At the GPGH’s pre-selected list of the most innovative timepieces in 2013, there are Vianney Halter DEEP SPACE TOURBILLON, Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor, HYT SA H2, Antoine Martin Slow Runner, Chopard L.U.C Engine One H, Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement L.M. and Ressence Type 3 watch. At the Awards Ceremony to be held in Geneva, on November 15, we will find out which combination of high-end technology, avant-garde design and quality materials will win the prestigious award. Last year, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève awarded the first hydro-mechanical watch, HYT H1 Titane Black DLC.
Just as I predicted in my earlier post about this amazing timepiece, Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon watch found its place among the year’s most significant creations. If I let myself to make another prediction, I would say that it will probably win one of GPHG titles. This masterpiece is innovative in every sense – the idea that stands behind this creation, an unusual futuristic design and a specific way of time display, they all give a completely authentic look to this watch. Finally, as the highlight of the watch, there is an extremely complicated three-axis flying tourbillion, rotating inside a spherical crystal dome in a unique way.
Inspired by science fiction stories about space travel, Vianney Halter’s novelty successfully presents movements in each dimension of space. Implemented in the centre of a mechanism – which is the world’s premiere, the tourbillon rotates along three axis. As a matter of fact, it features three cages that spin separately along different axes. The largest one rotates around the mainplate, once every 30 minutes. It includes a super-light cage that completes a rotation every 6 minutes. It also houses another carriage with a balance wheel, an anchor and an escape wheel, which completes a full revolution every 40 seconds.
Beautiful finishes and decorations of the in-house VH 113 Calibre are nicely visible through a domed sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating that gives a spherical look to a large, 46 mm titanium case. The hand-winding mechanism beats at the frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and provides 55 hours of power-reserve. It is framed by a curved, silver dial with a minute scale and four applied hour markers made of white fluorescent material. If you have a problem to locate hands, that is because they are attached to the outer rim, rotating around the dial to indicate hours and minutes.
Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon watch is a magnificent piece of art whose price of CHF 187,500 additionally explains on which level of the haute horology it stands – the highest possible.
This innovative timepiece presents a set of new watchmaking principles that have formed a completely new way of showing time. Although its DLC treated dial is completely separated from the movement with a titanium membrane, it still displays time through its fluid-filled indication module. This is provided by the patented system which is based on the transfer of information from movement to dial by micro-magnetic fields. Developed by Ressence, the special module includes 28 gears and 57 jewels, a Grade 5 titanium plate integrating three offset bi-axial satellites inclined at 3° and 4.75°, as well as a date ring around the scope. It also comprises a shock absorption system and a water-resistant seal.
Another cool effect comes with indications that appear like they are projected onto the curved sapphire crystal glass. It is possible thanks to white, gray and orange Super-LumiNova that fill engraved indications. Since this type of liquid minimizes refraction, it makes the impression that the dial is two-dimensional.
Instead of using traditional rotating hands, this unique model features three revolving sub-dials showing hours, seconds and days, as well as the minute scale that runs around the dial, indicating time in the conjunction with a separate minute hand. At the outer rim, there is a date ring that constantly turns below the sapphire glass, showing a date via perimeter at the six o’clock position.
While providing interesting design solutions, the absence of a crown at a 44 mm case does not decrease functionality of the watch. All indications can be simply adjusted by turning the sapphire case-back. Inside the case, there is a self-winding movement that beats at the frequency of 28.800 vibrations per hour and ensures about 38 hours of power-reserve.
Limited to 50 pieces, Ressence Type 3 watch is available for CHF 32,000.
Inspired by the world of motor racing, a new Chopard L.U.C Engine One H watch features a hand-winding caliber with a tourbillon regulator, both designed to evoke the appearance of racing-car engines. At the same time, the authentic horizontal layout of the watch recalls the look of racing-car cockpits. Hence, there is the letter H in the name of the model.
This attractive timepiece is powered by a L.U.C 04.02-L hand-winding mechanism, whose excellence is proved by COSC Chronometric Certification. Completely developed in-house, this movement recalls design of a car air intake, while the groves on the bridges and base plate mimic cylinder heads. They are visible on both sides of the case, through transparent sapphire crystal glasses, together with nicely cut-of curves and polished and brushed surfaces. Oscillating at the frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, it ensures the power reservoir of up to 60 hours. In order to provide this unusual lay-out, the renowned watchmaker turned the mechanism horizontally.
The bold looking dial features a power-reserve indicator located at the 9 o’clock position, while the tourbillon cage takes the 3 o’clock position, showing seconds via tiny red hand. Hours and minutes are shown by central hands. A 35 x 44.5 mm case is made of titanium. At its top, there is a winding crown.
Chopard L.U.C Engine One H comes in the Limited Edition of 100 pieces and costs CHF 77,500.
