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Six Recent Tourbillon Watches To Honour A Very Personal Memory

The whirlwind complication once designed to negate positional irregularities of the balance wheel due to gravity never fails to impress.

| By Robin Nooy | 6 min read |

One of my most memorable experiences when tumbling down the mechanical watchmaking rabbit hole is handling my very first tourbillon watch. I had already been writing for MONOCHROME for a while when it happened, and I knew about the complication and its function, but I had never handled one in person. It was at the SIHH 2014 that I happened to spot a stainless steel prototype of the Audemars Piquet Royal Oak 40th Anniversary Skeleton Tourbillon (ultimately done in platinum only). The experience of seeing one in action was absolutely mesmerizing to me, and I thought it would be fun to revisit the complication ten years on from that very moment. So with that little trip down memory lane in mind, here’s my personal selection of six of the most fascinating tourbillon watches I’ve recently come across.

Chopard L.U.C. 1860 Flying Tourbillon

The Chopard L.U.C. 1860 line is home to some of the finest dress watches on the market, with micro-rotor movements derived from the iconic Calibre 1.96. The refined and compact 36.5mm case of this Flying Tourbillon edition is executed in yellow gold, with a yellow gold dial to match. The flying tourbillon is exposed at 6′, and to enjoy the rest of the movement requires opening the hunter-style caseback. This ultra-fine lesson in elegance is limited to 10 pieces, all fitted to a green-black alligator leather strap and retails for a price of EUR 144,000.

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Quick facts – 36.5mm x 8.2mm – yellow gold case, polished – sapphire crystal front & back with hunter-style caseback – 30m water-resistant – solid yellow gold dial – guilloché decoration – rhodium-plated markers & hands – Calibre L.U.C. 96.24-L, micro-rotor automatic – 25,200vph – 65h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds on flying tourbillon – green-black alligator leather strap – 10 pieces only – EUR 144,000

Louis Vuitton Voyager Plique a Jour Flying Tourbillon

When it comes to dials, the Louis Vuitton Voyager Plique A Jour Flying Tourbillon is in a league of its own. The fully handmade, transparent blue and white enamel dial pulls back almost all covers, even more so for the fully exposed flying tourbillon escapement. With a V-shaped cage, it catches the eye at 6′, with more V’s to be discovered in the movement’s construction. As there are over 100 hours invested in the dial alone, and given the complexity of the movement, it’s understandable this comes far from cheap although no price is communicated.

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Quick facts – 41mm x 11.68mm – 950 platinum case – sapphire crystal front & back – plique-à-jour dial with white gold V-shaped structure – translucent blue and white enamel – offset dial for hours & minutes – Calibre LV 104, hand-wound – made in-house by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton – Poinçon de Genève – 21,600vph – 60h power reserve – flying tourbillon escapement with V-shaped cage – navy blue leather strap with platinum folding buckle – price upon request

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon Titanium

As part of the ‘Holy Trinity’ in the luxury sports watch segment, the Overseas by Vacheron Constantin was already available in steel or precious metal, but now also in full titanium. For this occasion, the Maison opted for a rather special take on the Overseas, with a translucent deep blue lacquered dial, plus a movement regulated by a tourbillon and driven by a peripheral rotor. It comes with three strap options, of which the titanium bracelet is obviously the way to go. This boutique exclusive is quite costly, but again, no price is communicated.

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Quick facts – 42.5mm x 10.39mm – titanium case, brushed & polished – soft iron inner case – sapphire crystal front & back – 50m water-resistant – translucent blue lacquer – white gold markers & hands – Calibre 2160, in-house peripheral automatic – 18,000vph – 80h power reserve – Geneva hallmark – hours, minutes, small seconds on tourbillon – integrated titanium bracelet – Boutique exclusive – priced on request

IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night

With the recent overhaul of the entire Portugieser collection, IWC took the liberty to expand the collection with several fascinating new watches. This includes the very tasty Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night, perhaps slightly overshadowed by the Eternal Calendar. Nevertheless, this gold and black beauty is equipped with the hand-wound in-house IWC Calibre 81925 an exposed one-minute flying tourbillon as well as a spherical day/night indicator. Worn on a black alligator leather strap by Santoni, it will set you back CHF 80,000.

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Quick facts – 42.4mm x 10.8mm – 18k Armor Gold case, polished – sapphire crystal front & back – 60m water-resistant – obsidian lacquered dial – gold markers & hands – IWC calibre 81925, hand-wound – 28,800vph – 84h power reserve – one-minute flying tourbillon – spherical day/night indicator – silicon & Diamond Shell coated pallet lever & escape wheel – black leather strap by Santoni with Armor Gold folding clasp – CHF 80,000

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

No such list is complete with some kind of record, and the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon brings home the trophy for the slimmest tourbillon watch ever constructed. At a mind-boggling 2mm thin for the entire watch, it takes time to wrap your head around this one. Everything is constructed on a horizontal plane, with the caseback doubling as the mainplate. The tourbillon is visible from the front, but also from the back through a small aperture. This cobalt-blue wonder by Piaget is actually for sale, and not merely a concept. However, its price is, you’ve guessed it, upon request.

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Quick facts – 41,5mm x 2mm – blue PVD-coated cobalt alloy case – case & movement merged as one piece – sapphire crystal front & back – 20m water-resistant – monobloc dial – baton indices & hand- monobloc minute disc – calibre 970P-UC – one-minute peripheral tourbillon – 28,800vph – 40h power reserve – blue calfskin leather strap with pin buckle – price upon request

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Tourbillon Skeleton

Last but certainly not least is a watch that has grown massively on me over the past couple of years; the H. Moser & Cie Streamliner. And not just any Streamliner (if ever there is “just” such a thing) but the Tourbillon Skeleton in steel. This openworked luxury sports watch showcases Moser’s signature style and creativity, as well as movement construction capabilities. Even the hairspring is made in-house! There aren’t many manufacturers that can claim that, but Moser can. Presented on that groovy integrated steel bracelet, this retails for a cool CHF 79,000.

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Quick facts – 40mm x 12.1mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – sapphire crystal front & back – openworked construction – red-gold plated indices & hands with Globolight inserts – Calibre HMC 814, in-house skeleton automatic – 21,600vph – 72h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds on tourbillon – integrated stainless steel bracelet – part of the permanent collection – CHF 79,000 (incl. VAT)

3 responses

  1. They are all very nice watches in fact some of best of a watch makers pride! Also safe from me by price.

  2. Funny how all of these watches would be better without the tourbillon. Not that i have something against a needlessly complicated seconds hand, but why one has to saw a hole in the dial to do it is a mystery to me.

  3. The best of the best only too expensive for most of those admire the craftsmanship.


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