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Kerbedanz - Maximus – the world’s biggest tourbillon

Kerbedanz Maximus – the world’s biggest tourbillon

The unique case of a tourbillon that you can admire without the need for a watchmaker’s loupe.

Earlier this year, I picked the Kerbedanz Maximus watch as one of my five favourites from Baselworld. Now, it’s time to come back to it in more detail. The small brand Kerbedanz, which is based in Neuchâtel and specialises in the production of unique pieces and strictly limited series using the finest high-end watchmaking techniques, caused a stir during Baselworld by presenting the world’s biggest tourbillon carriage in a wristwatch.

At Baselworld, new watches can often leave the factory just in time to make it to the exhibition in time for the opening. At Kerbedanz, however, the finishing touches to bring this magnificent piece to life took just a little longer and the watch was only visible on the Kerbedanz stand in the new Les Ateliers exhibition area for independent watchmakers from the weekend onwards. 

Those who took the time to seek it out were rewarded with a visual treat which, quite frankly, I wasn’t expecting from Kerbedanz. The reason is that Kerbedanz specialises in tourbillons, but with the twist of using an off-centred arrangement, where the crown and the tourbillon are not found in the usual place. But the exact opposite approach is used for the Maximus, probably caused by the very specificity of this innovation.

Having a giant flying tourbillon cage poses several technical problems. In the case of the Maximus, the tourbillon carriage alone is 27mm in diameter, creating a challenge for movement designers to incorporate this marvel inside a watch case. Even with the large 49mm case diameter of the Maximus, this was by no means an easy task. The chosen configuration makes the piece even rarer than its limited edition of 99 suggests, since the Maximus is not only the biggest tourbillon in a wristwatch currently on the market, it is also one of very few central tourbillons available. Furthermore, because the tourbillon carriage is so large, a new balance wheel and spring had to be developed specifically for this calibre.

Maximus – the world’s biggest tourbillon 

Since the tourbillon takes centre stage and hovers over the dial, taking the height of the movement including the carriage to 13.2mm, it gives an unparalleled overview of how this regulating organ works. Furthermore, because of its size it is quite simply much more visible than any other tourbillon, which, together with the absence of a dial in the traditional sense, means that extra care must be lavished on the movement finishing. All the components in the Kerbedanz Maximus are therefore finished by hand with hand polished chamfers, drawn flanks and mirror-polished screws. 

The calibre KRB-08 powering this supersized tourbillon is equipped with four mainspring barrels arranged in parallel, which are hand-wound by a special winding stem located on the case back. Even beating at a sedate 18,000 vibrations per hour and completing a full revolution in six minutes rather than the usual 60 seconds, the 1.35 grams of the tourbillon carriage take some moving. But the four barrels ensure a respectable 48 hours of power reserve. 

The Kerbedanz Maximus is available with a case in titanium or 18-carat rose gold and an alligator leather strap with double folding clasp in a special Kerbedanz design. It is a limited edition of 99.

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