Are you looking for an expressive watch filled with character? Look no further than de Grisogono’s new timepieces and you will find one. Fawaz Gruosi, de Grisogono’s founder and CEO, will never disappoint you. This year de Grisogono pushes the envelope to bring us delightful surprises like the Instrumento N° Uno Tourbillon.

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De Grisogono is not a manufacture, and indeed they don’t even desire to be one. Like Linde Werdelin, they prefer to work with the best in the business to create the watches they envision. In this case, Gruosi wanted to locate the tourbillon outside the movement, and indeed outside the boundaries of a traditional case.

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While this request would puzzle most, it challenged others to think outside the box, so to speak. As often happens in the world of horology, history provided the solution. The inspiration came from the work of Richard Daners, who was in turn inspired by Alfred Helwig’s flying tourbillon, and by the first tourbillon with inclined balance wheel created by Albert Potter in 1860. the result is a modern interpretation of these devices: De Grisogono’s flying tourbillon fitted with a balance staff inclined at a 30° angle.

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The 30° angle is not only aesthetically pleasing, is has also proven to be the optimal inclination to fight the effects of the so called “plat-pendu phenomenon”. Tourbillons were invented for use in pocket watches, which spend most of their time in a more or less vertical position. Wristwatches move in both vertical and horizontal positions, and quite frequently so. This results in the “plat-pendu phenomenon”, where the rate of the watch varies because of these movements, making the tourbillon less effective. De Grisogono’s flying tourbillon, with a balance-staff inclined at a 30° angle, battles this phenomenon by ensuring a stable rate in all positions.

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But that was not enough for de Grisogono. To present this tourbillon in all its glory, it was placed in a sapphire coliseum, which is actually raised above the rest of the sapphire crystal. This magnifies the tourbillon, enhancing the owner’s ability to admire its many fine details.

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The skeletonized movement, with Arabic numerals seemingly floating above, offers an abundance of details to appreciate. In the best de Grisogono tradition,  the movement is largely coated with black PVD. This allows for a subtle play of shades when the light falls onto the movement.

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The movement has twin barrels, providing a generous 72-hour power reserve. The whole movement is crafted from 266 parts, of which 62 are dedicated to the tourbillon. Weight is an enemy for a tourbillon, and the one found in this de Grisogono Instrumento N° Uno Tourbillon weighs only 3.6 grams.

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The proportions of this watch sound enormous at 59.2 x 33 x 14.99 mm, yet on the wrist, it’s more David than Goliath. That’s because the watch is not only long, but also follows the shape of the wrist, by means of a curve in the back of the case, which was not easy to accomplish. As shown above, the back incorporates a large sapphire crystal that extends to reveal the tourbillon. Cutting the sapphire to form the curve was a daunting task. The challenge was such that de Grisogono had to venture into the field of optics to locate a supplier who was willing and able to craft it.

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The de Grisogono Instrumento N° Uno Tourbillon is available in two varieties, each with a character all its own. The white gold version features green hands and green numerals, giving the watch a very technical look. The rose gold version, with rose gold hands and numerals, is a classic beauty with a modern twist, yet both are distinctively de Grisogono!

Note that the two watches in the photos above are prototypes, so expect an even better finish on the final pieces.

Martin Green
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics

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