Officially unveiled last month during the Baselworld 2011 international trade show, the new Concord C1 BlackSpider LAB Series Tourbillon (ref. 0320143) hand-wound watch features a tourbillon escapement that is visible through the skeletonized, arachnid-shaped baseplate of its hand-made movement. While its exterior design may not look as outrageous as that of the iconic Ulysse Nardin Freak Diavolo, I can see why the young Swiss-based watchmaker seems to be so proud about their new creation: after all, creating a tourbillon basically from scratch requires a great deal of technical prowess to begin with, and it is a whole another level of professionalism when you start to churn out such complex mechanisms as hot pancakes.
Although there is nothing particularly groundbreaking about this watch from the point of view of pure mechanics (with its 2008 Tourbillon Gravity watch the Swiss watchmaker successfully proved that it has nothing to prove in the field of Haute Horlogerie,) the new C1 BlackSpider LAB Series watch is a real head-turner when it comes to pure esthetics. Featuring a deliberately high-tech exterior and reinforcing the controversial statement that skilled, but sometimes dirty hands of a craftsman have nothing to do in the modern “high horology” business, the watch bears an appeal of a modern high-performance car engine or, maybe, that of a fifth-generation fighter jet: it is cutting edge, baby!
As you can see, the baseplate of the in-house Caliber Concord C105 movement is shaped in such a way as to successfully arouse the feeling of arachnophobia in you with image of a spider that sits inside a “can” more than 13.5 millimeters deep, attached to it with the eight legs, ready to catch and kill a prey.
Still, nobody apparently wants your arachnophobia to develop to the point of plain hysteria, so, in order to protect the wearer from a poisonous bite of an imaginary arachnid, the Swiss watchmaker sealed the case with a pair of sapphire crystals, both treated with antireflective coating for better legibility.
The one on top is 3.30 millimeters thick (you usually expect such a massive crystal on a semi-professional diving watch, but in this case it is, again, added only to reinforce the “industrial” esthetics of the design) and the one at the back is not as thick, but is still secured by eight polished screws.
The movement itself is very laconic both in its design and its decor.
Adorned with very high-tech vertical stripes, it has a pair of cut-outs.
The one at 6 o’clock shows us the tourbillon and the one at 12 o’clock gives view at the balance wheel that beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour.
It’s clear that the complex mechanism must be quite expensive when it comes to servicing, so it is sort of disappointing that the huge titanium case gives you nothing more than 3 ATM of water resistance. Yes, I understand that a watch that costs more than an average Mercedes-Benz S-Class executive sedan is not supposed to be taken not only to a beach party, but even into a shower, but I think I would still feel more secure if the mechanism was better protected from water: just in case, you know.
Limited to only 25 numbered pieces, the Concord C1 BlackSpider is going to be one of the most interesting “sporty” watches this year.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Concord C1 BlackSpider (ref. 0320143) hand-wound watch specification
Price: €124,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Manual (hand-wound,) Caliber C150, 19 jewels, 21,600 vph, in-house, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Vertical stripes, skeletonized mainplate, rhodium-plated gears and levers
Functions: Hours, minutes, tourbillon
Power reserve: 72 hours (3 days)
Case material: Titanium
Bezel material: Titanium
Case shape: Octagonal
Bezel shape: Octagonal
Case size: 47.00 mm
Lug width: N/A
Case height: 13.55 mm
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black vulcanized rubber strap with Concord folding clasp in black PVD-treated stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire, 3.30 mm thick, antireflective on both sides
Case back: Sapphire, secured by 8 screws