10 Of The Best Tourbillon Watches From Baselworld 2018
The tourbillon is often presented as the king of complications. Originally invented to combat the negative effects of Earth’s gravitational pull, it remains today a ubiquitous feature for all high-end brands as a demonstration of watchmakers’ capabilities to manufacture such small mechanisms. As for each edition of Baselworld, 2018 has brought its share of new tourbillon watches. We have put together 10 highlights, all endowed with this graceful regulating organ.
Andreas Strehler Transaxle Tourbillon
Andreas Strehler’s latest opus houses a highly complex and superbly finished movement. It features a tourbillon combined with a 1-second remontoir, interestingly constructed around the same axle. The remontoir allows the delivery of constant force to the regulator and to drive a dead-beat seconds. The impressive new movement also incorporates a power reserve indication and it is housed in Strehler’s signature cushion-shaped case.
Quick facts: 40.5mm gold case – water-resistant to 30m – hand-wound movement with hours, minutes, dead-beat seconds, tourbillon with transaxle 1-second remontoir and power reserve indication – alligator strap with pin buckle – CHF 182,500 – For more information, visit www.astrehler.ch.
Blancpain Villeret Flying Tourbillon Jumping Hours Retrograde Minutes
Alongside the cool vintage-inspired Bathy, Blancpain introduced its first watch with jumping hours and retrograde minutes. This 42mm flying tourbillon stands out with clear graphics and elegant minimalist aesthetics. Its no-nonsense display incorporates technically challenging complications. The lower bridge for the flying tourbillon is a transparent sapphire disc. As a result, the regulator seems to be floating. The hand-wound movement is decorated with a hand-guilloché pattern. The same expert craftsmanship goes into the creation of the champs-levé grand feu enamel dial.
Quick facts: 42mm pink gold case – water-resistant to 30m – hand-wound movement with jumping hours, retrograde minutes and flying tourbillon – alligator strap and folding buckle – CHF 139,000 – For more information, visit www.blancpain.com.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367
An evolution of the reference 5377, the Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatic 5367 is archetypally Breguet. This elegant classic features a svelte 7mm case graced with an understated grand feu enamel dial. The automatic calibre 581 boasts a healthy 80-hour power reserve. It is fitted with a peripheral rotor crafted in platinum for higher inertia. This solution allows for slenderness and efficient winding whilst simultaneously providing an unimpeded view of its refined mechanics. The tourbillon runs at 4Hz, the carriage is in titanium, the hairspring and the horns of the escapement are in silicon bringing modern technology into this classic design.
Quick facts: 42mm x 7mm pink gold or platinum case – water-resistant to 30m – automatic movement calibre 581 with hours, minutes, small seconds on the tourbillon – alligator strap and folding buckle – CHF 144,000 in pink gold, CHF 158,000 in platinum – For more information, visit www.breguet.com.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo line-up was very impressive again this year (including the new Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon or the Octo Finissimo Automatic Sandblasted Trilogy). With the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, Bvlgari sets two new records for the thinnest automatic watch and the thinnest tourbillon watch. Still, whether you care about records doesn’t really matter, this paper-thin tourbillon is simply magnificent. Housed in a 3.95mm sandblasted titanium case, its movement is just 1.95mm thick. Wound by an ingenious peripheral rotor, it is capable of a 52-hour power reserve. And the powerful, bold, ultra-modern look is the final touch to this impressive watch.
Quick facts: 42mm x 3.95mm titanium case – water-resistant to 30m – automatic movement BVL 288 with hours, minutes, small seconds and flying tourbillon – titanium bracelet – CHF 120,000 or EUR 125,000 – For more information, visit www.bulgari.com.
Carl F. Bucherer Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral
A new addition to the elegant Manero collection, this world first combines a peripheral winding system – a Carl F. Bucherer speciality – with an innovative peripherally mounted tourbillon that appears to float with no bridges to hold the mechanism in place. This novel architecture also incorporates an original stop-seconds function, stopping the cage instead of the balance wheel. The calibre CFB T3000 is housed in a 43.1 mm gold case. Its precision is COSC-certified.
Quick facts: 43.1mm x 11.57mm gold case – water-resistant to 30m – automatic movement calibre CFB T3000 with hours, minutes, small seconds and peripheral tourbillon – alligator strap with folding buckle – CHF 64,500 – For more information, visit www.carl-f-bucherer.com.
Corum Bubble 47 Swoosh
The Swoosh is not the first Corum Bubble tourbillon, yet, this central tourbillon takes the concept a step further, providing an unconventional and playful take on the complication that is perfectly coherent with the model’s spirit. The regulating organ takes centre stage in the 47mm titanium case under the signature, massive, highly-domed sapphire crystal. The hours and minutes are displayed on the periphery by triangular markers.
