With most watches, there is only one way to wear them on your wrist: dial side up. While this is a true pleasure, it also means that the heart of the watch, its movement, it hidden. For decades the privilege of seeing the movement and being able to admire all its details and craftsmanship was that of the watchmakers making and servicing these watches. Today, especially in the higher echelons of watchmaking, a display back is almost standard and allows us to behold the true magic behind mechanical watches; movements with technical ingenuity and a perfect finish on even the smallest part, turning these practical objects into the realm of wearable art.
Breguet Double Tourbillon 5347
In all honesty, the back of the Breguet Tourbillon 5347 would not at all be that exciting compared to its mesmerizing dial side, as little of the gear train is visible. Breguet turned this into an advantage by utilizing the space (no pun intended) around it for a stunning engraving that also takes this side of the watch to the next level. Also, note the detailed way in which they outlined the gears of the movement and how they are integrated in a three dimensional way into the engraving.
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date
The German style of crafting movements is distinctly different from the Swiss way. The beauty of the caliber that powers the Zeitwerk Date from A. Lange & Söhne can be found in the use of German Silver for the bridges, along with the perfect finish. Each part seemed to have been sculpted instead of made. Hand engraved details, such as the balance cock, give it an artistic touch, while all the gears, visible on different levels, amplify the technical aspect of this masterpiece.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel
The fact that the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel is one of the most complex watches that Jaeger-LeCoultre has ever made doesn’t mean that their focus was purely technical. Aesthetically is the movement also stunning, as can be seen through the display back of the watch. While the amount of parts is baffling, so is the care and attention that Jaeger-LeCoultre paid to each of them. They are not only a testimony to the rich heritage of the brand but also proof that for them innovation is grounded in tradition.
Bovet Virtuoso VIII
When Bovet created the movement of the Virtuoso VIII, it almost seems like they did so with the aesthetic view of the back in mind. Especially the way that the gear train on the left is secured by four bridges, all lavishly decorated as well, is breathtaking. It is visually balanced out with the mainspring barrel on the right side of the movement, without taking away too much attention from the tourbillon at six o’clock. It is a masterpiece of not only decorating art but also in the way that the movement and all its components are brought together, going beyond their practical purpose.