Baselworld 2013: Blancpain Tourbillon Carrousel – is more better?

The Blancpain Tourbillon Carrousel has both a tourbillon and a carrousel. Both are link by a differential, and rotate on the same plane.

At Baselworld 2013 Blancpain unveiled an oddity, the Tourbillon Carrousel. Its name stems from the fact that it has a tourbillon and a carrousel (or karussel), with the rate of each averaged out by a differential. Given both the tourbillon and the carrousel are intended to average out the effects of gravity in a vertical position, this seems a bit redundant.  The tourbillon and carrousel – both of which have silicon hairsprings – are rotating on the same plane, which means there should be little difference between the two. Contrast this with the Greubel Forsey Invention Piece 2, which has twin inclined tourbillons which are on different planes, ditto for the tourbillon-less Double Balancier 35° and the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor.

Though they have a similar purpose, the tourbillon and carrousel are different in construction. A tourbillon carriage is linked to the same gear train as the escapement, so if the gear train stops, the entire system stops. On the other hand, the carrousel carriage has its own independent gear train, separate from the escapement, which means it can go on ticking even if the carriage is stopped.

Aside from the tourbillon and carrousel on the front, there is also a date display at three o’clock. And the dial is circled by a white, grand feu enamel chapter ring with applied rose gold numerals. Helpful labels are included: “Tourbillon” at 12 o’clock and “Carrousel” at six.

The Tourbillon Carrousel has twin barrels, wound simultaneously via the crown at four o’clock, with a seven day power reserve between them. A power reserve display is present on the back. The rose gold case is 44.6 mm wide and 11.94 mm high, making this a fairly large watch. Retail in Singapore is S$441,600, including tax of 7%, which works out to about US$359,000. – SJX

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Baselworld 2013: Christophe Claret Kantharos – monopusher chronograph with cathedral gong and constant force

Christophe Claret continues to develop its own line of timepieces with the unveiling of the Kantharos, a monopusher chronograph equipped with a constant force mechanism, as well as a gong that chimes when the stopwatch is used.

Christophe Claret was once the go-to guy for complicated movements like minute repeaters, but as the number of movement specialists have multiplied and brands move development in-house, Christophe Claret has begun to concentrate on retailing watches under its own brand name. The latest is the Kantharos, an elaborate chronograph made in-house by Claret. While the Kantharos is technically interesting, it seems to be a hodge podge of unrelated functions. As with some of the chronograph movements Claret has made before, the automatic cal. MBA13 inside the Kantharos is equipped with a striking mechanism linked to the chronograph. It has one cathedral gong – about one and a half times as long as the movement perimeter – and one hammer visible on the dial at ten o’clock. This chimes each time the chronograph starts, stops or is reset.

The cathedral gong circles almost twice around the movement; constant force mechanism at six o’clock
The movement is equipped with a platinum rotor

Named after a prize winning race horse, the Kantharos is also equipped with a constant force mechanism, which can be seen on the dial beneath a sapphire bridge. But given this watch has a vertical clutch mechanism for the chronograph, there is minimal loss of amplitude when the chronograph is engaged, which makes the constant force escapement seem unnecessary.

Both chronograph counters feature fixed sapphire discs etched with numerals, with the elapsed time is indicated by rotating discs with a red index underneath. The Kantharos has a 45 mm case, in either titanium or titanium and gold. The basic version in titanium starts at CHF96,000, exclusive of tax.  – SJX

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Baselworld 2013: Hautlence Destination dual time – new entry level model (specs and price)

Hautlence announces their new entry level model, a dual time zone watch in the brand’s signature cushion case, equipped with a Soprod movement.

Hautlence Destination 01

Based in Neuchâtel, Hautlence (an anagram of Neuchâtel,), which was not too long ago acquired by former Audemars Piguet CEO Georges-Henri Meylan, now has a more affordably priced and simpler timepiece. The Destination is a dual time watch with the second time zone display at six o’clock, and just above it the day and night indicator. At 12 o’clock sits the oversized date. Unlike earlier Hautlence watches were used movements that were largely proprietary, the Destination contains the Soprod 935I/A10-2 (which is actually based on the Seiko 4L calibre series). The Destination is the first model of the new Hautlence Signature line, which aims to be more affordable and will thus use outsourced movements. Three versions are available, the Destination 01 in titanium and rose gold (CHF30,000), the Destination 02 in titanium (CHF20,000), and the Destination 03 in black DLC coated titanium (CHF22,000). All prices include Swiss tax of 8%. – SJX

Destination 02
Destination 03
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