Angelus Tourbillon Lumière Angelus Tourbillon Lumière

Modern classics: Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière Featured

An innovative tourbillon watch with the deadbeat seconds complication and a design reminiscent of the 1960s and ‘70s.


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13 April 2016

Angelus is one of the Swiss watch brands founded in the 19th century that enjoyed great success right up until the 1970s, when the influx of cheap quartz watches from America and Asia played havoc in the Swiss watch industry. Angelus went out of business in the late 1970s, but last year it was revived by movement manufacturer La Joux-Perret in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Angelus U10-Tourbillon-Lumiare PR-1 blackTourbillon Lumiare in black

The watch is a remarkable piece of engineering, with the tourbillon escapement in full view thanks to four sapphire glass windows that let in as much light as possible and enable the user to view it from all sides. The constant oscillation of the tourbillon is made even more intriguing by the relatively low frequency, 2.5 Hertz, and the large balance, which absorbs a fair amount of energy. To compensate for this, the hand-wound movement has two mainspring barrels, providing a power reserve of 90 hours.

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Angelus U10-Tourbillon-Lumiare PR-4 blackTourbillon Lumiare in black

The time display reveals the influence of landmark 20th century designs, such as the Doney TV by Richard Sapper and the Brionvega TV by Marco Zanuso. The hour and minute hands are set into the concave dial, and are coated with black SuperLuminova, so they glow blue in the dark.

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Angelus U10-Tourbillon-Lumiare case-profil blackTourbillon Lumiare case profil black 

But the truly unusual feature of this watch is the fact that the second hand, instead of proceeding around the dial with the steady sweep that is the coveted hallmark of mechanical watches, ticks one second at a time. This complication is known as dead beat seconds, and it was originally a feature of 19th-century British marine chronometers, in which the second-by-second movement of the hand made it easier to obtain a precise to-the-second measurement of time. In the Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière, the dead beat seconds is intended as an imitation of 1970s quartz watches, technology that led to the demise of the brand. Revenge is sweet, and in this case, very beautiful.

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This is a limited edition watch, 25 pieces, each about 100,000 Swiss francs.