Seven watches continue the competition for the 2013 Best Grande Complication Watch title. At the pre-selected list of the year’s best creations that the jury of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève has just announced, there are Greubel Forsey GTM Asymétrique, A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar watch, Bulgari’s Comedia Dell Arte, Audemars Piguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon Chronograph, Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari, Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T and De Bethune DB16 Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon. After The 13th GPHG Awards Ceremony to be held in Geneva, on November 15, we will know which one of these great timepieces will inherit the title from the last year’s winner – Greubel Forsey’s Invention Piece 2 Quadruple Tourbillon watch.
Greubel Forsey GTM Asymétrique Watch
Once again, the name of this innovative watchmaker found its place in the top of the haute horology. This year, Greubel Forsey is competing with its highly complicated GTM Asymétrique which was introduced for the first time in 2011. Unlike the first model that came in white gold, the newest version is crafted in red gold 5N and features anthracite plates and a bridge with a galvanic treatment. Other characteristics of two versions are pretty much similar, including the same mechanism.
The most impressive element of this masterpiece with a multi-leveled construction is an amazing three-dimensional, rotating terrestrial globe offering a truly original view of time all over the world. Located at the 8 o’clock position, this titanium globe completes the anti-clockwise revolution (the direction of the earth’s rotation) in 24 hours, providing a unique way of displaying different time zones. Being secured at just one end of its rotational axis (the South Pole), the globe shows the position of continents in real time, complemented with a day-and-night indicator on the equatorial chapter ring. Almost complete globe is visible in every moment, thanks to the sapphire crystal case-back and the sides of the case.
One of the brand’s major patented inventions, the 25° inclined Tourbillon 24 Secondes is placed at the 5 o’clock position. It is a part of the specially developed GMT hand-winding mechanism, built of 436 parts, including 87 components of the super-light tourbillon cage (just 0.36 grams). Thanks to two coaxial mainspring barrels, it ensures 72 hours of power reserve. Besides its technical perfection, this mechanism is also an aesthetical masterpiece, characteristic by its hand-finished, frosted, spotted, beveled, straight-grained, matt lapped and flat black polished plates and bridges.
Greubel Forsey GTM Asymétrique watch features an 18 karat gold dial with an hour and minute dial placed at the 1 o’clock position, together with a petit small seconds dial placed at its 3 o’clock position. Right below a small seconds dial, there is a power reserve-indicator. Finally, the second time-zone sub-dial takes the 10 o’clock position. The red gold case has the diameter of 43.50mm and it is 16.14mm thick and it comes attached to a hand-sewn black alligator leather strap. This extraordinary timepiece has a breathtaking price of CHF 525,000.
Bulgari Comedia Dell Arte Watch
Launched in three exclusive series of 8 pieces, this unique timepiece recalls the Italian theatrical life of the 16th century, by pairing the sound of the cathedral gong minute repeater with complex contemporary automata which come to life with every strike of the chime. Bulgari Comedia Dell Arte watch displays figures of three iconic characters from that lively epoch – Brighella, Pulcinella, and Harlequin – performing a nomadic, outdoor form of improvisation. With the activation of the minute repeater, these automata start with their performance against a highly sophisticated background that represents an Italian palazzo.
A cathedral gongs are longer than standard hammers, providing a deeper sound and amplifying the resonance of a movement. On demand, the minute repeater mechanism chimes the hours, quarter hours and minutes in different tones, animating the different figures on the dial each time. Depending on the scene, among five and seven mobile components drive the figures. The show begins when the central figure moves its arm, followed by other automata moving their feet, chests or heads, in the thrilling performance. This is possible thanks to an extremely complex hand-winding Calibre BVL 618 which is completely hand-finished.
The Comedia Dell Arte watch comes in three variations, each of which shows a different scene on its dial, with a Venetian, Neapolitan or Bolognese décor. Brighella, Pulcinella and Harlequin are the main characters on each dial executions, showcased as singing or playing musical instruments.
