I have long been a fan of the Histoire de Tourbillon series by Harry Winston. Begun in 2009 to really showcase the tourbillon escapement (a device that compensates for errors in timekeeping due to the effects of gravity on the wrist when it is in certain positions), the Histoire de Tourbillon series of watches have been very impressive. Now, Harry Winston says the project is coming to a close. At the recent Swatch Group “Time to Move” summit in Switzerland, the brand unveiled the 10th and last watch in the series. The Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10 is a record-setting watch with a world-premier feature.
The new Histoire de Tourbillon 10 watch is the first wristwatch to hold four independent, adjacent tourbillon escapements each with its own balance. Offering beautiful balance and symmetry, the rectangular watch displays a tourbillon escapement in each of the four corners of the dial — all rotating once every 36 seconds. Previous Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon watches have incorporated single-axis tourbillons, double-axis tourbillons and even triple-axis tourbillons, and have combined the tourbillon with the carousel — a similar device. Additionally, while many brands have released watches with multiple-tourbillon and multiple-axis tourbillons, none have offered four complete tourbillon escapements with four independent balances in a singe timepiece. To accomplish this feat, Harry Winston worked with independent watch brand, Greubel Forsey, which is a master at chronometry and tourbillons. In fact, Greubel Forsey does have a quadrouple tourbillon, but not with four balances. (It should also be noted that Roger Dubuis has the Quarter watch with four balance wheels, but no tourbillon escapements.)
In order to achieve optimum chronometry, the master watchmakers involved in making the 10 have unified the four tourbillons with three differentials that tie them together. One differentail connects the two tourbillon cages on the left side of the dial, the second connects the cages on the right side of the dial. The third differential is located in the center, and is responsible for averaging the other two differentials. This, along with two pairs of fast-winding barrels placed on top of one another and then connected to the tourbillons, ensures the energy is distributed evenly.
Another important factor adding to the precision of the watch is the speed of the tourbillon cages. While most tourbillons rotate for 60 seconds, the tourbillons on the 10 are all faster, rotating once every 36 seconds. This offers 55 hours of power reserve.
The HW4702 caliber consists of an incredible 673 components, including two transverse bridges that round out the symmetry. The case measures 53.3 mm wide (x 39.1 mm tall) and is offered in one of three different materials: platinum, gold or a single version made of Winstonium, which is a proprietary alloy. Each material has different colored tourbillon bridges and surfaces. Additionally, each watch features a box-like sapphire crystal for viewing of the dial — which is essentially a single piece of sapphire with a hollow center for the chapter ring and hour markers. The arches on the top and bottom of the case are designed to reflect the entrance way of the brand’s iconic Fifth Avenue store. Just 10 will be made, and each is expected to retail for between 700,000 to 770,00 Swiss Francs.
During the visit to the Harry Winston workshops in Geneva, during the Swatch Group summit, Nayla Hayek, CEO of the brand, welcomed journalists. I have had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Hayek on multiple occasions and found that at the workshops, she seemed particularly at ease. While there, we not only got to tour the watchmaking, but also to witness some of the gem setting and jewelry making from this illustrious brand, as well. In addition to the Histoire de Tourbillon 10, this year is chocked full of new Harry Winston watches, from the Lotus to Metiers d’ Arts mosaic, Project Z, Avenues and more, which we will be bringing to you in coming months.