If you thought Greubel Forsey would be trending toward more conservative designs after the brand s first sub-40-mm timepiece, the Balancier Contemporain, was unveiled at SIHH in January, then you thought wrong.
Today, one of watchmaking s leading independent brands is combining two of its most popular and recognized timepieces, the GMT and Quadruple Tourbillon, into one single bold model, the brand-new GMT Quadruple Tourbillon.
Fans of Greubel Forsey should be well aware of the company s experiments in the realm of tourbillon-enhanced timepieces as the first three of the brand s trademark Fundamental Inventions since the firm was founded in 2004 revolved around it.
First came the Double Tourbillon 30 in 2004, then the Quadruple Tourbillon in 2005, and finally, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes in 2006.
Today s release looks back into Greubel Forsey s second Fundamental Invention and combines it with their innovative, three-dimensional GMT display that was first unveiled in 2011.
The original Quadruple Tourbillon effectively works by using the Double Tourbillon 30 as its base and doubling that layout one more time to create four total tourbillons that are coupled together to save space in the watch s already large dimension.
Also as in the Double Tourbillon, the cages rotate once per minute inner and every four minutes outer ; Greubel Forsey uses a spherical differential between the two tourbillons to distribute energy between them and to improve total chronometric performance.
The GMT, originally released in 2011, has also been one of Greubel Forsey s most culturally recognized and horologically significant releases, with its notable three-dimensional globe that accomplishes a full rotation every 24 hours.
The GMT has seen a variety of incremental updates since it was first introduced in 2011, including last year s GMT Earth.
Greubel Forsey had to develop an entirely new movement over an approximate three-and-a-half year period to bring these two remarkable timekeeping mechanisms together.
The manually-winding movement is comprised of 805 parts with three fast-rotating barrels.
The brand has filed for three patents for this new caliber.
Just like with the watch s direct predecessors, a three-dimensional dial and movement architecture is on full display.
Starting in the upper-right corner of the dial, the primary timekeeping display hours minutes is the tallest point of the watch itself.
On the lower part of the dial, a power-reserve display indicates how much of the 72-hour running autonomy remains; remarkably, the Quadruple Tourbillon GMT boasts the brand s longest-running power reserve found in its 15-year history.
At the traditional 4 o clock spot, a coaxial small seconds and second time zone display are located, with the second time zone being adjustable in one-hour increments by means of a pusher that is directly flush with the case itself.
Between the 8 and 9 o clock zone is the GMT function that is visible courtesy of the oversize, three-dimensional globe.
On either side of the Earth model are the dueling double tourbillons, each featuring an open and transparent construction, secured by black polished bridges and adorned with gold chatons as well as hand-polished beveling and countersinks.
The balance uses a Phillips terminal curve.
The movement features the expected level of superlative finishing with nickel silver bridges that have been frosted and spotted with polished bevels and countersinks, and straight-grained flanks.
A gold plate visible through the caseback is engraved with the watch s limited edition number.
The four tourbillon bridges are made of steel and are black polished with hand-polished beveling and countersinks.
On the watch s caseback is a world-time disk with 24 cities that represent the different time zones across Earth.
This disk also distinguishes between the time zones that implement Daylight Saving Time appearing in a light color and those that do not in a darker color.
The Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon is limited to 66 total pieces with the first run of 11 watches confirmed to be in white gold.
Other precious metal case materials will follow.
The price is available upon request.
Introducing The Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10.
The tenth and final chapter in Harry Winston s story of the tourbillon.
The Histoire de Tourbillon series from Harry Winston has been an ongoing project for the company since 2009, when the Histoire de Tourbillon 1 was released as a 20 piece limited edition.
The idea behind the series was rather similar to that behind the Opus series take the mechanical watch as a starting point for a no-holds-barred exploration of the limits of watchmaking in this case, the tourbillon specifically and see just how far design and mechanical complexity can be pushed.
The notion was not, and is not, necessarily to break new ground in high precision timekeeping per se, but rather to make something so visually, mechanically, and aesthetically striking that it becomes its own raison d être , rather than appealing to functionality as a justification.
The Histoire de Tourbillon 10 is the final installment in the series; in 2009, a nascent HODINKEE didn t cover the very first chapter but we followed along as the series evolved, with multi-axis, inclined axis, and double multi-axis tourbillons all making appearances in the various models.
Histoire de Tourbillon 10 is billed as the very first watch to contain four tourbillons with four separate balances, and as far as we can tell, Harry Winston is accurate in making that claim while there have been quadruple tourbillons before from Greubel Forsey, for instance and while there have been watches with four balances before the Quatuor, from Roger Dubuis as far as we know, no one s ever put four balances inside four separate tourbillon cages before now.
