After three years of research and development, by master watchmaker Pierre-Michele Golay and the members of the Franck Muller team, The Master of Complications does it again with The Thunderbolt Tourbillon. The Franck Muller Thunderbolt Tourbillon has been referred to as the “fastest tourbillon in the world” due to the 5-second rotation of the tourbillon cage – which is completely captivating to watch. Using the power from four barrels, the tourbillon cage is able to make 12 full rotations per minute on a ceramic ball bearing, right before your eyes. Thunderbolt Tourbillon features a 55.05mm Cintrée Curvex case in 18 carat white gold. The case houses a Caliber FM2025T mechanical, manual winding tourbillon movement with four barrels and a 60 hour power reserve. The look of the skeletonized dial exemplifies and reiterates Franck Muller’s dedication to fine watchmaking, with hand finishing, engraving and beveling techniques adding to the creative design of this timepiece. The Thunderbolt Tourbillon features hours and minutes functions and a two position crown used for time setting and winding. Shown here on a black, hand sewn alligator strap, the Thunderbolt Tourbillon by Franck Muller is priced at 210,000 CHF.
The HYT H1 is a big, hyper-modern, aggressively styled watch nearly 50mm in diameter. The most fascinating part of the watch, of course, is that fluid indication of time. Here’s how it works: the time is shown by the meniscus–a fancy word for the surface-tension shaped end–of a luminous green fluid flowing through a transparent tube set around the periphery of the dial. The trick is that there are actually two fluids: one is the visible green fluid that shows the hour, and the other is a transparent fluid that takes up the remaining space in the tube. Two bellows connected to opposite ends of the tube act as reservoirs for the fluid; as the one containing the transparent fluid expands, the one containing the fluorescent fluid contracts, advancing the fluorescent fluid as time passes. The entire system is thus closed and hydro-dynamically stable. The two fluids contain molecules with opposite electrical charges to prevent them from mixing with each other. There’s a conventional minute indicator on the dial, as well as a power reserve indicator and a turbine-like disk showing the running seconds. Turn the watch over, and the beautifully designed movement is revealed. It’s been given a surprisingly traditional finish, which combined with the bellows system and unusual movement architecture gives the watch a kind of steampunk appeal that I honestly found instantly irresistible.
The Royal Blue Tourbillon watch by Ulysse Nardin is a statement as much as it is a watch. The message is clear and direct to both watch lovers and fellow brands. Ulysse Nardin here asserts its power as a brand when it comes to beauty, haute joaillerie, and status. If Ulysse Nardin were a city, this watch would be its proudest monument. Ulysse Nardin chose to play with the colors blue and white in the watch. Deeming blue to be a royal tone (and I always thought it was purple), the color is mixed with white (the color of platinum and diamonds). It is no coincidence then that platinum and diamonds make up most of the construction of the watch. The case is 43mm wide in solid 950 platinum. The eyes however see only small amounts of platinum due to the invigorating quantity of precious stones that include diamonds and sapphires. Attempting to describe the amount of Top Wesselton baguette cut diamonds all over the watch is like trying to count stars. The Royal Blue Tourbillon has hundreds of large carat stones all over dial, case, and bracelet. Ulysse Nardin reports the timepiece to have 568 diamonds (total of 33.8 carats) and 236 royal blue sapphires (total of 16.79 carats). Each stone needed to be specially selected and cut to fill in the many precious stone filled nooks and crannies all over the Royal Blue Tourbillon’s surfaces. This is not diamond decoration without design though. The stone work has been specially designed to create a distinct shape and series of textures all over the watch. The arrangement of both the diamonds and sapphires create a look that is much more than a mere amalgamation of precious jewels. The sapphire crystals on the side of the case for example are cut with curves, in order to give the side of watch case an angled shape. Sapphire crystals around the dial operate as hour indicators when mixed with diamonds, and play nicely with the blue toned synthetic sapphire bridges in the movement. In addition to being a flagship of diamonds and platinum, the Royal Blue Tourbillon has an impressively complex (and attractive) Calibre UN-79 movement. The manually wound movement features a flying tourbillon and very unique winding style. Ulysse Nardin wanted the wearer to feel special when winding the watch, so they developed a “circular rack” mechanism that spins around the dial and moves a series of gears while the watch is being wound. The system adds a sense of fun of intrigue when performing the simple task of winding the movement. The dial mixes both transparent and blue colored sapphire crystals with blued steel screwed to create the very impressive skeletonized dial. Under 12 o’clock, you can see the skeletonized mainspring barrel which can also act as a visual power reserve indicator. Ulysse Nardin has ultimately defined its position in the luxury watch world with a piece such as the Royal Blue Tourbillon. Let no one be confused as to what the brand is capable of. The Royal Blue Tourbillon watch will be limited to just 30 pieces, and will also come with an optional alligator strap if you don’t see yourself going “full bling ahead” on “Royal Blue” days. Price for the Ulysse Nardin Royal Blue Tourbillon is $1,000,000.
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