The newest Swiss flying tourbillon’s development is as epic as the watch itself.
One For The Record Books
Article by Eric Tyler
The tourbillon isn’t a recent development. In fact, it’s among the oldest of horological complications. Invented by Breguet in the late 1700s and officially patented in 1801, the tourbillon is French for “whirlwind” and brings the balance wheel and escapement into a rotating cage. Most rotate once per minute (doubling as a seconds indicator) and counteract the forces of gravity by always shifting positions, thereby increasing accuracy. This was game-changing for pocket watches that were usually in one static position, but a bit redundant for wristwatches that frequently move. After hundreds of years, it remains among the most difficult and complex complications to produce. There are several types of tourbillons, but to keep things simple, they can be broken down into fixed and flying variants. A traditional one is fixed via a bridge at the top and bottom, while a flying tourbillon is cantilevered and supported only from the back. This leaves the complication exposed on the dial side and seemingly floating without support. Eye candy for sure and the ultimate display of watchmaking prowess, even if the original purpose is generally obsolete today.
K2 Micro-rotor movement currently in production and consumer program starting Q2 2021.
The even more advanced K2 followed with a complex micro-rotor, and in-between all of this was the Tourbillon 1 project. The goal was to provide a premium Swiss-Made flying tourbillon for well under CHF 10,000, which is an industry first. Tag Heuer shocked the industry several years ago with the Carrera Heuer-02T Chronograph tourbillon for only CHF 15,000, and this is an industry giant with the added resources of parent company LVMH. The HORAGE Tourbillon 1 was announced in early 2020 with a starting price of only CHF 6,990 (ex. vat), from a team of less than ten. Unlike the K1 and K2 movements, the tourbillon was to be produced by Swiss movement manufacturer La Joux-Perret with HORAGE’s silicon escapement integrated.
Original Tourbillon 1 - Soon to receive a serious in-house upgrade.
Horage co-founder Andreas Felsl going over the new drawings with Tourbillon 1 lead Silvan Deutschmann.
DLC coating was added to the main barrel to provide ensure generations of wearing.
The titanium flying tourbillon cage with 43 parts is packed into 3.9mm and weighs just 0.29 grams. Weight is a big contributor to precision and power reserve. If you look close you will find THE+ on the escape wheel.
A mesmerizing case back view unlike anything else ever produced.
The devil is in the details. Even the hands setting mechanism received a beautiful brushed decoration.
Written by Horage enthusiast Eric Tyler - Let him know your appreciation in the comments.