Crafted on 18 karat gold discs, each dial is an authentic piece of art, executed by Ateliers Vaucher in Geneva which applied a series of very rare and difficult techniques, such as miniature painting, engraving and chasing. It shows time by means of a retrograde minute display and a jumping hour disk, indicated through the aperture at the 6 o’clock position.
The extremely robust, 54 mm case is made of 18 karat white gold and Magsonic®, a special alloy added to optimize the resonance. The Comedia Dell Arte is available for CHF 400,000.
The true beauty of the haute horology lies in the fact that the high end watchmakers each year find new creative concepts and push the technological limits further and further, in order to present basic timekeeping features, as well as most valuable complications in a completely unique way. Just take a look at this Hublot’s masterpiece and you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Inspired by both design and performances of Ferrari’s famous car, the MP-05 “LaFerrari” timepiece is the brand’s most complex model so far. Thanks to the highly complicated mechanism with 11 series-coupled barrels, it provides 50 days of power-reserve, which is the world record for a hand-winding tourbillon movement.
By imitating the shape of Ferrari car, Hublot created an authentic case with an ergonomic time-setting crown incorporated under the case. Furthermore, an invisible winding crown is covered with titanium and carbon inserts. The case is made of black PVD titanium and matched with a sporty rubber strap.
The dial of the new Masterpiece MP-05 “La Ferrari” watch is another proof of the Swiss brand’s creativity and technological excellence. All features are indicated via anodized black aluminum cylinders whose reinforcing bars come in anodized red aluminum to evoke the Ferrari’s signature color. Cylinders on the right side of the dial display hours and minutes, while the cylinder on the left side serves as the power-reserve indicator.
Finally, at the usually called 6 o’clock position, just bellow the brand’s name inscription, there is an aluminum cylinder, fastened onto the suspended Tourbillon, indicating small seconds. The very large tourbillon cage with the diameter of 14.50 mm is revealed through a transparent side of the case. The complex mechanism, built of 637 components is also visible through a sapphire crystal case-back.
Limited to just 50 pieces, Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 “La Ferrari” watch costs CHF 300,000.
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Watch
Compared to the previous models, this highly complicated masterpiece seems like a common watch. There is a classic round case with the mid-size diameter and a regular dial with several basic features. Well, this is how it looks at the first glance, since you need to take a closer look at its perfectly arranged interface in order to become aware of the extraordinary complexity of this timepiece.
Along with a rattrapante chronograph, A. Lange & Söhne equipped its novelty with a perpetual calendar, a moon-phase indicator and a power-reserve indicator, while keeping the authentic aesthetical excellence of the top-end chronograph from the 1815 series.
Thanks to two central chronograph hands, this watch is able to count two separate elapsed times simultaneously, in the classic manner with two column wheels. Furthermore, there is a minute counter at the 12 o’clock position, together with a power-reserve indicator. Moon phases are indicated at the 6 o’clock position by the newly designed solid-gold lunar disc. They are so accurate that the indicator needs to be adjusted once every 122 years. It is surrounded with the small-seconds track. Two sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock positions show date, day, month and leap year, with such precision that there will be no need for any correction until the year 2100.
The mechanism that brings together all these complications is an in-house hand-winding Calibre L101.1 which is completely exhibited through a sapphire crystal case-back. It comprises 631 components, more than 200 of which are used for the perpetual calendar.
The case of A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar watch is made of platinum in the diameter of 41.9 mm. It is nicely rounded and polished, matching a silver dial designed by the authentic code from the brand’s pocket watch tradition. For the additional touch of elegance, there is a black leather strap with stitching in the same color. This extraordinary timepiece can be yours for CHF 209,000.
This amazing timepiece from the Manufacture in Le Brassus brings together two most valuable horological complications – a tourbillon and a minute repeater, combining it with a chronograph column wheel. The lightness of the titanium case, as well as its robustness and special shape ensure an exceptional sound quality and high volume of two minute repeater gongs. At the same time, the case aesthetically recalls the brand’s cushion-shaped pocket-watches from the 1920s.
