Two weeks ago we brought you the news regarding the rebirth of the Angelus manufacture, which has now been revived by Manufacture La Joux-Perret. The latter, spent four years developing the next generation of visionary timepieces and here's the first one of them. May we now present you this hands-on review with some of the first live pictures on any other watch website of the new Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière. Boasting a radically deconstructed movement, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière features hours, minutes, dead beat seconds and a one-minute flying tourbillon, plus a 90-hour linear power reserve indicator on the case profile. The clean, modernist displays pay tribute to Angelus’ acclaimed travel clocks as well as taking cues from iconic industrial designs and designers of the 1960s and ‘70s. Powering the U10 Tourbillon Lumière is an innovative, finely finished, in-house calibre complete with oversized one-minute flying tourbillon, which is offset from the movement. Visible from five sides in its own sapphire crystal showcase, the circular ballet of the tourbillon is on full display. The generously-proportioned —62.75 mm x 38 mm x 15 mm— case, which took over two years to develop, features no fewer than seven sapphire crystals. All the crystals are bevelled, polished and subtly protrude from the case, creating expressive tridimensionality.
Four of these crystals —including one wrapping 90° over the end of the case— surround the tourbillon, allowing unfettered views to the beating heart of the timepiece. The large windows also let light flood in and shine a spotlight on this mechanical centerpiece. The vitrine aspect of the tourbillon space is cleverly enhanced by light-absorbing, matte black PVD finish on the interior walls encasing the tourbillon.
The stainless steel used to make the case is BO-988 specific steel. This annealed steel is of a higher quality than the usual 316L steel found in timepiece cases because it contains fewer impurities, is less liable to corrode and is more bio-compatible. Its finer grain size allows for a better standard of polishing and higher level of finish.
The imaginatively engineered movement, visible also through the display back, pays homage to Angelus' 19th-century origins as a premium movement maker. The inspiration for the name U10 Tourbillon Lumière derives from the light —lumière in French— streaming through the tridimensional sapphire windows and illuminating the mesmerizing tourbillon. The design of the U10 Tourbillon Lumière’s indications and case architecture are in part inspired by the multi-display travel clocks Angelus was renowned for between the 1930s to the ‘60s. Angelus pioneered the concept of displaying a range of information on different dials with dedicated windows for each indication.
There is also an evident tip of the hat towards the sculptural minimalism and clean, sober aesthetic propounded by German and Italian industrial design pioneers who rose to prominence in the 1960s and ‘70s. Recognizable in the design of the hour-minutes-seconds display and tourbillon vitrine is the influence of the borderless convex screen of the Doney 14 transistor TV designed by Richard Sapper and Marco Zanuso for Brionvega. The perpendicular kink in the large wrap-over crystal of the tourbillon vitrine is also reminiscent of the shape of Sapper and Zanuso’s Algol television for the same company.
Without curved corners to soften its strong lines, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière’s assertive case would effectively resemble a box —linear and blocky. However, the Angelus design team looked to the great Dieter Rams for inspiration when conceiving the case architecture and duly took rounded design cues from the likes of Rams’ SK55 and Pcs 45 record players and SK 2 radio for Braun. The influence of Rams’ clear zoning of functions is also evident in the way the U10’s indications are discretely set out.
Finally, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière’s steel case spreads out generously either side of the black strap, almost dwarfing the alligator leather fixation. Its large, rounded silvery appearance is not dissimilar to the classic Arco lamp and Spirale ashtrays of Achille Castiglioni which resemble oversized, highly-polished globules. The U10’s case captures this sense of sculptural curvaceousness found in Castiglioni’s designs. The U10’s discrete displays also evoke the modularity of the RR126 stereo system that Castiglioni designed with his brother Pier Giacomo.
