Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Despite the romanticism that they offer, there are some really superfluous complications out there. A moon phase is a gorgeous thing to look at, but everyone knows when the sun rises and sets. The other; in my opinion, unnecessary complication is the tourbillon.
The stunning Lange I Moonphase and an ultimate grail of mine, the Patek 5004. Both gorgeous examples of moon phases...
The tourbillon has its roots in pocket watches. Tourbillon is french for 'Whirlwind', which I think is a much cooler name for it if you ask me. The tourbillon was developed in 1795 by Breguet and was developed to correct for positional errors in pocket watches to counter the effects of gravity. Pocket watches by their very nature would sit vertically in pockets during the day. They would then sit horizontally on a flat surface overnight. Sitting for long periods in these two positions would put immense strain on the hairspring, and so this complication was born.
Wristwatches, being worn on the wrist and moved around a lot, as a result, do not see the same strains on the hairspring. Couple this with the increased robustness and technological advancements in movement manufacture in the 225 years since its invention render the practical benefits of a tourbillon all but redundant. But does this stop brands putting them in watches for their aesthetics?? Absolutely not... And today, Omega has decided to join the party for some reason.
What we have here is the Omega De Ville Central Tourbillon Numbered Edition. This is the first Omega tourbillon to be COSC certified, and it is worth noting that this is not the first time that Omega have put a Tourbillon into a wristwatch. They have had a few attempts, with the earliest dating back to the 1940's.
Two of Omega's historic Tourbillons. Photo Credit: Hodinkee
Taking the tourbillon out of the equation, I cannot even say that I objectively like the watch. Whilst I am a fan of the De Ville as a model line, this one comes in at 43mm. Which for a 'non-beefy' dress style piece is lunacy if you ask me. I appreciate fully that the movement, which houses a double balance as well as the Tourbillon needs to be big, surely it could have been scaled down enough to fit into a 40mm case?
Photo Credit: Hodinkee
This watch is a numbered edition, which means that whilst it is not limited edition, Omega will not be making many. Which considering the watch itself and the price of £133,000, is not surprising. However, this is not a watch for the everyday man. This is a watch for true Omega nerds, and COSC nerds for that matter. Whilst I do not like the watch at al, there will be people who share my enthusiasm for the movement design and technology. This alone, provided people have deep pockets, is the reason why these will inevitably sell.
Editor and Co-Founder