The legendary Swiss watch and movement manufacture Angelus is now back in horology world with the launch of U10 Tourbillon Lumière at Baselworld 2015.
Boasting a radically deconstructed movement, the Tourbillon Lumière features hours, minutes and dead beat seconds on a concave, translucent-gray sapphire dial, plus a 90-hour linear power reserve indicator on the case band. The clean, modernist displays pay tribute to Angelus’ acclaimed travel clocks as well as taking cues from iconic industrial designs and designers of the 1960s and ‘70s.
Powering the Super-LumiNova-infused indications is an innovative, finely finished, in house caliber complete with oversized, 60-second flying tourbillon, which is offset from the movement. The assertive, sculpturally-shaped case – in special annealed steel – features seven sapphire crystals.
Visible from five sides in its own sapphire crystal showcase, the circular ballet of the tourbillon is on full display. The imaginatively engineered movement, visible also through the display back, pays homage to Angelus’ 19th-century origins as a premium movement maker.
The inspiration for the name Tourbillon Lumière derives from the light (lumière in French) streaming through the three-dimensional sapphire windows and illuminating the mesmerizing tourbillon. The U10 Tourbillon Lumière is available in a limited edition of 25 pieces in stainless steel, which launches the Angelus Urban collection.
Four years in the making, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière not only upholds the Angelus tradition of creating extremely inventive timepieces boasting finely-finished, in-house movements with long power reserves, it is also a timepiece of glorious contrasts.On one hand the Tourbillon Lumière is classic haute horlogerie.
Its dead beat seconds complication – where the second hand advances in full steps of one second – derives from 17th-century high-precision pendulum clocks; the movement bridges and plates are in traditional German silver that is beveled and polished; and the traditional 2.5Hz / 18,000vph oscillation of the screwed balance with Breguet overcoil is a throwback to some of Angelus’ early pocket watches.
And yet, the modernist display, innovative engineering and state-of-the-art materials and finishing ensure that the U10 Tourbillon Lumière can equally be viewed as a paragon of cutting-edge, contemporary watchmaking. Flying tourbillon on full show thanks to deconstructed movement and duplex caseThe configuration of the manual-winding caliber is decidedly avant-garde, with the tourbillon positioned far outside of the movement, displayed alone as a dazzling mechanical sculpture in its own sapphire crystal vitrine.
The generously-proportioned – 62.75 mm x 38 mm x 15 mm – case, which took over two years to develop, features no fewer than seven sapphire crystals. All the crystals are beveled, polished and subtly protrude from the case, creating expressive three dimensionality.
Four of these crystals – including one wrapping 90° over the end of the case –surround the tourbillon, allowing unfettered views to the beating heartbeat of the timepiece. The large windows also let light flood in and shine a spotlight on this mechanical center piece. The vitrine aspect of the tourbillon space is cleverly enhanced by light-absorbing, matte black PVD finish on the interior walls encasing the tourbillon.
The stainless steel used to make the case is BO-988 specific steel. This annealed steel is of a higher quality than the usual 316L steel found in timepiece cases because it contains fewer impurities, is less liable to corrode and is more biocompatible. Its finer grain size allows for a better standard of polishing and higher level of finish.
With its generous 16.25 mm diameter, the hand-polished tourbillon cage is crafted from weight-saving stainless steel, while titanium has been chosen for the tourbillon bridge due to its strength, low density and shock-absorbing qualities. The flying tourbillon configuration does not need an upper supporting bridge and offers unimpeded views to the top of the regulator. The combination of German silver, titanium and stainless steel in a series watch movement is unique.
Supporting the two mainspring barrels (which are in series for better timekeeping precision) is a bridge featuring a high-tech laser-engraved, satin-finished, criss-cross motif. The two ratchets are also laser-engraved and enameled. A large diameter 60-second tourbillon requires significant energy, which is amply supplied by the dual main spring barrels.
When fully wound, the Angelus 100 caliber provides a very healthy 90 hours of optimal power. The two mainspring barrels are optimally sized in a special ratio for a flatter torque curve, which maximizes accuracy throughout for the full 90 hours. The crown, purposefully oversized for ergonomic winding, is inset neatly into the case in harmony with the case’s contours.
The design of the U10 Tourbillon Lumière’s indications and case architecture are in part inspired by the multi-display travel clocks Angelus was renowned for between the 1930s to the ‘60s. Angelus pioneered the concept of displaying a range of information on different dials with dedicated windows for each indication.
