X
Stay on top of all watchmaking news ! OK
×

This search is sponsored by Urban Jürgensen

Search in :
Baselworld
Baselworld 2019 - A tour of the tourbillons

Baselworld 2019 A tour of the tourbillons

There was no shortage of tourbillons at Baselworld. But if you were looking for something that was a bit out of the ordinary, they were more of a challenge to find.

Once upon a time, the tourbillon was considered an exceptional complication. But then it became commonplace – a starting point for a plethora of innovations, and a gold mine for inventors, eccentrics and dreamers. Today, in the wake of Baselworld 2019, it can legitimately be considered a barometer for the state of watchmaking, the watch market, and the zeitgeist of the wider watch community. If we were to take the temperature on the basis of the new tourbillon models introduced at the fair, it’s looking decidedly tepid. While tourbillon watches were much in evidence, most of them were not completely new; nor were they particularly exciting.

La ronde des tourbillons

Fleurs de Jardin © Jacob & Co.

But that’s not to say that a new version of an existing model can’t be a wonderful object in its own right. We saw proof of this from Jacob & Co, which adapted its Astronomia tourbillon with satellite display to create a women’s watch. In the Fleurs de Jardin, the balance spins on its own axis while at the same time rotating around the central pivot point on the end of an arm. The arm is in fact a branch, at the tip of which sits a butterfly, nestled among a bouquet of flowers assembled from petal-shaped precious stones. The entire spectacle is enclosed within a greenhouse of sapphire crystal, set around the outside with sapphire gems. It’s captivating.

La ronde des tourbillons

L.U.C Flying T Twin © Chopard

Chopard also presented a new tourbillon that wasn’t entirely... new. The L.U.C Flying T Twin introduces the brand’s first flying tourbillon in the haute horlogerie range. The tourbillon is inserted into a specially modified ultra-slim micro-rotor calibre. The result is on a par with the standard we have come to expect from L.U.C: conservative, exceedingly tasteful, eminently wearable and full of sophisticated details, including a gold guilloché dial and a Geneva Hallmark.

La ronde des tourbillons

Time Pyramid Tourbillon © Arnold & Son

Arnold & Son presented a Time Pyramid Tourbillon. The Time Pyramid is immediately recognisable by its boldly asymmetrical layout. Most of the essential organs of the movement are clustered at the bottom of the dial, while at the top, the balance reigns in solitary splendour. Only here, we have a tourbillon at 12 o’clock. Because if it ain’t broke, why fix it.

La ronde des tourbillons

Chronomètres FB 1L.1 and FB 1L.4 © Ferdinand Berthoud

Ferdinand Berthoud appears to have followed the same dictum. For its first new complication, the small watchmaker took its calibre FB1, with tourbillon, central seconds, and fusée and chain constant force escapement, and added an extremely sophisticated moon phase indication. It is driven by an annual cam that guarantees the complication will not need adjusting for 577 years. And, as we have seen in previous models, the tourbillon itself is invisible, hidden on the back, away from curious eyes.

La ronde des tourbillons

Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon Carbon Blue © Hublot

Hublot has attempted a different adaptation for its Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon Carbon Blue. The pre-existing movement has been reworked, and the skeleton framework has been redesigned. And the reason is no mystery; these days, tourbillons are meant to be seen, exhibited, shown off. This is the case with the Octo Roma Tourbillon Sapphire, where the blue of the movement cuts across the sandblasted gold of the case with its sapphire case band. And with the Graham Chronofighter Superlight Tourbillograph, with its carbon case and eye-watering price tag.

La ronde des tourbillons

Octo Roma Tourbillon Sapphire © WorldTempus/David Chokron

La ronde des tourbillons

Chronofighter Superlight Tourbillograph © Graham

It’s also a key feature of the Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon Skeleton. In the dead centre of the watch, under a sapphire dome, a huge arched bridge holds in place a vertically mounted tourbillon. This is probably the first of its kind we’ve seen. It comes in three different case finishes, each as spectacular as the next, thanks to the openworked dial and the movement visible underneath.

La ronde des tourbillons

Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon Skeleton © WorldTempus/David Chokron

Finally, Kerbedanz unveiled a tourbillon that marries two signature aspects. The first is the company’s skill with exceptional gem-set timepieces. The second is the biggest and possibly most spectacular tourbillon we’ve ever seen. The result is the Royal Maximus, which has virtually every surface smothered with baguette-cut diamonds, and at the centre, a monumental rotating regulating organ. So, while the temperature may be tepid, it’s nevertheless extremely pleasant.

La ronde des tourbillons

Tourbillon Maximus Royal © Kerbedanz

Brands

Named after John Arnold, the English watchmaker of the 18th century renowned for his work on chronometers and marine chronometers, Arnold & Son perpetuates the legacy of its namesake from the heart...

Find out more >

Bulgari has its own clear definition of excellence, which involves the perfect balance between design, added-value, quality of its products and its worldwide service. In the case of Bulgari...

Find out more >

Maison Chopard epitomises the alliance between watchmaking and jewellery. It has always known how to meet the expectations of its day, relying on four essential values: expertise, tradition,...

Find out more >

Above all, Cyrus sees itself as a non-conventional firm. With a very distinctive style and a number of patented functions, the Firm is committed to proving that fine watchmaking can be innovative...

Find out more >

Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud offers a contemporary take on the work of a master watchmaker. Its exclusive timepieces, developed by today’s master watchmakers, are a tribute to the excellence...

Find out more >

Based in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland, Graham preserves the legacy of London clockmaker George Graham, developing modern timepieces that combine sophisticated techniques with an atypical design.

Find out more >

From the outset, Hublot has embodied design and innovation that differ markedly from the established watchmaking order. With the impetus provided by Jean-Claude Biver, by 2004 these values had...

Find out more >

Jacob & Co. is an artistic visionary Maison that displays boundless creative freedom. Setting a completely new tone, both in terms of design and complications, it celebrates being different.

Find out more >

Kerbedanz offers the discerning customer highly exclusive timepieces as unique pieces or strictly limited editions packed with symbolism.

Find out more >