The exclusive Angelus A100 manual wound movement with hours, minutes, central dead beat seconds, one-minute flying tourbillon and linear power reserve indication features a hand-polished tourbillon cage that is crafted from weight-saving stainless steel, while titanium has been chosen for the tourbillon bridge due to its strength, low density and shock-absorbing qualities. The flying tourbillon configuration does not need an upper supporting bridge and offers unimpeded views to the top of the regulator. The combination of nickel-silver, titanium and stainless steel in a series watch movement is unique. A large diameter one-minute tourbillon requires significant energy, which is amply supplied by the dual main spring barrels. When fully wound, the Angelus A100 calibre provides a very healthy 90 hours of optimal power. The two mainspring barrels are optimally sized in a special ratio for a flatter torque curve, which maximizes accuracy throughout for the full 90 hours.
On one hand the U10 Tourbillon Lumière is classic haute horlogerie. Its dead beat seconds complication —where the second hand advances in full steps of one second— derives from 18th-century pocket watches; the movement bridges and plates are in traditional nickel-silver that is bevelled and polished; and the traditional 2.5Hz / 18,000 vph of the screwed balance with Breguet-overcoil is a throwback to some of Angelus’ early pocket watches. And yet, the modernist display, innovative engineering and state-of-the-art materials and finishing ensure that the U10 Tourbillon Lumière can equally be viewed as a paragon of cutting-edge, contemporary watchmaking. The configuration of the manual-winding calibre is decidedly avant-garde, with the tourbillon positioned far outside of the movement, displayed alone as a dazzling mechanical sculpture in its own sapphire crystal vitrine.
Angelus’ Head of Development Sébastien Chaulmontet reveals that the configuration of the tourbillon was his starting point when designing the U10 Tourbillon Lumière. He says: “We always first think of the final design of the watch that we wish to create. For the U10 Tourbillon Lumière, we wanted a large tourbillon displayed on its own in a sapphire showcase. In order to realize the design we had to develop a new movement from scratch, with the tourbillon configured apart from the rest of the movement. The case and the movement then went through several phases of development so that they worked perfectly together, both technically and visually, before arriving at the final, emphatically sculptural, result.”
On the wrist, the watch wears extremely big in a way that we find it almost impossible to wear in a normal manner. While this is an amazing rebirth piece and one amazing piece of 'haute horlogerie' we feel that the size is just too much. Nevertheless, we are confident that selling out 25 limited edition pieces of this new Angelus won't be a problem at all.
Sticker Price $110,000 USD. For more info on Angelus click here.
U10 Tourbillon Lumière Technical Specifications
Calibre A100, one-minute flying tourbillon movement
Dimensions: 52.10 mm x 30.40 mm
Thickness: 7.50 mm
Power reserve: 90 h, double barrel
Frequency: 2.5Hz / 18,000 vph
Tourbillon: 16.25 mm cage diameter, Swiss lever escapement, screwed balance and hairspring with Breguet overcoil
Functions: hours, minutes, central dead beat seconds, one-minute flying tourbillon, linear power reserve indication
Movement decoration: nickel-silver movement, rhodium treated with haute horlogerie finishing: satin-finished main plate with laser engraved pattern, satin-finished bridges with chamfered and polished edges, plate dial side with sunray satin-finish, circular satin-finished wheels, screws with bevelled and mirror-polished heads, two laser-engraved and enamelled ratchets
Tourbillon finishing: bead-blasted and satin-finished titanium tourbillon bridge, entire tourbillon cage with hand-chamfered and polished edges and either satin-finished or mirror-polished surfaces
Colour: translucent-grey coated concave sapphire and black outer ring
Double white (C1) Super-LumiNova dots at 12 o’clock
Single white (C1) Super-LumiNova dots at 3, 6 & 9 o’clock
Hour, minute & power reserve hands: brushed-finished, rhodium-treated, with black Super-LumiNova that glows blue in the dark
Dead beat seconds hand: white lacquered
Material: BO-988 specific annealed stainless steel, bead-blasted and treated with black PVD on the inside
Dimensions: 62.75 mm x 38 mm
Thickness: 15 mm including sapphire crystals
Sapphire crystals: 7 in total, treated with anti-reflective coating
Back: see-though sapphire crystal
Water-resistant: 30 m
Strap and buckle
Strap: hand-stitched black alligator leather
Buckle: stainless steel folding buckle
Limitation and reference
Limited edition: 25 pieces