There is also an evident tip of the hat towards the sculptural minimalism and clean, sober aesthetic propounded by German and Italian industrial design pioneers who rose to prominence in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Recognizable in the design of the hour-minutes-seconds display and tourbillon vitrine is the influence of the borderless convex screen of the Doney 14 transistor TV designed by Richard Sapper and Marco Zanuso for Brionvega. The perpendicular kink in the large wrap-over crystal of the tourbillon vitrine is also reminiscent of the shape of Sapper and Zanuso’s Algol television for the same company.
Without curved corners to soften its strong lines, the Tourbillon Lumière’s assertive case would effectively resemble a box – linear and blocky. However, the Angelus design team looked to the great Dieter Rams for inspiration when conceiving the case architecture and duly took rounded design cues from the likes of Rams’ SK55 and Pcs 45 record players and SK 2 radio for Braun. The influence of Rams’ clear zoning of functions is also evident in the way the U10’s indications are discretely set out.
Finally, the Tourbillon Lumière’s steel case spreads out generously either side of the black strap, almost dwarfing the alligator leather fixation. Its large, rounded silvery appearance is not dissimilar to the classic Arco lamp and Spirale ashtrays of Achille Castiglioni which resemble oversized, highly-polished globules.
The U10’s case captures this sense of sculptural curvaceousness found in Castiglioni’s designs. The U10’s discrete displays also evoke the modularity of the RR126 stereo system that Castiglioni designed with his brother Pier Giacomo.
The hour and minute hands – brushed finished, rhodium-treated and filled with black Super-LumiNova that glows blue in the dark – are actually set into the concave dial made of grey-tinted sapphire. Like the interior of the tourbillon vitrine, the walls of the dial recess have also been bead-blasted to a matte finish and then treated with black PVD. Tiny holes drilled into the dial at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and filled with Super-LumiNova create bright white markers.
In a neat touch highlighting the meticulous thought that has gone into every aspect of the Tourbillon Lumière, the dead beat seconds hand rotating flush with the top of the dial features a counter weight on its short end that encircles the Angelus graphic logo when it passes 12 o’clock. Each passing second marked by the hand aligns perfectly with the radial white lines printed onto the dial.
While the dead beat seconds hand’s step-by-step motion is the result of a traditional horological complication, the stepped seconds is also reminiscent of quartz watches. Indeed, Angelus has deliberately sought to evoke the era of quartz watches, which also have stepped seconds.
Completing the indications on the side of the case is the intuitive linear power reserve featuring a rhodium-treated hand filled with black Super-LumiNova that glows blue in the dark.
Model: U10 Tourbillon Lumière
Calibre: ANGELUS A100 manual-winding caliber with flying tourbillon
Functions: hours, minutes, 60-second flying tourbillon, central dead beat seconds, linear power reserve indication
Tourbillon: 16.25 mm cage diameter; Swiss lever escapement, screwed balance and hairspring with Breguet overcoil
Dimensions: 52.10 mm x 30.40 mm
Height: 7.50 mm
Power reserve: 90 hours of optimal power, double barrel
Frequency: 18,000 vph / 2.5Hz
Movement finishing: German silver, rhodium-treated contemporaneously finished in the tradition of Haute Horlogerie: satin-finished with laser engraved motif main plate, satin-finished bridges with polished bevels, plate dial side with sunray satin-finish, satin-finished gears, screws with beveled and mirror-polished heads, the two ratchets are laser-engraved and enameled.
Tourbillon finishing: sandblasted and satin-finished titanium tourbillon bridge , entire tourbillon cage with hand-chamfered and polished edges and either satin-finished or mirror-polished surfaces
Material: Translucent-grey coated concave sapphire and black outer ring
Hour markings: 12 white printed spokes radiating from center
Minute markings: 48 white printed spokes on outer chapter ring
Double white (C1) Super-LumiNova dots at 12 o’clock
Single white (C1) Super-LumiNova dots at 3, 6 & 9 o’clock
ANGELUS typographic logo at 12 o’clock
ANGELUS graphic logo at 6 o’clock
Hour, minute & power reserve hands: Brushed-finished, rhodium-treated, with black
Super-LumiNova that glows blue in the dark
Dead beat second hand: white lacquered
Material: BO-988 specific annealed stainless steel; bead-blasted and treated with black PVD on the inside
Dimensions: 62.75 mm x 38 mm
Height: 15mm including sapphire crystals
Crown: engraved with ANGELUS logo; 2 positions: 1. winding, 2. time-setting
Back: See-though display back
Distance between lugs: central bind
Water resistance: 30 m / 100’/ 3atm
Crystals: 7 sapphire crystals beveled, polished and treated with anti-reflective coating
Strap and buckle
Material: Hand-stitched, cut and stained edge black alligator leather
Length range: 70 mm to 125 mm
Width: 24 to 20 mm
Buckle: Stainless steel pin folding buckle engraved with Angelus logo
Limitation and reference
Limited edition: 25 timepieces