I’ve selected this week’s watch to demonstrate the value of equipping yourself with the right knowledge before you go out and make that all important purchase. In the course of my daily travels across the internet I chanced across this rather innocuous company that purports to offer what is renowned as highly complex, and therefore expensive, complication for a seemingly impossible price.
As near as I can tell the company is called Perpetual and they produce watches complete with an exhibition flying tourbillon complication. I almost forgot to mention, these watches retail for less than US$1,000.
If this doesn’t even sound slightly ridiculous to you than you owe it to yourself to read on!
The Flying Tourbillon
You may recall that last week’s “Weird Watch Wednesday” feature watch was also equipped with a variation of the humble tourbillon created by Louis Breguet. As such, I won’t go into too much detail about the history of the tourbillon again. Essentially what you need to know is that rather than being supported by a bridge, or cock, at both the top and bottom, it is cantilevered, being only supported from one side. Whilst there is no real technical advantage to this, the visual appeal of the flying tourbillon in motion is simply stunning.
Some of the more famous brands to incoporate flying tourbillons are Cartier with their Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon, Ulysse Nardin with their “Royal Blue” Mystery Tourbillon and more recently Glashütte with the Original Senator Meissen Tourbillon. The point I am trying to illustrate here is that such is the complexity of the Flying Tourbillon complication that generally speaking it is only ever attempted by and limited to master watchmakers. And this is adequately reflected in the prices, which generally start from six figures and up.
The Perpetual “Flying Tourbillon”
Thus this brings us to the supposed “Flying Tourbillon” models from Perpetual. I think it should be fairly clear by this stage based on what we’ve just learnt above, that these watches should not be taken at face value. Just looking at the finishing on the dial above it seems abundantly obvious to me that this manufacturer certainly does not have the skills required to produce a complication as technically advanced as the flying tourbillon.
The website tries to compensate for this by saying that watch movements are purchased directly from a “first class specialist movement maker”, although no indication is actually given to the location or merit of this particular producer. Confusingly though, the site then goes on to say that design, assembly and most importantly, fine-tuning of the movements and other parts is carried out by their own experienced watchmakers.
But didn’t they just say they buy their watch movements from a third party?
The list of discrepancies goes on and on and this is yet another excellent example of the type of “genuine fakes” we discussed in our two-part special on counterfeit watches. Its not a replica as such, as it is not a cheap re-production of another watch, rather it is holding itself out to be a genuine, stand-alone brand. The site even features a nice video to show the movement in action!
The Final Word
I am certainly no expert on high-end watch complications and there are plenty of people out there who are far more qualified than I to pass judgment on these timepieces (perhaps they would care to comment?) but this seems like a very clear cut case to me. Quite simply put, you get what you pay for. The above is not a genuine flying tourbillon complication and quite frankly, to purchase and wear this watch would be a crime against good taste.
Hopefully you have learnt something from reading this article and perhaps will think twice the next time you see that “luxury timepiece” on the internet for next to nix!