We have launched “Mission Tourbillon” as a foolsday-joke. Some days later we made it pretty clear that it was only a joke when it comes to our photoshopped Array tourbillon version and that we are serious about making a HORAGE tourbillon watch.
In our 2nd post we want to walk you through the specs for this tourbillon movement and especially decide about the styling of the plates and bridges which at the end of the day will make the look of this watch.
· Model name: Not yet found (Tbd)
· Case material: 904 or Titan grade 5 or Arpal+ (Tbd)
· Type: Flying Tourbillon
· Functions: Minute-, Hour-hands ; Second is the tourbillon itself
· Watch Dimensions: <41mm diameter / <9.95mm height
· Movement size: 32,8mm x ?mm
· Beat: 4 Hz / 28.800
· Runtime: target approx.. 70h
· Rubies: 23
· Parts-count: approx. 173 pieces / 67
· Movement finish: Skeletonized / beveled angles / Femtosecond laser-finish /Color (Tbd)
As you can see we have choose a Flying Tourbillon which has been designed by Alfred Helwig in 1920. He was an instructor at the German School of watchmaking in Glashuette. At this time the German watch industry boomed both in Glashuette and its western counterpart Pforzheim until the 2nd world war wiped out both cities and with them the future of German watchmaking. The British tried to improve the known Tourbillon to increase precision, however the German watchmaker Helwig redesigned the Breguet invented tourbillon into its flying version by removing the typical bridge (I call it a dog bone). This bridge was traditionally needed to hold one end of the balance-wheel axle, however it kind of disturb the hypnotizing aesthetics of the rotating cage.
"...because we do this watch for our soul..."
And this is exactly the reason why we go for a flying tourbillon, because we do this watch for our soul and for the joy of watching the cage rotating around itself once per minute. The downside is that you perhaps should avoid throwing the watch against a concrete wall with full throttle, because it cannot resist as much G-force as the tourbillons with the “bone”.
After travelling with some Flying Tourbillon watches on my wrist and after talking to experts who make and sell flying tourbillons for decades, we came to the conclusion that overly G-force marketing should not outweigh our desire for an undisturbed beautiful view on our tourbillon watch and that the flying version is the way to go. Don’t worry even if it can resist less G-force it will be a daily watch with COSC certification.
Spec and the “unknowns”
HORAGE is inextricably connected to the K1 movement project and everybody who has bought a watch with a K1 movement knows about our story and that we typically live up to what we promise in terms of precision and reliability. We needed 7 years to bring the K1 movement to life and another 3 years to make it a bombproof workhorse for our watches. We are convinced that 10 years is the median time for any movement project which is designed and built from scratch like the K1.
To avoid getting dragged into another 7 years engineering “silo”, we choose existing and proven solutions to build our hand-wound flying tourbillon watch.
In this way we can enjoy the watch in the foreseeable future and sleep well when selling them to you😉.
As you can see, the current spec-list is not set in stone and is leaving room for decisions to be made along the project run time. One of the unknowns is the runtime we can achieve once we adapt our escapement know how to the regulating unit. 70 hours is our wish however it is not a guarantee.
Similar like the K1 movement in its full spec, this movement will have around +170 parts whereas 67 parts alone will go into the tourbillon cage itself.
Needless to say, all these parts are damn small, they have to be super light to reduce inertia and they have to be machined to outmost precision.
Due to our history we feel safe and experienced with all the known components of a mechanical movement, however the tourbillon unit is new to us and we want to make sure we can focus on making sure this part works well. This is the reason why we skip calendar or automatic winding systems, because we not only want to have a very undisturbed look but keep our promise of a reliable product. It will be challenging enough to make this happen. We will come back to specs and more details around these parts during the period of the project.
Finish and Look
Most of the cost for such a product comes from finishing!
Since we do not want to burn big holes into our pockets, we need to find ways to create a unique hand finished aesthetic which can be realized by machining processes to a major degree. This is the only way to keep cost under control as we all know that Switzerland is not exactly a low-cost labor country and “hands” work is expensive.
We want the fascinating inner workings to be exposed in a subtle way... the skeletonizing should have a modern feel making room for finish work and allowing the colors of the plates to unfold.
This is where the community decision comes into play for the first time…
What are the color combinations you would prefer?
Please make a vote and don’t forget to invite others for an opinion!
front & back - silver
front & back - brown gold
front & back - blue
front & back - dark grey
front - dark grey / back - blue
Note on the finish:
The closed squares are planned as slightly lowered sections, into which we "copy" a perfect straight brush hand-finish with a femtosecond-laser. Since the remaining structure shall be mate finished and will be slightly elevated, such look can only be achieved with modern short pulse laser technology.
We want all edges to be angled, however we are yet in the process of figuring out what the minimum inner radiuses will be to allow a CNC machine to do this job.