Today we will have a look at the best 1:1 replica Glashütteches Original tourbillon watches. The tourbillon nowadays can sometimes seem very divorced from its original purpose, which was to improve accuracy. For most of its history, it was a troublesome mechanism to make. Because of the amount of extra energy it saps from the going train, making tourbillons was something which, after their invention by Breguet at the dawn of the 19th century, few bothered with unless they were obsessed with creating a technical tour de force of some sort, or in exploring the degree to which the tourbillon really could show definite improvements in performance that were actually due to the tourbillon itself, and which were not to some degree – perhaps mostly – due to the great care that had to be taken in making one.
That said, pocket tourbillons often turned in superlative numbers at the observatory time trials, although it was even less clear that they delivered on their theoretical promise in wristwatches. Prior to the post-quartz crisis mechanical renaissance, tourbillon wristwatches were made in vanishingly small numbers, largely as chronometric test-beds (from the likes of Omega and Patek Philippe), but since ticking and tocking began to really pick up again in Switzerland, the tourbillon has increasingly started to seem like a brilliant film actor who for some reason keeps turning in performances in high-budget, mega-salary, but artistically vapid crowd-pleasing blockbusters, rather than staying true to their art. Of course, being a starving artist gets old fast, and there is nothing wrong with tourbillons made to dazzle the eye and delight the mind with their ingenuity, but every once in a while, one yearns for a palate cleanser. Which is where the new flying tourbillon wristwatch from fake Glashütte Original comes in.
The new Swiss replica Glashütte Original Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920 is the tourbillon as most of us manifestly do not remember it, at least not from personal experience of a new tourbillon wristwatch in this our age of the Tourbillon As Three-Ring Circus. It is perhaps most notable for what it does not have – no multi-axis shenanigans; no chains nor yet any fusées; no opening in the dial to allow you to appreciate its gyrations without undergoing the inconvenience of taking your watch off your wrist; it is not skeletonized; it is not a mystery tourbillon, oscillating away with no apparent driving mechanism; it is not dragging along with it a cornucopia of other complications. The Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920, in fact, is such a pure example of the tourbillon wristwatch as to almost constitute a rebuke to the last three decades of tourbillon design, including some of the tourbillons produced by Glashütte Original itself. If you did not know for sure that it had been released in the midst of the mind-bendingly chaotic global exercise in Theater Of The Absurd that is 2020, you could in fact easily be convinced that it was produced sometime in the mid-20th century (except for the fact that nobody was making tourbillons in Glashütte in the 1950s – at least, I don’t think anyone was, although I could be wrong – who knows what secret project some frustrated watchmaker might have been tinkering with at home to cleanse his own palate of the taste of collectivized watchmaking) and intended not as a luxury divertimento, but as a serious-as-a-stroke experiment in cutting-edge precision horology.
The replica watch with rose gold case overall is a classicist’s classic. The only hint it is anything other than a very nicely made 40mm x 11.60mm rose-gold wristwatch with small seconds is the legend “tourbillon” on the dial, which is made of silver-plated gold, with a sunken small seconds sub-dial, stick hands, and applied gold markers. As with the observatory pocket and wristwatch tourbillons of yore, the real point of the watch is what’s under the hood.