Quick facts: 47mm x 19.60mm titanium case – water-resistant to 100m – automatic movement calibre CO 406 with hours, minutes and central tourbillon – fabric strap and pin buckle – CHF 76,500 – For more information, visit www.corum.com.
Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1R5 Edition 1785
If bronze is mostly used to craft tool watches, Ferdinand Berthoud thought this material could be used to house one of its highly technical chronometer movements. This limited edition is a series of five unique pieces based on its FB 1R watch with a regulator-type display. Each of the cases features a different state of oxidation producing a different colour and creating a striking contrast with the immaculately finished movement. The hand-wound calibre FB-T FC R-2 features a fusée-and-chain mechanism providing constant torque to the tourbillon.
Quick facts: 44 mm x 13.95 mm bronze case – water-resistant to 30m – manual movement calibre FB-T FC R-2 with hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve indication, tourbillon – alligator strap with pin buckle – CHF 241,500 – For more information, visit www.ferdinandberthoud.ch.
H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp Watch Minute Repeater Tourbillon
The latest complication watch from Moser & Cie. combines a minute repeater and a flying tourbillon unusually housed in a rectangular case (which looks like an Apple watch). The dial is laser-machined to obtain an original blue-coloured mosaic effect. The superb shaped calibre C 901 is visible via the exhibition case back. The model will be produced in several versions, all of which will be unique pieces.
Quick facts: 45.8mm x 39.8mm x 11.00mm white gold case – hand-wound movement C 901 with hours, minutes, flying tourbillon and minute repeater – alligator strap and pin buckle – CHF 292,000 – For more information, visit www.h-moser.com.
Jacob Twin Turbo Furious
This beast of a watch does not have anything in common with the ultra-thin Breguet or Bvlgari watches featured in this article… but what a spectacular development! The latest model in the Twin Turbo collection features an insane combination of complications: a double triple axis tourbillon, a decimal minute repeater, a chronograph and more… The triple axis tourbillon regulators rotate in 24, 8 and 30 seconds on their axis, these are ultra-fast and truly spectacular. Jacob and Co. uses the word ‘sequential’ with reference to their high-speed, jerky, 3D rotation.
Quick facts: 57mm x 52mm x17mm black DLC titanium and carbon fiber case – water-resistant to 30m – hand-wound movement JCFM05 with hours, minutes, small seconds, mono-pusher chronograph with ‘reference time indication’, decimal minute repeater, double triple axis tourbillon (rotation in 24, 8 and 30 seconds) and power reserve indicator – black leather strap with folding buckle – CHF 525,000 – For more information, visit www.jacobandco.com.
TAG Heuer Carrera Tourbillon Chronograph Viper Head
Released in context of the 55th-anniversary celebrations of the Carrera, this evolution of the Heuer-02 Tourbillon is housed in a dark blue ceramic case. It also comes with a Viper Head certification, the Besançon observatory hallmark attesting chronometer precision. And, at under CHF 20,000, this limited edition of 150 watches is a rather hard-to-beat value proposition for a chronograph tourbillon.
Quick facts: 45mm blue ceramic/steel case – water-resistant to 100m – automatic movement calibre Heuer-02T with hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and tourbillon – alligator/rubber strap on folding buckle – Price: CHF 19,900 / EUR 18,550 – For more information, visit www.tagheuer.com.
Wonderful pieces (mostly), but, as a British politician might say, for the few not the many!
Most beautiful: BLANCPAIN
Most interesting: CORUM
Most desirable: H. MOSER
Most vile: JACOB
But then a surprise was left for last: TAG HEUER. This is actually worth considering. I am thinking, perhaps instead of waiting till the 22 century to get a steel Daytona Ceramic, instead get something with a unique compilation – like in this century…
Fully agree Sieg, with the exception of the Tag, which I find too hard to read. And to be clear, the Moser looks nothing like an apple watch. This article reminds me of why I am so confused by the current tourbillon craze. They are sometimes interesting but hard to integrate into a coherent aesthetic without taking over the show. Plus they aren’t really a complication, more of an invention to improve accuracy, and the effect is nearly insignificant in most of these calibres. Their biggest consequence is in price, with some brands including them for only that reason. I tend to like the ones that have included the technology in an understated additive fashion rather than stealing the whole show. But there are exceptions, (like the astronomia) that seem to have fearlessly exploited the visual effect of a 3d tourbillon and somehow made the rest of the watch equal.
The Breguet, Blancpain, Bulgari and CFB are superb. The Strehler is as interesting as complex. Agree, Corum is an interesting concept. And yes the TAG Heuer is really something to consider, specifically with its price.