Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Haldimann Horology H8 Sculptura Defies Gravity and Reason

No this watch does not tell the time, but if it did, it would ensure gravity bears no effect on it.
In the stark blackness of the dial flutters a tourbillon - an hypnotic complication invented in 1795 by French watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, a century after Newton defined gravity. Breguet reasoned that as a result of the constant position of the vertical position of the pocket watch, the balance spring is confounded by the effect of gravity effecting the accuracy of the watch. This error could be compensated with a tourbillion whereby the escapement, balance wheel, and balance spring is placed in a rotating carriage which turns once per minute on its own axis.

However, the H8 Sculptura does not display the time and thus has no need for precision. In addition, a tourbillon was designed for a pocket watch and thus gravity does not effect (if it ever did) the movement of a wrist watch.
Haldimann has introduced the H8 Sculptura for what it is, a mechanical work of art, for which there is no functional timekeeping purpose. A pragmatist would argue, if a tourbillon has no effect on precision then what use is it?
I would say, a tourbillon is a complication only achieved by exceptional watch makers, a right of passage if you will dividing the serious watch collectors from the novices. It has survived for hundreds of years as a complication unto itself, and I think Haldimann is unveiling this watch to display the magic of the tourbillon, and only the tourbillon, in its entirety.

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