It’s not all about wristwatches, you know. Clocks, and in particular table clocks are making headline news in the business – and just as it was in times gone by, the creation of a unique clock is still the perfect way to celebrate a special anniversary. If the anniversary happens to involve the acclaimed clock making company L’Épée 1839 then you can expect something special. Add Master Watchmaker Vincent Calabrese to the mix and as you might imagine, the end result will be original, creative and superbly complex.
This year L’Épée will celebrate their 175th Anniversary and in honour of the milestone they have enlisted the help of Vincent Calabrese who designed the movement for two unique Double Flying Tourbillon clocks.
You may remember that Vincent Calabrese is the man who simplified the winding system of the “Baguette-style” movement and won a gold medal in Geneva for his prototype of what would later become the exquisite Corum Golden Bridge calibre. M. Calabrese is no stranger to horological wizardry, and has produced illusory movements throughout his career. For the L’Épée clock calibre he focused on the construction of a double flying tourbillon, and true to form he has created a truly unique mechanism which is completely visible on the dial-side providing the on-looker with quite a spectacle.
Everything about the arrangement of the tourbillon on this clock is unusual. A flying tourbillon is one which is only supported from one side, allowing for a panoramic view of the device. Vincent Calabrese takes this a step further by placing the tourbillon onto the minute hand of the clock resulting in a truly mesmerising perspective. This arrangement means that the hour and minute hands form the mainplate for the tourbillon allowing it to “fly” and it also gives the tourbillon a second axis – the first being provided by the 60-second rotation of the tourbillon itself, the second gained by the 60-second rotation of the minute hand as it encircles the dial. As if this were not enough, M. Calabrese fires up our visionary senses further still with the horological delight of a cage which is at odds with the well-behaved “clockwise” characteristics of everything else in the makeup of this imaginative calibre and engineers it to turn in an anti-clockwise direction.
The inclusion of a double axis tourbillon is not just a fancy cosmetic addition to this timepiece, but is one which has an authentic purpose. This movement has a more than generous power reserve of 40 days, when fully hand-wound, but has only one small barrel in which to store its energy. Such a long-term release of energy could easily be affected by the influences of gravity, but with the tourbillon providing stability, the release of energy is regulated.
Of course, such a magnificent calibre deserves a majestic case and L’Épée do not disappoint. Two editions will be made, both so supremely crafted that they are bone fide works of art. The first piece is made from Grade 5 titanium, and weighs over 30 kilograms (66 pounds); the second is made from gold-plated brass and enamel and weighs over 70 kilograms (154 pounds). A skeletonised “aerospace turbine” inspired dial ensures that the inner workings are laid bare and gives both models highly modern aesthetics. Each of the L’Épée by Vincent Calabrese Two Hands Flying Tourbillon clocks will be unique piece editions – the perfect anniversary clock? I’ll say. Sticker Price CHF 500,000.