While the case middle with the diameter of 47 mm comes in titanium, the bezel is made of satin-finished white gold. It perfectly fits to a silvered opaline dial with the same pattern. The contrast is provided by the addition of pink gold hands and Arabic numerals. At the 6 o’clock position, there is a highlight of the model – a beautifully finished tourbillon cage, visible through the aperture on the dial. The rest of the mechanical perfection is visible through a sapphire crystal case-back. Built of 504 parts, the 7.65mm thick manual-winding AP Caliber 2874 is completely crafted by hands, including manual finishing on the bridges, the mainplate and the cut out parts (polished beveling, grained finishing on the top and Matt “brouillé” finishing underneath). It oscillates with 21,600 beats per hour and ensures 48 hours of power-reserve. The third complication is presented by means of a classic looking chrono sub-dial, located at the 3 o’clock position.
Audemars Piguet Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph is produced in the ultra-limited series of 10 pieces, so many of those who are willing to pay CHF 432,000 for this masterpiece will not be able to purchase it.
Chopard L.U.C. Perpetual T Watch
The newest model in the brand’s renowned L.U.C. range, a Perpetual T timepiece combines a perpetual calendar with a tourbillon complication whose technological excellence is confirmed by COSC Chronometer Certificate. For its extraordinary craftsmanship, this marvelous watch bears the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark.
The watch features a 43 mm case crafted in beautifully polished rose gold case that matches applied Roman numerals on a solid gold dial. Decorated with a hand-cut guilloché motif, the dial comes with two sub-dials, one indicating the second time zone, as well as the day of the week, and the other one showing the month and the leap year. At the 12 o’clock position, there is a double date window. The highlight of the L.U.C Perpetual T watch is a tourbillon cage, located at the 6 o’clock position. It is characteristic by a meticulously polished steel bridge and a sword shaped red gold hand that rotates together with the cage, indicating small seconds.
Inside the case, there is a L.U.C Calibre 02.15-L hand-winding mechanism, with a superb power-reserve of up to 9 days. Placed at the reverse side of the mechanism, the power-reserve indicator can be read through the transparent case-back. Besides, sapphire crystal also reveals beautifully hand-finished mechanical parts, including circular-grained plates, polished screws and beveled bridges with vertical Côtes de Genève motif.
Unlike previously presented models, the L.U.C Perpetual T watch does not come in a limited edition. Still, with its price of CHF 148,000, it is also a part of the high-end luxury models.
De Bethune DB16 Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon – Deadbeat Second Spherical Moon Phases “Age of the Moon” Watch
The last member of this prestigious list is a DB16 Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon. To be clear, models are randomly reviewed and their order on the list does not represent our opinion about possible favorites for the title.
Just by reading the complete name of De Bethune’s novelty, you can easily realize that we are talking about super-complicated timepiece. This mirror polished, pink gold watch with the diameter of 43 mm displays numerous complications on both sides of the case. On an alluring, silver-toned dial with the sunburst guilloché motif, there are two apertures, at 3 and 9 o’clock positions, indicating the month and the day of the week respectively. The date sub-dial is placed at the 6 o’clock position, while the top of the dial features a spherical moon-phase indicator in platinum, placed on the beautiful flame-blued steel that recalls star-studded sky. Curved and hand-polished hands are made of the same material.
Through the sapphire crystal case-back, you can see another set of complication, such as a marvelous 30” tourbillon in silicon and titanium, beating at the very high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour. Built of just 57 components for the total weight of 18 grams, it makes a complete revolution each 30 seconds.
A high-end DB2509 Calibre also provides a jumping-seconds function, as well as the retrograde age of the moon indicator and power-reserve indicators which are visible on the back side. Finished and decorated manually, this hand-winding movement comprises 499 parts, including 45 jewels, a self-regulating twin barrel (96 hours of power-reserve), a white gold balance wheel and a silicon escape wheel.
Limited to just 5 pieces, De Bethune DB16 Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon watch costs CHF 360,000.