Rebellion The WEAP-ONE Guide for Dummies
The WEAP-ONE by Rebellion is unprecedented, iconoclastic and so complex that in order to truly grasp the full mechanical beauty, you will need to arm yourself with a ruler and a spinning top.
It’s not easy to explain, still less to design, build and assemble. So, how is Rebellion planning to promote its WEAP-ONE? The question might seem disingenuous, given that a video has just been announced that might well reveal all, but it’s nevertheless still relevant. Collectors, who are continually on the lookout for new and exciting horological experiences, push watchmakers to tackle increasingly difficult challenges. When they succeed, they have to be capable of explaining what makes that particular timepiece so special. The WEAP-ONE is fully entitled to its claim of being an extraordinary piece.
A ruler and a spinning top
Complex watches need short words and lots of pictures. So, how exactly does the WEAP-ONE work? Step 1: let’s imagine a school ruler. On top of it is a spinning top. That’s the tourbillon. The top remains stable as it spins on its own axis, resting on the horizontal base of the ruler.
Step 2: now let’s imagine that we pick up the ruler and start to turn it between our hands. This is the second axis of rotation – the ruler rotating between our hands. The brighter students will already have grasped that this is a two-axis tourbillon. And they’d be right, but it’s not quite as simple as that.
A game of two halves
In fact, the difficulties are only just beginning. There are actually three rotations going on: our tourbillon/spinning top, our left hand, and our right hand. Why is this important? Because each rotation occurs at a different speed. The tourbillon, our spinning top, takes 60 seconds to complete its revolution. Then, you have to visualise your right hand rotating once every minute, and your left hand every two minutes.
This has the visual effect of literally propelling the tourbillon from left to right along its axis – a lateral motion never before seen in a timepiece. Given that the hour display on the WEAP-ONE is calculated from the average of both rotations, a highly complex system of gears had to be invented to account for it. And the complexity doesn’t stop there.
Mesmerised by the hypnotic effect of the fascinating tourbillon, it is easy to forget that the WEAP-ONE remains a mechanical watch, with the traditional gear train, barrel and all the usual components of a mechanical movement. Here, they are totally invisible, hidden inside the two ends of the case. This is another major technical feat by Rebellion, who have removed the calibre from the tourbillon and split it into two groups of components, one to the right of the central axis and the other to the left, in two separate chambers formed by the watch case.
A brain and two separate hemispheres
The part of the watch devoted to setting the time has been placed to the left, along with the crown for adjusting the hours and minutes. The “energy” part – the barrel and its associated organs – are in the right-hand cone, along with the winding crown. The technical accomplishment is mind-blowing. The mechanical brain of the WEAP-ONE has been completely split into two hemispheres, which are designed to work in concert. At the same time, a transmission axis has been created to relay information between the two remote halves.
With 529 components, the WEAP-ONE is an extraordinary piece. Rebellion has begun production of the twenty watches in this limited series. Those who have understood its immense horological value might look forward to receiving one in the autumn, when deliveries begin. Those with more limited means might have to settle for a spinning top.