Girard-Perregaux spent five years in order to implement this revolutionary concept in one of its masterpieces from the Haute Horlogerie Collection. This ingenious addition to traditional mechanisms successfully solves their waning power problem, by providing constant delivery of energy to the oscillator regardless of the energy it receives from a barrel, which leads to the constant amplitude and constant rate. In order to realize this concept, the prestigious Swiss watchmaker implemented an intermediate device into the escapement, to serve as a micro storage power unit that compensates for the variable energy of the barrel. This 14 micron silicon buckled-blade is 6 times thinner than a human hair.
This technological masterpiece is beautifully revealed on both sides of the case through anti-reflective sapphire crystal. To make the mechanism completely visible and to mark its value, Girard-Perregaux used a small off-centered dial for showing hours and minutes. The rest of the large dial is reserved for the escapement with twin escape wheels, and for twin barrels which provide 7 days of power-reserve. At the 9 o’clock position, there is a linear power-reserve indicator. The beauty of the movement is even more conspicuous on the back side.
The robust case is made of 18 karat white gold, with the diameter of 48 mm that perfectly matches the contemporary style of the watch. Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement watch is an amazing creation in both aesthetical and technological terms, and it is available for CHF 124,200.
This year, Roger Dubuis launched the world’s first silicon watch incorporating four sprung balances. The first impressive thing that you can find in this sentence is that it is made of silicon which is half the weight of titanium, yet its harness is 4 times higher. The second impressive thing about this masterpiece refers to its inner-parts and the fact that they include four balance wheels which highly contribute to the precision of a mechanism.
As we know, the accuracy is affected by the gravity due to the constant changes of the watch position. In order to solve this problem, the renowned watchmaker incorporated four sprung balances in each quadrant of the watch, and mounted them at 45 degrees. While decreasing influences of gravity in real-time, they also control the transfer of the power. Since each of them operates individually, the frequency of the mechanism is extremely high (4 x 4Hz), which means that they make 115,200 vibrations per hour (frequency of 16 Hz). The Caliber RD0101 hand-winding mechanism comprises 590 components, including 113 jewels. It is rhodium-coated and comes with circular-grained décor, visible on both sides of the case. The quality of this superb movement is proven by the Hallmark of Geneva.
At the center of an exceptional skeletonized dial, there is a sub-dial that shows hours and minutes, as well as two crescent moon power reserve indicators. A bold looking silicon case with the diameter of 48 mm is paired with a stylish black leather strap.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor Watch is limited to just three pieces, each to be sold for breathtaking CHF 1,080,000.
Just one year after it received the GPHG award for the best innovative timepiece with its H1 Titane Black DLC, HYT pushed the limits of hydro-mechanics even further. By working with Audemars Piguet’s Renaud et Papi watchmakers, the innovative manufacturer created a mechanism with more complex structure and an increased power-reserve. Not only that the redesigned architecture of the hybrid movement provides an exceptional aesthetic effect, but, more importantly, it has a significant functional purpose. (You can find the complete review with the detailed explanation about changes via the link above.)
Visible on both sides of the case, through sapphire crystal glass, the hand-winding mechanism oscillates at the frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz) and provides superb power-reserve of up to 192 hours. It comes with titanium bridges and it is decorated with microblasted Black PVD and titanium colored satin-finished accents.
The case of HYT H2 watch is crafted in DLC titanium, with the diameter of 48.8 mm and the thickness of 17.9 mm. Paired with a black rubber strap, it gives a watch an attractive futuristic look. Released in the limited series of 50 pieces, this remarkable novelty in the world of the haute horology is available for CHF 120,000.
Led by the idea of “slowing down time”, Antoine Martin developed a mechanical timepiece with the lowest frequency in the world of horology. Thus, while it is the world’s largest balance with the diameter of 24mm, it oscillates at the extremely low frequency of 7,200 beats per hour, or just one hertz, which is not even half as fast as the slowest-beating movements available on the modern watchmaking market. That means that the second hand makes only two motions per second, which, according to the Swiss watchmaker, provides a completely different experience of time.
In order to slow down the frequency, Antoine Martin made series of adjustments on its new Calibre 36.001 hand-winding movement, including a
silicium balance spring, a balance wheel with two weighted screws, as well as a balance rim that oscillates on a balance bridge with an additional shock absorption system and six cabochon jewels. Off-centered sapphire crystal on the back side reveals all the beauty of this extraordinary creation that ensures superb power-reserve of 92 hours.
Antoine Martin Slow Runner watch features a silver colored, sun-burst dial with an interesting arrangement. The off-centered hour/minutes sub-dial is overlapped with a large small seconds counter. At the 10 o’clock position, there is a power-reserve indicator.
The red gold case has the mid-size diameter of 42 mm. It features a wonderful combination of polished and satin finishes. The exceptional elegance of the model is completed with a brown alligator strap. Antoine Martin Slow Runner is available for CHF 34,500.