The tourbillon cages rotate all clockwise once every 36 seconds this is faster than the standard 60 seconds, found in most other tourbillon watches, although various speeds are possible depending on the gearing; Breguet, for instance, made four minute tourbillons during his lifetime with the balances oscillating at 21,600 vph 3 Hz.
The energy costs are quite high; the watch is powered by two pairs of fast-rotating barrels that provide a 55 hour power reserve, which seems low for a watch of these dimensions the rectangular case is 53.
60mm thick until you remember that they have to drive four tourbillons, after all.
The four tourbillons inevitably run at four slightly different rates, so the four rates are averaged to produce a single output for the time display; this is done via three differentials.
The rates of each pair of tourbillons are averaged by the first two differentials, to produce two rates, and these two are further averaged by a third differential to produce the final output to the hour and minute hands there s no seconds hand .
Harry Winston has produced tourbillons for the Histoire de Tourbillon series, over the years, with varying rates of rotation the Histoire de Tourbillon 4, for example, was a triple axis tourbillon with three concentric cages, rotating at 5 minutes, 75 seconds, and 45 seconds from outermost to inmost but 36 seconds was the rotational speed of the double tourbillons in the Histoire de Tourbillon 1 the tourbillon systems for which were designed by Greubel Forsey so there s a certain symmetry to finishing the story that way.
Generally speaking these have been six-figure watches made in very small numbers ten to twenty pieces per installment, more or less and Histoire de Tourbillon 10 will be a limited edition as well, of ten pieces in platinum, ten in white gold, and one piece in Winstonium which is a proprietary platinum alloy.
Pricing is CHF 700,000 to CHF 770,000 depending on the case material.
There s an interesting phenomenon in evolutionary biology called a Fisherian runaway, which has to do with the evolution of exaggerated secondary sex characteristics specifically, in males of species like the peacock, where floridly excessive male ornamentation signals better reproductive fitness to the female of the species; the notion is that things like the peacock s plumes basically read as, If I can afford to waste this much metabolic energy on making feathers five times my body length, imagine how much I d rock more, ahem, intimate matters.
I thought of this phenomenon while looking at the Histoire de Tourbillon 10 and think of it while looking at other, similarly extroverted efforts in ultra-high-end modern watchmaking because watchmaking, like any other luxury craft, responds to evolutionary pressures as well, and one of the ways to capture the attention of both actual clients as well as the larger watchmaking community, is to create timepieces that exhaust one s supply of superlatives, and which have unique properties that set them indisputably apart from any other watch, or watches.
So it is with the Histoire de Tourbillon 10.
Now, it s tempting to judge watches by a single standard and it s extremely tempting to make that single standard one s own personal tastes, but the Histoire de Tourbillon is both a watch, and only incidentally a watch a phenomenon that brands which simply follow this to its natural conclusion by omitting hands altogether, or making the watch unreadable under any circumstances, clearly understand .
From the back, the two pairs of barrels are visible under the X-shaped bridges; power reserve is on the upper right.
Introducing 4 Tourbillons at Once Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10 Live Pics .
When one, two or even three tourbillon regulators are not enough.
The Histoire de Tourbillon saga by Harry Winston is coming to an end.
This series of watches was the home for some of the most extravagant pieces created by the brand, together with the Opus series.
Having previously used tourbillons with single, double or triple axes, combined or not with single or double tourbillons or a carousel, Harry Winston s latest creation is the last page of an impressive book.
But like all good stories, the end is mind-blowing.
Meet the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10, the first watch ever equipped with four tourbillons in a single movement.
Background Multiple Regulator Watches.
Recently, our technical editor Xavier wrote the perfect story to start this article A Technical Perspective Understanding the Concept of Multiple-Regulator Watches .
This couldn t be more accurate in this context.
But before we move to the reasons behind the use of multiple regulators, let s have a quick overview of the industry.
Most watches are based on a single regulator architecture.
However, for various reasons, some watchmakers decided that more regulators could provide better chronometric results.
For instance, a double balance or even a double tourbillon isn t really a surprise anymore.
We ve seen several watches with such movements Dufour Duality, Journe Resonance, Armin Strom Resonance, MB F LM2, Breguet Chronograph 7077, Vacheron Twin Beat or Zenith Defy 21 And many, many more.
Then comes the rare birds.
Having two regulators is already a challenge.
Three or four is the exception.
Think of the Antoine Preziuso Tourbillon des Tourbillons, with no fewer than three tourbillons rotating on a large carousel.
And then there s the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor, with four angled balances on its dial.
Moving to the topic of tourbillons, we know about several double and even triple tourbillon watches.
However, no watch to our knowledge was ever fitted with four separate tourbillons in a single movement.
Certainly, Greubel Forsey has a watch named the Quadruple Tourbillon, however, we re talking about two double tourbillons or bi-axial tourbillons .
This watch features only two regulators.
