The most explosive “ highlight “ of these Genevan festivities was not in a hotel, at the GTE or at the SIHH.
It was presented absolutely “ off the record “, directly at the Harry Winston manufactory, located at Plan-Les-Ouates, during the “Histoire de Tourbillon 3” presentation.
It is the blast of this “ Wonder Week “, when creativity seems to be rather idle; this “Histoire de Tourbillon 3” arrives with audacity and comes seamlessly after the outstanding Opus Eleven of Baselworld.
From a mechanical standpoint, it is a synthesis between the inclined Double tourbillon with differential of “Histoire de Tourbillon 1” and the bi-axial flying tourbillon of “Histoire de Tourbillon 2”.
“ Histoire de Tourbillon 3 “ comprises two escapements: one rotary and one single axis, both connected through a differential. If the technical side is an evolution from the previous “ Histoires de Tourbillons “, the outside borrows a lot from the Opus series, by proposing something never before seen in the domain of rotary tourbillon with Grande complication.
A video, without sound, let’s play your favorite music, and enjoy the show:
The layout, the volumes and design in general were intended to highlight the tourbillons.
While the technology of tourbillon exploded throughout the last 10 years, always pushing further the concepts of mobility and tri-dimensional architectures, the exterior designs were never overhauled in order to match these technological feats.
Sometimes, one perceives the typical Helvetian temptation to close the dials, in order to “ cover that regulating organ which I can’t endure to look on” (remember all these classical or tridimensional tourbillons, with dark grey dials screen-printed with an austere light gray “Tourbillon” label).
The logic of the creators of Harry Winston was totally different: instead of drawing from the Swiss functionalism, they drew from the lively New-Yorker culture in order to exalt the complication, by providing it with a case worthy of the sculptures displayed in art galleries from the Chelsea district.
Beyond volumes and prospectives, the weight is surprising. The watch comprises white gold for the top part and Zallium (an alloy of Zirconium) for the middle; as one can expect, it weighs more than 250 grams.
It is bulky; its weight as well as the movements of the three tourbillons make it unforgettable in everyday life.
It is a bit of the horological equivalent of a Supercar, ill adapted to cities; however, the road would be utterly boring with city cars only. In the same way, here we are in the domain of the Super-Watch.
The TV screen shaped watchcase, dear to some independents, makes for a good distribution of the mass along the wrist (the watch is 65mm by 45.9mm), and in spite of its bulk, the watch remains wearable;
However, do not expect it to slip under the cuffs of your shirt.
In all likelihood, if you can bear the superlative price of this watch, you will be able to afford a wardrobe adapted to this machine.
The time display is a model of simplicity: the hour/minutes are displayed at 12 o’clock and 1 o’clock, while the Power reserve sits at 5 o’clock.
You will notice that the indicators are in French, a proof that Harry Winston is eager to demonstrate that the brand is rooted in French-speaking Switzerland. While the texts are written in French (a reminder of the Swiss roots of HW) and the complications in Romand, the design is resolutely New Yorker.
Of course, the shape borrows from science fiction, Cyberpunk leading the pace, with its technical and chromed look.
However, critics will inevitably see this design as that of electronics from the 80’s, from the Ghetto Blaster to the NES joystick. It is nonetheless an excellent alternative way to interpret this styling.
This design unquestionably borrows from the Pop ‘art, whose roots are mainly New Yorker-like, same as Harry Winston.
For that matter, the exterior of this piece takes more after Contemporary Art than after watchmaking.
Andy Warhol wouldn’t have disavowed the raked shapes, the salient angles and the absolutely stunning tridimensional look of the watch when one wears it.
As a matter of fact, when one sees the Triple Tourbillon, the hour display (at 12 and 1 o’clock) becomes totally peripheral.
It is the ultimate avatar of the luxury mechanical watchmaking! Indeed, by getting rid of the traditional getup of watchmaking, the HdT3 highlights the movements of the triple tourbillon.
Since the advent of quartz, the utilization of mechanical solutions falls under aesthetics and/or dandyism.
Here, more than ever, the precision time is no more than a pretext to erect a mechanical cathedral.
The builders are the same as for the HdT1 & HdT2, Steve Forsey & Robert Greubel, via CompliTime; the exclusive tourbillon developed for Harry Winston works in way a bit different from the regulating organs inclined at 24°, from GF.
The principle would be closer to a mix of the bi-axial tourbillon from Thomas Prescher and of the rotary escapement block from the Officine Panerai.
The work on the « main » tourbillon is more than astounding: the external tourbillon carriage rotates 360° every 120 seconds. Quite common.
But! A second tourbillon carriage going around in 40 seconds is fitted perpendicularly and carries the balance and the escapement wheel. Hence, this last item continuously rotates in three dimensions.
This double tourbillon is paired with a classical tourbillon, which goes around in 36 seconds on a single axis (located at 6 o’clock). The energy yielded by the two escapements combines through the ingenious differential gear, in order to transmit an average power to the display.
Finally, if certain parts of the device have already been tested (especially in the HT1 & HT2), it is the first time a tri-dimensional tourbillon is connected with a single axis tourbillon through a differential gear, revolutionary!
In a period when the watchmaking industry minimizes the risks, Harry Winston creates the sensation with the HdT3, which, like the Opus11, is more than a “talking piece”: it is a reference to philosophical and artistic concepts unexpected in watchmaking.
Nevertheless, regarding HW, it is first and foremost the moment when the exceptional Opus series fuses with the other collections. To be continued…
(courtesy of Picpaf)