Posted tagged ‘Tourbillon’

Forsey on his inventions

September 30, 2011

It’s rare that you come across someone wearing watches worth Rs 4 crores. No, they’re not endowed with precious stones, but are exclusively handcrafted, hand-finished, limited number of pieces with several patented mechanisms. When we met up with Stephen Forsey of Greubel Forsey, the Swiss watchmaker extraordinaire, for a chat following the Watch World Awards 2011, held at Greater Noida-based Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort, it was one such unique occasion.

Stephen Forsey

Recipient of the maiden individual Award for fine watch making as well as for the Limited Edition category, Forsey posed for the camera with a Double Tourbillon 30° and Invention Piece 2, both sitting snugly on his wrists.

Greubel Forsey, the Swiss watch making company which brought the skills and expertise of two exceptionally talented individuals to the world of horology in 2004, specialises in designing and manufacturing high-end watches based on the tourbillon mechanism, with only a few tens of units manufactured every year, which are expensively priced. Their latest, Invention Piece 2, features two double tourbillon 30°, making it a quadruple tourbillon.  Each double has one outer tourbillon that rotates at 1 cycle per four minutes, and one inner tourbillon, inclined at a 30° angle, that rotates once per minute. Available both in gold and titanium, it has 11 pieces each.

Double Tourbillon 30 degree

Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey met in the early 1990s at Renaud & Papi, and worked together for many years before launching their eponymous brand. And since then, the duo has not looked back, surprising the world with their eagerly awaited horological marvels which take years to develop and are lapped up by connoisseurs worldwide. In 2006 the Richmont Group bought 20 per cent stake in Greubel Forsey. Forsey speaks at length on the company’s inventions and what watch collectors can look forward to in an interview with Hiren Kumar Bose, Editor, Watch World 

On being the first recipient of an individual Watch World Award for special contribution to fine watch making

It’s very exciting for Greubel Forsey to be in India and to get this prestigious award from the biggest specialist magazine. The award is recognition of our timepieces and people at Greubel Forsey who put in months and years of hard work to make these watches. Awards like these help promote the best in watch making and creates awareness about the latest developments in the field. I’m very delighted to have received the award. Greubel Forsey is difficult to describe: for we are a very small company and can make only 100 timepieces in a year.

On bringing T back into tourbillon

When we go to bed we keep our wrist watches on the side table when it is at rest for nearly 12 years. This affects the performance of the watch. Our watches challenge the tourbillon possibilities and are an attempt to make them more precise. For instance, the Double Tourbillon 30° (DT30°) we presented in 2004 features one carriage which rotates once per minute and is inclined at 30°, inside another carriage which rotates every four minutes. The double tourbillon averages out errors on the balance induced by gravity. Or the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Incliné (T24Si), presented in 2006, the tourbillon cage in this watch has a higher angular velocity, resulting in rapidly changing positions. It’s a challenge to put so many tourbillons and still keep the watch reasonably-sized and aesthetically pleasing.

On creating excitement with every creation

(Laughs).Both me and Robert Greubel have put in 25 years into watchmaking. Thanks to the Internet, independent watchmakers like us have been provided with a platform which is open 24/7and lets us interact with buyers and collectors worldwide. Interestingly, people who buy our watches are those who are very much into watches. They discover the intricacies of the watch each day.

Invention Piece 3

On why a Greubel Forsey watch takes years to become a reality

It takes several years to bring an idea through concept and prototype to a finished timepiece. There is a lot of investment that goes into each new mechanism. As these are not available off the shelf, they have to be designed. 98 per cent of our components in the movements, literally hundreds of parts, have to be designed in-house. Our timepieces have between 280 to 690 components in a movement. For instance our very first invention the Double Tourbillon 30°, the two caged, angled cage 30 degrees inside a second cage system took us four and a half years to go through the whole prototype stage to really refining the system. With a mechanical watch you need to have the time to test it, because a watch that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and means that you cannot accelerate the tool process. You just have to wait and be patient. Lastly, every watch needs to be hand-finished, which represents many hundreds of hours of work for each movement.

