As our exclusive coverage of Basel World 2010 draws to a close we thought we would save the best to last. Ian Skellern, reputed photographer and industry consultant, has suggested that if this particular piece was not the absolute highlight of the show it certainly ranks as one of the best new creations this year and we tend to agree. The watch we are talking about of course is the all new Rebellion T-1000 from Swiss watch-maker Rebellion. If you’re wondering what the ‘1000’ in the title stands for you’ll soon find out.
Breaking All The Rules
This is the second piece we covered from Rebellion here on The Watch Lounge, with the first being the Predator we told you about here. Like the Predator, the all new T-1000 takes its design cues from motor racing and has also been created in conjunction with world famous watch designer Eric Giroud (whom we interviewed here just a few months ago.)
However, its not the T-1000’s looks that make it truly unique, although they certainly do stand out in their own right and will be discussed in more detail later, it’s the movement that sets this timepiece apart from others.
The generally accepted power reserve level for a manually wound movement is typically somewhere between 48 and 72 hours, although some movements do offer a slightly higher reserve. The Rebellion T-1000 has a mind-blowing power reserve of 1,000 hours! (hence the name). That means you can wind it today and it would still be keeping perfect time in over a month’s time!
And in case you were wondering, yes it is some kind of record, a world record in fact.
In order to generate this truly impressive power-reserve Rebellion designed a patented system that uses no less than six (that’s right, six!) mainspring barrels that are wound by a specially designed lever that hinges up-wards from the case. When the lever is not being used to wind the movement it sits flush on the top of the case and simply becomes part of the watch’s unique aesthetic appeal. In order to distribute the energy generated evenly the six barrels are wound in parallel via a central prop shaft which drives two small chains. In order to maintain the regular power supply to the regulator at an optimum level, however, the mainsprings discharge in series (2 x 3).
It all sounds very complex and trust us it is. So rather than trying to go into any more detail about how the winding process works and so on, we’ve just included this very cool video from Ian Skellern of how it looks:
The design itself is another matter altogether. Time is displayed via a vertical roller-display and the wearer can observe the double balance tightly controlling the release of power at the 6 o’clock position. Because of the unique design of the movement it almost appears like the time display is floating in the middle of the case and the font and presentation style are very reminiscent of race cars. Although this is a highly complex piece it is incredibly legible and very easy to read which is hugely important in racing, even if this particular piece is never likely to see any track time.
Making sure that you can keep an eye on the unwinding of the immense power store, a window in the side of the case reveals one of the mainspring barrels, with markers providing a natural “Fuel Gauge” of the state of the power reserve.
The Final Word
The T-1000 is one of those special pieces that truly transcends modern watch-making. Hate it or love it from an aesthetic perspective it is impossible to deny the technical and mechanical achievements that this amazing piece represents. As Bill Gates once famously said, “innovate or die”, and it seems that the very intelligent people over at Rebellion have got the right idea.
This is not just about creating a timepiece with a 1,000 hour power reserve, this is about the realization of a concept that was previously thought to be unworkable and bringing it to fruition to a point where it is ready to be taken to the market. If companies like Rebellion stop pushing boundaries and breaking the rules, then the industry will stagnate and eventually cease to be relevant.
So with that in mind, we take our collective hats off to these veritable geniuses who dare to have a vision.
A special thanks again to Ian Skellern for his fantastic photography and video.