The Histoire de Tourbillon series is going to get Harry Winston in trouble. Seeing how every iteration of this set of incredible legacy watches has gotten exponentially more and more complicated every year, we’re starting to wonder how on Earth will they be able to deliver something which may up the ante in the previous version. Nonetheless, it does not seem like 2016 will be the year that the Histoire De Tourbillon plateaued, with the introduction of the downright galactic Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7 for Baselworld.So how, exactly, does one go about topping 2015’s eye-watering, $600,000 Tourbillon 6, which marveled with nearly 700 components, two time indicators, an 80-hour energy book, plus a tri-axial tourbillon — all housed in a titanic 55mm case? Easy. You double down with not one, but two bi-axial tourbillons married by a round String that averages their behavioural patterns relative to gravity and position to give a stunning, synchronous ballet with time. Easy, right?On newspaper, the HW4502 movement may appear simpler, as it is comprised of just a hair over 500 parts and 84 stone. Additionally, this newest version doesn’t contain nearly as many unique complications as the Tourbillon 6. Additionally, it’s still about precisely the exact same size as your (above-average-sized) modern wristwatch, in 43.5 millimeter wide and 8.65 millimeter thick — and again, those are the measurements of just the movement alone! Anyhow, that notable decrease in component count appears to have enabled the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7’s movement engineers to focus on the technical wizardry behind carrying a single tourbillon complication with two axes of differing trajectories that drive the escapements, and doubling it — a clinically calculated accomplishment Winston clarifies was accomplished with “outstanding technical strength.” Sounds about right.
|Harry Winston Opus 3 in rose gold|
Late last year – nearly a decade after its launch in 2003 – the first few Opus 3 from Harry Winston were delivered. Conceived by Vianney Halter but far too ambitious a concept for the technology available, the Opus 3 almost became a watch of myth and legend.
A rose gold version will go under the hammer at Christie’s in Hong Kong at end May, with an estimate of US$75,000-150,000. I reckon it will go for about US$120,000 at the low end, possibly more.
Several other Opus watches, including rare diamond-set pieces, all owned by the same collector, will be offered at the same sale. The other highlights are surely the diamond pave Opus 5 by Urwerk, and the Opus 6 tourbillon by Greubel Forsey.
For those wondering if the Opus 3 has changed since its 2003 prototype, it certainly has. The watch is larger; it seems wider and thicker though the overall form is the same. Because of its bigger size, the six windows are less pronounced than in the original iteration, so the watch has lost some of its goggle-eyed look.
Despite the changed dimensions, the Opus 3 still looks distinctive and attractive. Each of the six portholes are still set deep, so the numbers are only visible when looked at straight on. And seeing the seconds jump from 57, 58, 59 to the next minute is impressive.
So many watchmakers have been consulted throughout the project in the quest to make it work, but I believe it was finally Renaud Papi that solved all the problems associated with jumping discs and torque. In the nine years since the Opus 3 was first launched, Vianney Halter has gone on to present only one new model while the other key person behind the watch, Max Busser, has gone on to create an entire brand, most recently working with Stepan Sarpaneva. Seeing the Opus 3 is really a blast from the past. – SJX