Published in Mint, Sept30, 2011

Corum’s Admiral Cup Tourbillon

March 9, 2010

Briefly: Admiral’s Cup Minute Repeater Tourbillon 45 to be unveiled at Basel World 2010

admiral cup tourbillon

To celebrate Admiral Cup’s fiftieth anniversary, Corum has chosen to associate to this eminently sporty watch with two of the most prestigious horological complications: the Tourbillon and the minute repeater.

The use of a minute repeater in a watch with marine connotation is not a common feature, however this complication concentrates the strength of two universes, as life on a boat is governed by night and day with ringing bells. From ‘action stations’ in the morning to the evening ring, and even during attention to colours, it is a sailor’s life that is punctuated by these ringing tones.

The model sports the CO 010 caliber. The development and adjustment of this exceptional movement took two entire years for which Corum required the participation of a dozen of its best watch-making craftsmen. Each of the components were conceived and developed to guarantee the precision and beauty of the tone by considering its ‘power’ (expressed in decibels), its ‘precision’ (note correctness), its richness (expressed in number of partials) and its  ‘reverberation’ (duration of each note). The minutes-rack, placed at the heart of the ringing mechanism, is inverted compared to traditional minute repeaters in order to bring strength and precision to each note. It has also been enlarged to permit a wider lift angle to each tooth, extending the time between notes. The racks hitting the gongs are made out of ultra resistant and hardened steel. Fixed to these racks, countersprings have been specially conceived to find the best balance of the hitting strength and speed.

During the ringing, the rhythm is regulated through the rotation of an inertial flywheel, visible on the movement’s back. The gongs, made from an alloy featuring a composition and thermal treatment that are a closely guarded secret, have been adjusted to strike the hours on an A note and the minutes on a C sharp note. These two notes have not been chosen randomly, their specific sequence forms a major third (two tones) with a more cheerful harmony than a minor third (one and a half tones). The precision of the whole mechanism is guaranteed through a Tourbillon with Silicium escapement and pallets offering reliability and durability.

Watch Glossary E-T

February 19, 2010

Tags: Know watches. Get conversant with watch terms from Escapement to Tourbillon

Escapement: Set of parts (escape wheel, lever, roller), which converts the rotary motion of the train into to-and-fro motion (the balance).

Jumping Hour: System of timekeeping whereby traditional hands show the seconds and minutes but the hour is shown in a dial cutout (often at 12), on the minute’s hand reaching 59 minutes, the hour disc under the dial will jump to the next hour.

Manufacture d’horlogerie: French term for a watch factory which itself produces the components (particularly the “ébauches”) needed for the manufacture of its products (watches, alarm and desk clocks, etc).

Marine Chronometer: Highly accurate mechanical or electronic timekeeper enclosed in a box, used for determining the longitude on board ship. Marine chronometers with mechanical movements are mounted on gimbals so that they remain in the horizontal position is necessary for their precision.

Movement: Assembly consisting of the principal elements and mechanisms of a watch or clock: the winding and setting mechanism, the mainspring, the train, the escapement, the regulating elements. “Anatomically”, the movement consists of the “ébauche”, the regulating elements and the other components.

Power Reserve: In its purest sense, used to refer to how long a watch will run once fully wound. Thus a watch with a power reserve of 48 hours should run for that period. Often used to describe a watch that has a power reserve indicator on the dial (usually a small pointer hand and a relevant scale).

Repeater: Watch that strikes the hours by means of a mechanism operated by a push-piece or bolt.

Skeleton Watch: Watch in which the case and various parts of the movement are of transparent material, enabling the main parts of the watch to be seen.

Stopwatch:Timekeeping instrument that can be used for measuring intervals of time.

Tachometer: Instrument for measuring speed. In watchmaking, a timer or chronograph with a graduated dial on which speed can be read off in kilometres per hour or some other unit (see timer).

Tourbillon: (pronounced turbion) Device invented to eliminate errors of rate in the vertical positions. It consists of a mobile carriage or cage carrying all the parts of the escapement, with the balance in the centre. The escape pinion turns about the fixed fourth wheel. The case makes one revolution per minute, thus annulling errors of rate in the vertical positions.

Courtesy Illustrated Professional Dictionary of Horology and Federation of Swiss Watch Industry