In February 2010, Omega has presented the limited-edition DeVille Skeletonized Tourbillon Co-Axial Platinum (ref. 5184.108.40.206.99.001) with a “central tourbillon” complication. Delivered in a deliciously compact platinum case, it features an unusual way of displaying time: instead of the usual “physical” hour and minute hands, it has a pair of rotating sapphire disks!
Although mostly known for their more ‘conformist’ chronographs and divers, like the iconic Speedmaster and Seamaster (James Bond’s favorite, right) series, Omega also produces several more high-tech models, including those that come with central tourbillon escapement. Like FoMoCo has created (and recently resurrected) their GT supercar as a sort of halo model to show what they are really capable of when it comes to all things on four wheels, the Swiss watchmaker decided to make this amazing ultra-limited timekeeper that would be so limited and (hopefully) desirable that future customers would have to actually stand in line to get one of these expensive beauties.
First introduced 16 years ago, these true haute horlogerie timepieces are usually presented in cases crafted from gold and thus retail at around $100,000, which is not that expensive if you take into account the fact that each of these models is a huge jewel in the crown of the DeVille collection. This particular specimen, however, is to be delivered in an even more expensive case, which is crafted from Pt950 platinum. Measuring below 39 mm in diameter, the case is compact enough for the watch to be relatively inconspicuous and is also comfortable to be worn with formal attire.
Like the earlier models in the series, the Skeletonized Tourbillon Co-Axial Platinum lacks traditional hour and minute hands because it is technically impossible to mount the hands on the central tourbillon. Instead, the hands are etched on to a pair of sapphire crystals. The disks are motivated by gearing moved to the outer parts of the platinum case, which is an integral part of the movement.
The mechanism itself derives from the 2002 self-winding Caliber 2600B. Like its predecessor, the Caliber 2636 is built in-house by one of the company’s master horologists and then sent to COSC laboratories in Bienne, Switzerland for further testing. It then receives an official COSC chronometer certificate. When the time comes, the movement is serviced by the same person that initially assembled the watch. So, now you understand why Omega plans to limit the total production to only 18 numbered pieces.
The Skeletonized Tourbillon will be officially unveiled in metal later this year during the Baselworld 2010 trade show and will be delivered to a precious few customers around the world soon after that event.
Omega Skeletonized Tourbillon Co-Axial Platinum (5220.127.116.11.99.001) specification
Movement: Omega Calibre 2636, automatic, in-house, skeletonized and assembled by hand, COSC-certified, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Black Sunray finish, platinum oscillating weight, polished screws
Complications: Central tourbillon
Power reserve: 45 hours
Size: 38.70 mm
Dial: Black, transparent, skeletonized
Hands: Etched on sapphire disks
Strap: Black leather
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire
Water resistance: 30 meters
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Bought my first mechanical watch in 1986 and it took me ten more years to realize that I have a problem: at some point in time watches became my passion. Well, it could be worse.