In 2011, the Group encompassing La Joux-Perret (the independent movement maker), Prototec (a component manufacturer) and the Arnold and Son brand decided to revive a watchmaking legend, Angelus. Rather than attempt a nostalgic revival of past glories, Sébastien Chaulmontet and the Angelus team instead embarked on a project to develop a rather impressive series of purpose-built movements.
Within two years, 4 different Tourbillon watches were presented. The resurrection of the brand started with the launch of the unconventional U10 Tourbillon Lumières inspired by 1970s travel clocks. This was followed by the U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon, which features a movement built on a transparent sapphire main plate. Next in line was the U30, which is a skeletonized fly-back split-seconds chronograph regulated by a Tourbillon, technically impressive with a decidedly bold design. Today, we take a hands-on look at the U40 racing Tourbillon skeleton, an ‘accessibly-priced’ modern take on the Tourbillon.
The original idea behind the Angelus U40 was to design a radically modern tourbillon movement inspired by cutting edge architecture and structural engineering. Unlike most skeleton watches, its movement is purpose-built as a skeleton – as opposed to being a cut-out version of an existing caliber – and so its design has been optimized for this purpose. In order to reduce its weight and maximize its resistance, the traditional main plate and bridges construction have been replaced by two almost identical plates securing all parts. Together with a small gear train bridge, one of most visible exceptions to this symmetry is the flying Tourbillon which is cantilevered, being only secured to the plate on one side.
The result is a highly contemporary design which exposes all the technical elements: black ADLC coated plates, contrasting Angelus six-spoke wheels, open-worked barrel drum and ratchet with a cool click spring, a compact setting mechanism and, the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock.
The A300 caliber is a hand-wound movement with a 60 hour power reserve and runs at 28’800 vibrations per hour. It is a large movement, 32.8mm in diameter and 4.3mm thick. It features modern finishing playing with contrasts and volumes. The plate/bridges are snailed and sandblasted. The wheels, ratchet and barrel are satin finished. The crown wheel features a sunburst decoration and an engraved and lacquered Angelus logo. The screw heads are finely beveled and mirror-polished. The tourbillon cage is mirror-polished with chamfered and polished edges. An interesting detail illustrating the attention to details is the stud-holder designed in the shape of the Angelus logo.
The movement is framed by a dark flange with hour markers and red accents. The hour and minutes hands are faceted, skeletonized and come with either red or white tips.
The Angelus U40 Racing Tourbillon skeleton wears well with its super-light and comfortable 42mm case. It is crafted in grade 5 titanium and features complex details and alternate polished / satin-finished surfaces. The overall proportions are perfectly balanced and showcase the movement without adding unnecessary bulk. Its thin multi-step bezel holds a sapphire box glass in place; the lugs are hollowed-out to enhance its architectural look. These are screwed to the watch body which allows perfect re-polishing during service operations.
The model sports a black, structured rubber strap featuring the Angelus logo and a pin buckle.
There has been a resurgence of skeleton watches over the past few years. In this category, the Angelus U40 is an architectural, versatile take on the Tourbillon. I personally tend to go for classic designs and I believe the sober case design balances the modern look of the skeletonized movement well. Priced at $ 28,950 usd, it is considered an entry-level piece for Angelus and seems excellent value for money for a tourbillon, especially for an exclusive in-house production.
Technical specifications of the Angelus U40 racing Tourbillon skeleton
- Case: 42 mm x 10 mm – titanium grade 5 – sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating – 30m water resistant
- Movement: A300 with manual winding – 60h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, one-minute flying tourbillon.
- Strap: rubber with titanium pin buckle.
- Reference number: 0TSAT.B01A.K007T red hands / 0TSAT.B01B.K007T white hands
- Price: $ 28,950 USD