Technically speaking, no modern watch needs a tourbillon. Conceived by British watchmaker John Arnold and brought to life by Swiss legend Abraham-Louis Breguet at the beginning of the 19th century, it was designed to prevent the effects of gravity that came to bear on a pocket watch’s escapement from being sedentary.
Being stuck in a pocket all day affected the balance, which led to timekeeping errors. Wrist watches live much more active lives now, making a tourbillon redundant. However, that doesn’t stop people wanting them.
Rather than being practical, they are now signifiers of a brand’s mechanical prowess, and their elevated price tags just add to the aura. After all, we always want what we can’t have.
A Swiss Assembled Tourbillon For Under £10,000
Thanks to CODE41, now we can. The Lausanne-based, community-supported brand has found a way to make a tourbillon, the T360, for the unbelievable price of £9,590. Not only that, the movement and tourbillon parts for the T360 are 100% Swiss: imagined, developed, designed and assembled entirely in Switzerland. Which makes this price tag all the more staggering.
The suppliers it has called in are impressive in their own right. Atokalpa, which makes the balance wheel, lever escapement and escape wheel, is owned by the legendary Sandoz family, who supported high-end small-scale watchmaker Michel Parmigiani when he decided to set up by himself.
The PVD is done by Positive Coating, a Neuchâtel-based company renowned for pioneering coloured and rainbow decorative coatings, while the barrel comes from 150-year-old watch part manufacturer Generale Ressorts in Bienne.
An Incredible Piece Of Haute Horlogerie
The T360 started life, as all the brand’s watches do, with a vote back in November 2021. 6,125 members voted for this to be its next project, with a moonphase coming close second (5,634).
Being a highly complex complication to create, combined with CODE41’s insistence on Swiss manufacturers and competitive pricing, meant the hunt for suppliers took longer than usual. However, after a year and a half, over 12,500 subsequent votes from members on design, case shape and type of tourbillon, along with 43 sleepless nights, it is finally here and it’s just fabulous.
Most tourbillons are special occasion watches, this is for every day. Its case is robust, super-light grade 5 titanium; the watch itself has been subjected to CODE41’s reliability tests, which are superior to industry standards, and the highly accurate movement only has a deviance of -5/+5 seconds daily with a 105-hour power reserve.
Those are technical stats, the more fun number is that, thanks to CODE41’s passion for customisation, there are over 200 possible combinations, meaning that each T360 will be unique to its owner. You can choose your strap – leather, rubber or steel.
There are two cases: CODE41’s classic NativeDNA or a new Stratom, both 42mm but the elegant yet sporty Stratom is marginally chunkier. There are five colour combinations for the hands and dial, including a very on-trend rainbow finish, which brings an anarchic flavour to this muscular design.
In-keeping with CODE41’s DNA, this is a skeleton, which allows you to see the tourbillon in all its glory at six o’clock. To further declutter the dial the seconds are read off the tourbillon bridge.
Pre-orders for this incredible piece of haute horlogerie open on April 19 at 2pm (3pm CET) and there are just 150 pieces. This is a chance to own a Grail complication for under £10,000. Set your alarms now.