Thus, Harry Winston has come up with something totally unprecedented.
Why have more than one balance wheel, when a single one can already do the job pretty well.
There are multiple reasons for this, however, the basic idea is to improve chronometry.
It can be to regulate additional complications such as a chronograph with its own regulator, to keep the timekeeping part of the watch free of interferences.
It can also be to compensate for the errors of each regulator.
And in this instance, the more regulators you have, the better the average result you ll get at the end.
And here s the raison d être of the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10.
The Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10.
As we mentioned in the introduction, the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10 will be the last watch in this series of timepieces.
However, the final chapter is a true watchmaking masterpiece.
We won t start debating about the design of this watch obviously, over the top or even the relevance of such a watch such extreme watches are irrelevant anyway, and this is why they have to exist.
So let s see what makes this Histoire de Tourbillon 10 such an extraordinary creation.
Certainly, Harry Winston s latest creation is a beast of a watch.
Don t expect to fly under the radar when wearing it.
The imposing rectangular case measures 53.
6mm I ll even quote the brand here, the piece is as much a vessel as it is a watch .
It is topped by a massive and highly raised sapphire crystal, the same material used for the dial itself.
Time is, however, the only indication that this watch will give, and it is displayed centrally, on a raised sub-dial.
The rest of the watch is all about technicality.
Three editions of the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10 will be available.
Ten pieces will be made in 18k white gold, ten pieces in 18k rose gold and one unique piece in Winstonium, a specific platinum alloy.
The latter can be recognized thanks to its two large blue tourbillon bridges.
The Winstonium and white gold watches are mounted on alligator leather straps with large scales and topstitched with a 950 platinum thread.
The pink gold version launches a new bracelet colour black with copper highlights enhanced by topstitching in rose gold thread.
Let s move on to the movement itself.
The four tourbillons of the HW4702 calibre, which has no less than 673 components with 78 components per tourbillon , can be seen in the four corners of the case.
Note that these tourbillon are making a revolution in 36 seconds, and not one minute as often seen.
The idea of using multiple regulating mechanisms is to take advantage of the qualities of each one and harness their unique way of reacting to gravity, the effects of which the tourbillon is designed to offset.
Thus, even though each will run at its own rate and won t mark the same time as the others, a complex series of three differentials will negate and average their positions, resulting in a supposedly extreme precision of the time indicated by the watch.
Four tourbillons, three differentials, one unified indication of the time.
Check the video below to see how this impressive watch works in the metal .
The architecture of the movement is symmetrical.
On each side, one double spring barrel distributes its power to a pair of tourbillons, each running independently.
Connected to these two tourbillons is a first differential, which will average the rate of the left side of the watch.
The same architecture is used on the right side of the watch.
A third differential, which is oversized and located in a central position, does the job of averaging the two previous differentials and transmitting its information to the juxtaposed hands.
However, chronometry is ruled by other factors than the quality of the regulators.
The quality of the power flow that feeds the regulating mechanisms is another major source of deviation.
While four regulators, all connected by differentials, will effectively help to create a precisely averaged indication of the time at an instant, chronometric results should be constant over the entire length of the power reserve However, since it is based on an unwinding spring, the system has its flaws in short, the delivery of the torque to the regulators isn t constant over the duration of the power reserve.
To negate most of the effects of this decreasing flow of energy, the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10 is equipped with two pairs of fast-winding barrels that are overlaid, mounted successively, and then connected to the tourbillons.
As a result, the energy is not shared across the four corners of the movement but distributed as required.
Altogether, you can expect this movement if perfectly regulated, of course to be one true master of precision.
The four tourbillons, all running at 21,600 vibrations hour or 3Hz consume a lot of energy, hence the relatively short power reserve of 55 hours.
As you would expect, the movement is stunningly decorated, with modern finishes, such as frosted main plate on the dial side, X-shaped bridges on the back, straight-brushed and sandblasted surfaces but also the classic decorations such as anglages or bevelled wheel spokes.
Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 4 Watch.
B ack in 2009 Harry Winston released the first Histoire de Tourbillon 1 watch.
I rather enjoyed it especially as it looked a lot like the Sand People from Star Wars.
Harry Winston has just released the fourth iteration of the Histoire de Tourbillon which sadly doesn t look enough like any science fiction character for me to include supplementary article art.
It is however, the next to last member of this collection that will end with the Histoire de Tourbillon 5 watch sometime in the future.
Looking like a mix between some of the more complicated Ocean watches and a Panerai style cushion case, the Histoire de Tourbillon 4 once again reminds us of its family with the blue and orange accents which mark the Histoire de Tourbillon collection.
This piece also follows suit with a range of watches over the last few years with bubbles on or under the sapphire crystal.
There is of course the obvious similarity to the bubble on the Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb we covered the most recent one here , but also think of Greubel Forsey s GMT, and other pieces which try to go all wild half orb on the dial.
I want to add that I ve been regularly impressed by the quality and fit and finishing of Harry Winston s most high-end timepieces when it comes to their final retail models.
This includes Opus collection watches as well as Histoire de Tourbillon pieces.
While the prototypes they show us are good enough, it is the final retail versions that look best.
Writers like us rarely get to see these pieces, but on the rare occasions that I have, I am really happy with the results.
So what is the Histoire de Tourbillon 4 watch all about.
The new evolution on the tourbillon here is very Greubel Forsey in style with a triple tourbillon that is a tourbillon inside of a tourbillon inside of a tourbillon.
By all accounts it is a total pain in the ass to assemble.
The inner tourbillons rotate at a faster rate, while the outside tourbillon rotates once each 300 seconds.
Harry Winston will soon provide us with a video that may be in this post by the time you are reading it , but for now you ll have to use your imagination on how this all works.
Anyhow, the middle tourbillon rotates once each 75 seconds, and the most inner tourbillon that actually contains the escapement rotates once each 45 seconds.
This is gonna be a darn cool timepiece to watch in action.
You ll notice that the tourbillon components are made from a mix of titanium not surprising and 18k gold a bit surprising .
The titanium is PVD treated for better color.
It is all hand-polished and assembled of course.
This is all under a bubbled section of the sapphire crystal and the watch height in total is 21.
The Histoire de Tourbillon 4 cushion-shaped case will be 47mm wide with both 18k white gold and Zalium a Harry Winston alloy similar to titanium .
You can see how the front and back pieces of the watch are white gold and sandwich the middle Zalium segment.
Inside the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 4 watch is their new caliber HW4501 that is manually wound with a 50 hour power reserve.
The movement apparently requires 160 hours to build and assemble each one and is comprised of 345 parts.
Indications on the dial are simple but interesting.
You have a dedicated dial for the hours, one for the minutes, and a power reserve indicator.
There is no dedicated seconds dial save for the hand on the tourbillon that is like a five minute seconds indicator.
Though you can track the hand in 60 second increments if you are timing something.
Overall this is yet another cool, polarizing, and beautifully over-the-top high-end luxury timepiece which people like me love.
Not that I dislike Patek Philippe at all, but if all we got were high-end watches that looked like Patek Philippe I would probably stop blogging about watches pretty fast.
Harry Winston will produce just 20 pieces of the limited edition Histoire de Tourbillon 4 watch, and once again it is the fourth piece out of a total of what will be five that will make up the Histoire de Tourbillon watch collection.
Technical Specifications from Harry Winston.
Name Histoire de Tourbillon 4 Reference HCOMDT47WZ001 Patented Movement Caliber HW4501 Type Mechanical, manual-winding, tri-axial tourbillon Dimensions of movement Diameter 40.
40 mm Height 17.
30 mm Number of components Complete movement 345 components Tourbillon 134 components Tourbillon weight 1.
57 gr Number of jewels 59 Power reserve 50 hours Barrels Rapid rotating twin barrels in series 1 turn in 3.
2 hours One barrel equipped with a slipping spring to avoid excess tension Balance wheel Variable-inertia balance fitted with 18 gold adjustment screws Alt.
hour 21 600 3Hz Balance spring Phillips curves Geneva-type stud Main plate Titanium, micro-blasted, hand-chamfered, PVD treated Bridges Titanium, polished, hand-chamfered, PVD treated Polished gold, hand-chamfered intermediate carriage bridge Tourbillon Internal carriage containing the balance spring and the escapement pinion rotating cycle of 45 seconds Intermediate carriage rotating cycle of 75 seconds External carriage rotating cycle of 300 seconds Carriage pillars in titanium, circular graining, PVD treated.
Functions – Hours, minutes -300 seconds indication on the tourbillon – Power-reserve indicator Case Material -18K polished white gold – Zalium with DLC treatment case band, arches, lugs and tourbillon bezel Case dimensions – Diameter 47 mm – Height 21.
7 mm Crystal – Sapphire – Curved sapphire crystal on the tourbillon – Harry Winston logo engraved on the tourbillon bezel Case back Partially open Sapphire crystal, 18k white gold, ZaliumTM plate with DLC treatment Water resistance 30 meters Crown 18K white gold and rubber Dial Three-dimensional dial, black gold finish, with apertures on the movement Black galvanic flange and appliques Black and silver applied hours, minutes and power-reserve indicator with horizontal satin-brushed counters centers Engraved, black galvanic HW emerald logo at the center of the hours counter Indexes filled with black, grey, orange and blue varnish Strap Hand-sewn black alligator leather Buckle 18K white gold, double-ardillon buckle Limited Edition 20 pieces Collection Histoire de Tourbillon.