Waldhoff Imperial Royal Blue Limited Ed. (tourbillon, sapphire case, 80hr reserve)
Why We Love This Watch
Invented around 1795 by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, the tourbillon was designed to counter the effects of gravity on the accuracy of a watch by slowly rotating the escapement and balance wheel (the beating heart of a mechanical watch) in a full circle. The effect can be mesmerizing to watch, and a tourbillon is considered to be one of the most desirable as well as one of the most expensive watch complications. Each tourbillon has to be both built and adjusted by hand by a highly trained watchmaker, in a manual process that may often be quite time consuming.
Consequently, due to the high skill level, time involved, and overall complexity of the parts, tourbillons are frequently seen in Swiss watches costing hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars, and typically not for less than $40,000 USD. For those who are looking to pay more typical microbrand watch prices, the only affordable alternative to a Swiss tourbillon is a Chinese tourbillon movement, but the quality can be hit or miss. We're therefore really happy that Waldhoff have selected the Hangzhou 3452 here as the watches we've tested to date all have had exceptionally good accuracy on our timegrapher, especially compared to most other microbrand tourbillons, and a very smooth feel too when winding. The accuracy and feel are signs of a good movement that has been expertly installed and, typically, well regulated.
What sets this watch truly apart from other microbrand tourbillon offerings is, however, the unusual and rather expensive choice of a transparent sapphire crystal case, giving a view of the skeletonized movement inside from any angle. Topping off our wish list is a twin barrel / dual spring system giving a very convenient 80 hour power reserve, double the norm. If you're looking for a hard-to-get quality tourbillon watch at an affordable price with some interesting features, this one ticks all of the boxes.
- Type: Microbrand watch.
- Reference: Manufaktur Waldhoff Imperial Royal Blue.
- Limited Edition Size: 1,000 timepieces.
- Complications: Flying wing co-axial tourbillon.
- Color Scheme: Metallic blue and silver.
- Water Resistance: 3 ATM / 30 meters / 100 feet.
- Diameter: 43mm, excluding crown.
- Lug-to-Lug Length: 49mm.
- Lug Width: 22mm.
- Height: 14mm.
- Weight: 92 grams.
- Case: Entire case (front, back and sides) is made from transparent sapphire crystal, wrapped with an outer 316L marine grade stainless steel shroud around the outer edges, with the shroud providing the steel lugs to attach straps or a bracelet. This is done in such a way to provide a clear view inside the case from any angle.
- Case Back: The skeletonized movement inside the transparent sapphire crystal exhibition case back showcases the underside of the tourbillon, gearing, and a number of jewels, without a rotor to block the view.
Dial Type: Skeletonized dial with elegant metallic blue scrollwork, silver-colored applied indices filled with C3 lume, and sloped outer track on the chapter ring. The centerpiece of the dial is the large rotating tourbillon symmetrically placed at 6 o'clock, but a number of jewels and parts of the twin barrel system are also visible. Semi-skeletonized, sword-shaped, silver-colored hour and minute hands filled with C3 lume complete the picture.
- Glass Type: Scratch resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.
- Lume: Swiss RC-Tritec Super-LumiNova C3-colored lume. (The brightest color. White when well lit. Glows bright green when charged in darker situations.)
- Straps Included: 22mm genuine leather blue calfskin straps with crocodile patterning, quick-release spring bars, and a deployent butterfly clasp.
- Movement: 29 jewel Hangzhou 3452 co-axial tourbillon hand-wound movement featuring twin barrels (dual mainsprings) for double the normal power reserve.
- Oscillation: 28,800 BPH, (8 ticks per second.)
- Hacks: N/A. Tourbillon rotates 360 degrees every minute in lieu of a second hand.
- Hand Winds: Yes.
- Automatic Winding: No.
- Power Reserve: 80 hours.
- Manufacturer's Warranty: 2 years. Important information.
Please note that 3 ATM watch heads generally should not be immersed in water or under water flow from a tap or shower head, but do tend to cope well with everyday light rain.
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