Fifty years ago Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin secured his place forever in the pages of history by becoming the first human being ever in space. Although it was only a short stay, under two hours in fact, this was to become one of the greatest achievements of mankind and set the stage for further space travel. To celebrate the anniversary of this monumental event and the tragically short life of the incredible man who helped orchestrate it, master watch-maker Bernhard Lederer presents his latest creation; the sublime Gagarin Tourbillon.
Rising To The Challenge
Paying homage to a man such as Gagarin is no easy task. Not only was he bold and daring, he was also intelligent and charismatic, well known for being a man of the people. For those reasons alone it should be clear that it is not enough to simply modify another pilot’s watch and engrave Yuri’s smiling face on the back. Fortunately for us Bernhard Lederer is no ordinary watch-maker, although anyone who has seen one of his superb creations under his ‘BLU’ brand would know that already. The man is seriously talented.
That is why he knew he would have to create something extra special for this occasion. We expect it and Yuri most certainly deserves it. With that in mind Lederer set about designing and manufacturing the complex mechanical movement that would power the Gagarin Tourbillon. Compromised of 264 components and 35 jewels, the manual winding calibre utilizes three mainspring barrels offering an impressive power reserve of approximately 80 hours. The back plate is hand bevelled with Côtes de Genève waves.
If you’re familiar with your history you’ll know already that it took Gagarin 108 minutes after take-off to make a full orbit of the earth in the Vostok capsule. Likewise the Gagarin Tourbillon features a 60-second orbital flying tourbillon that rotates counterclockwise (symbolizing east) 360° around the dial in 108 minutes. The tourbillon is suspended over the dial by a sweeping bridge, the design of which was inspired by the 25m commemorative statue at Gagarin’s landing site near Engels. As a final touch the tourbillon cage is formed by the word “VOSTOK” spelt vertically and curved around its perimeter.
The very unique looking dial of the Gagarin Tourbillon is composed of a central stationary sub-dial with hours and minutes, and an outer rotating ring with the orbiting tourbillon. The inner dial features micro-engraving marking highlights of Gagarin’s flight and a red arc indicating the period Gagarin experienced zero gravity. Micro-engraved around the perimeter are the key statistics, “12 April 1961– Duration 108 mins – Apogee 327 kms”.
The refined case is crafted from high grade platinum and incorporates an integrated rotating magnifying glass that allows more detailed appreciation of the tourbillon and details on the dial (as you will see in the video below). A novel feature perhaps but one that is nonetheless appreciated, the magnifying glass is locked in place by a catch inspired by a hatch on the Vostok capsule.
The Gagarin Tourbillon will be offered in a limited edition of 50 pieces.
The Final Word
Often tribute pieces are no more than that, tributes. An existing watch is modified, perhaps a signature is added to the dial and a few colors changed here and there and all of a sudden we have a limited edition piece to honor yet another celebrity. Here however, we have a rare case where a piece has been created from scratch and is actually worthy of the great man whose achievements it is celebrating. There is no doubt that if Mr Gargarin were still alive today he not only would be honored by this sophisticated and complex creation, he would also be proud to wear one.
To find out more please visit the official Gargarin Tourbillon website: www.thegagarintourbillon.com