Pierre Thomas (a young Swiss-based brand, not the American football player) has recently presented a minimalistic Montre Historique Tourbillon (ref. TB №1) model. Equipped with an antique hand-wound movement that the team behind the brand somehow managed to acquire, it sports an oversized flying tourbillon escapement that not only makes the archaic 19th Century mechanism more accurate but also puts it on a whole new level.
The movement in question was produced about 140 years ago by a Swiss ebauche manufacturer Fabrique d’Horlogerie de Fontainemelon (FHF,) which is often regarded as a long-dead-supplier-of-choice for independent brands.
The indies chose the vintage mechanisms for their simple, yet efficient design that often requires only some inexpensive servicing to be ready to put to work (Angular Momentum with its line of “art” timekeepers powered by FHF mechanisms is, perhaps, the first one that comes to mind here, although Armand Nicolet makes a lot more expensive watches, too, likes FHF calibers.)
Also, thanks to their durable chassis and robust design, the vintage calibers seem to accept all kinds of add-on modules -and, like in this case, even tourbillon escapements- well, so it’s no wonder that Pierre Thomas was so happy to introduce a device powered by one of FHF movements.
Meant to be installed in a pocket watch and measuring about 43 mm in diameter, the twin-barrel movement is huge even by today’s standards. But that didn’t seem to bother the guys from Pierre Thomas. It was probably the best excuse to manufacture a gargantuan case that measures 49 millimeters in diameter and 12.70 mm in height.
To match this impressive combo, PT’s designers had to create a massive tourbillon escapement.
The one employed in the PT 2010 movement, for example, is 16 mm in diameter, which makes it almost as large as a €0.01 coin.
The tourbillon is placed between 7 and 8 o’clock and takes almost all real estate from the dial’s rim to its center.
Nevertheless, the dial is legible thanks to a contrasting railroad-style hour track and a perfectly marked minute track with gold five-minute indexes.
The only problem with this collection is that the gorgeous complication looks sort of out of place here.
Like the Alien penetrating an astronaut. Like a wart on face. Like a bug on a windshield. Well, I guess you get the idea.
Maybe a skeletonized version would look great with this thing?
Photos: Pierre Thomas
Pierre Thomas Montre Historique Tourbillon specification
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber PT 2010, 21,600 vph, hand-finished parts, based on a historic FHF movement from the 1870s, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon
Power reserve: 72 hours
Case: 18-karat rose gold or Grey gold (an alloy of silver, manganese, copper, and gold)
Size: 34.00 mm
Height: 12.70 mm
Dial: White mother of pearl or Meteorite
Water resistance: 30 meters
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective