A few years ago Harry Winston’s talented watchmakers, engineers and designers set to work on creating a series of timepieces that would celebrate the world of haute horology, in particular the tourbillon.
Their idea was to develop the Histoire de Tourbillon collection, releasing one breathtaking new timepiece a year that would showcase the brand’s skill and creativity and create something that high-end aficionados would be proud to have in their collection. This year saw the unveiling of the fourth iteration, the aptly named Histoire de Tourbillon 4.
Histoire de Tourbillon 4
Although not technically a complication the tourbillon is still considered one of the most difficult mechanisms in mechanical watchmaking to master, requiring incredible skill and expertise. It is also one of the most visually appealing, which is one of the reasons why tourbillons in varying forms feature so often in high-end timepieces. The original intention may have been to offset the impact of gravity on the accuracy of the watch movement but the humble tourbillon has become so much more than that, as the Histoire de Tourbillon 4 more than adequately demonstrates.
Created in collaboration with Greubel Forsey and offered in an oversized 47 mm by 21.7 mm 18K polished white gold case, the larger than life watch is surprisingly comfortable and definitely makes a statement on the wrist. Arguably this is not a watch you buy to wear, at least not on a regular basis anyway, but it’s nice to know that you can should the urge take you (which was not necessarily the case with the rectangular-shaped Histoire de Tourbillon 3.)
The focus here is clearly on the tourbillon, as you would expect, but it’s nice to see that Harry Winston haven’t overlooked the other finer details. For example, the case band, arches, lugs and tourbillon bezel all feature DLC treated Zalium, which provides a nice contrast to the white gold and further highlights the layered, three-dimensional feel of the watch. What really makes it stand however is the curved sapphire crystal on the tourbillon, similar to the Zenith Christophe Colomb.
The dial itself is quite simplistic in design, with hours shown on an off-set sub-dial on the top right-hand side, whilst minutes are displayed on a separate dial at 9 o’clock. Just below the hour dial is the power reserve indicator, keeping track of 50-hour power reserve generated by the manually wound caliber HW4501. The color scheme is also relatively muted, blacks and grays offset by touches of blue and orange, however this also designed to focus your attention on the main event taking place centre-stage; the tri-axial tourbillon.
The tri-axle tourbillon is in fact a single tourbillon simultaneously rotating on three axes, via internal, intermediate and external carriages. The internal carriage contains the balance spring and escapement pinion, rotating completely every 45 seconds. The intermediate carriage rotates every 75 seconds. The external carriage rotates every 300 seconds, offering what can only be described as a dizzying visual treat for the eyes. And let me tell you, in the flesh it is absolutely stunning. Aliens could crash-land their spaceship in front of you and you still wouldn’t be able to tear your eyes away from the dial. Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea!
The series is a limited run of just 20 pieces, with each retailing for a healthy six-figure amount.
The Final Word
Big production budgets, high-end collaboration and unbridled creativity, this is what luxury watchmaking should be all about.