The tourbillon is among the most coveted of mechanical complications, bringing the balance wheel and escapement into a rotating cage to counter the forces of gravity. Invented by Breguet around 1795 and patented in 1801, the tourbillon is actually among the oldest of complications and benefited pocket watches that remained in a static upright position. French for “whirlwind,” the tourbillon ensures that the balance and escapement are never stuck in one position, canceling constant points of gravity to improve accuracy. Although considered by most a generally obsolete concept today for wristwatches our team of engineers understand the positive attributes in efficiency the tourbillon offers and how it remains as relevant today as it has over the past century. Tourbillons are still extremely difficult and time consuming to produce, and demonstrate the real engineering prowess of a watchmaker.
The K-TOU titanium flying tourbillon movement has an interesting story that really defines the ethos and talent of the HORAGE team. We initially planned to purchase tourbillon movements from a Swiss movement supplier with our own silicon escapement architecture, but the deal ultimately fell through. Prototypes had already been assembled and preorders taken, so we made the difficult decision to design and engineer our own K-TOU tourbillon movement and fulfill orders within a year of the original timeline. It only took 8 months to go from the drawing board to working movements, thanks to our accumulated experience and know-how from a decade of K1 development. Such a short design-to-production window is rather unprecedented for a Swiss tourbillon, especially during the worst pandemic in a century. Specifications surpass many Swiss tourbillons on the market, most of which are three times the price or more. In fact, the Tourbillon 1 watches with the K-TOU movement were the most affordable production Swiss Made flying tourbillons by a sizeable margin.
Check out the backstory as told by Watchfinder. Watch Video
K-TOU has the highest power reserve of our three production movements, including the K1 automatic and K2 micro-rotor. K1 has an impressive 65-hour power reserve, while K2 surpassed this with a 72-hour reserve. This is quite an achievement, especially for a micro-rotor calibre. K-TOU, however, has an amazing 120-hour power reserve via a single barrel - a full 5 days. The prior tourbillon prototypes had a 3-day power reserve. Efficiency is a major aspect of our movements and the engineering that went into K-TOU is truly remarkable. Our silicon escapement (escape wheel and anchor) is 55% more efficient than conventional counterparts, while the flying tourbillon cage is lightweight titanium. Both play a key role in extending the power reserve. The tourbillon cage weighs only 0.29 grams with a low profile of 3.9mm. Like all of our movements, K-TOU also beats at a slightly reduced rate of 3.5Hz (25,200vph), which improves the power reserve as well.
K-TOU is a manual-wind movement with a unique aesthetic. There are “dial grids” integrated in both the front and back, which were customizable online. They came in silver, grey, gold, blue and a blue/grey combo (blue in back, grey in front), and the pattern is a signature HORAGE style inspired by our logo. It had a mostly skeletonized design with open and closed “windows” throughout the grids. The square sections have a 30-degree polished bevel and the closed sections are recessed and bead-blasted. The barrel and mainspring are clearly visible just right of 12 o’clock and act as an approximate power reserve indicator. Of course, the star of the show is at 6 o’clock where the flying tourbillon sits in a 14mm aperture. The 43-piece tourbillon cage uses a stable ball bearing construction in lieu of the traditional pinion and jewel design, which contributes to durability and allows for reliable daily wear (tourbillons are known to be fragile). The time-only K-TOU has a jewel count of 19, which is above the “fully jeweled” threshold of 17 and the optimal number for a lifetime of performance. As always, accuracy is within the COSC standard of -4/+6 seconds per day and an official COSC certificate was configurable option.
Like all of our watches, the Tourbillon 1 with the K-TOU movement set the tone for a new era in tourbillon development without cutting corners or sacrificing performance. In fact, quite the contrary. The lightweight titanium cage and silicon escapement are advanced features and contribute to the massive 120-hour power reserve. The movement grid designs were also hand finished and available in several colors. The watch case was special as well, comprised of either 904L stainless steel (more corrosion resistant than its 316L counterpart) or 18k gold with the option of a brushed or polished finish. A 100-metre water resistance rating further reinforced its durability. In fact, a customer wore one during a Half Ironman without issue!
At a starting retail price of only CHF 7,490, it was less than half the price of the second most affordable production Swiss tourbillon produced. Our ability to bridge the gap between manufacture and industrial movement production made this possible. K-TOU has more than lived up to our commitment as a performance watchmaker.
- 3,5Hz frequency or 25.200 beats per hour
- Dimensions 4.3mm x 32mm
- Centre Hour & Minute Hand
- Seconds indicator on flying tourbillon cage revolving once every 60 seconds
- Silicon anchor and escape wheel
- +120 hour/+5 day power reserve
- Hand Wound
- (-4 / +6 seconds) Chronometer level accuracy
- 19 Jewels