Schwarz Etienne started with a vertical integration strategy a few years ago, going as far as producing hairsprings in-house, with their sister company E2O innovations (read our recent introduction article about the brand here). This involved deep products’ evolution and a strategy based on a modular approach to movement development; a family of mechanical movements was created and evolved into different versions. Today, we take a look at the interesting La Chaux-de-Fonds Tourbillon Petite Seconde Retrograde, which was presented during Baselworld 2017.
The Schwarz Etienne La Chaux-de-fonds Tourbillon Petite Seconde Retrograde or PSR (for retrograde small second) is the latest iteration of a families of movements initiated with the presentation of the MSE (Manual Schwarz Etienne) caliber in 2013, a nice 13’’’ ¼ twin barrel movement with 4 days of power reserve. It was followed by the ASE (Automatic Schwarz Etienne), the ISE (Irreversible Schwarz Etienne) and the TSE (Tourbillon Schwarz Etienne).
The TSE caliber is a one-minute tourbillon movement with its micro-rotor on the dial side. It now incorporates a retrograde small-second, integrated in a really original way, as its mechanism is built directly in connection with the Tourbillon. A snail cam (colimaçon for those eager to build their French watchmaking vocabulary) is mounted on the tourbillon arbor. A ratchet gear is resting on this cam while the system is tensioned with a spring made with E2O Innovations. The mechanism therefore allows for the small seconds hand to advance along an arc and then suddenly jump back to recommence at the starting point.
Because the cam is shaped with a constantly increasing diameter, there is little disturbance in the way to Tourbillon is running, although the retrograde seconds is mounted directly on its arbor. In this respect, Schwarz Etienne reports that the amplitude loss is less than 10%, which allows the tourbillon to operate efficiently.
The motion of the tourbillon and of the retrograde seconds is eye-catching and this ballet is completed by the oscillation of a cool bi-directional micro-rotor. The movement reveals its inner workings in complete transparency. The play of movement, volumes, contrasting materials and colors works very well and adds a lot of visual depth. The movement features a grey finish with sandblasting on the main plate, Geneva stripes and hand-chamfering. It runs at 3 Hz, for a power reserve of 72 hours (3 days).
The Schwarz Etienne La Chaux-de-fonds Tourbillon Petite Seconde Retrograde is available in two versions. Green aventurine or grey hematite specularite (fine stones) are used to manufacture the small seconds indicator and the off-centred hours and minutes dial. 44mm in diameter, the round case is crafted from steel or pink gold. Its back is engraved with gears and features an opening on the Tourbillon cage.
The Schwarz Etienne La Chaux-de-fonds Tourbillon Petite Seconde Retrograde is worn on a qualitative alligator strap with green or grey alligator lining, matching the color of the dial which is a nice touch. It is closed with a folding buckle. For more information, visit www.schwarz-etienne.com.
Technical specifications – Schwarz Etienne La Chaux-de-fonds Tourbillon Petite Seconde Retrograde
- Case: 44 mm – stainless steel or 18k pink gold – sapphire crystal – engraved case back with opening on the tourbillon – water resistant to 50m
- Movement: TSE122.00 – 30.40 x 7.05 mm – mechanical with automatic winding (micro-rotor) – min. 72h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – 40 jewels – off-center indication of the hours and minutes, retrograde seconds, one-minute tourbillon
- Strap: alligator strap with alligator lining, folding buckle matching the case material
- Retail price: CHF 62,900 for the steel version, CHF 87,400 for the pink gold version.