconic collection fitted with a major complication, the Altiplano Chronograph set a double record in the field of ultra-thin watchmaking. Housed in a slim white gold gem-set case with a 41-mm diameter, this is the thinnest hand-wound chronograph flyback watch in the world.

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