Timekeeping
By David Shapiro
on 2.11.13
Photo by Zenith

There are a slew of complications that are easy to overlook if you’re not in the market for a watch that costs as much as a nice starter home in Phoenix. Still, some are interesting enough to merit a few minutes hours gawking. The Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane ($280,000) has not one but two complications that clear this bar, so lest we leave you unprepared when you hit the Powerball, read on.

The Christophe Colomb family has been around for a few years in several iterations, all with a large bubble protruding from the crystal that contains the gravity-defying escapement. Inspired by marine chronometers from past centuries, the gimbal suspension keeps the escapement horizontal, its most accurate position, regardless of your wrist’s angle or movement.

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Continuing to take what’s old and make it new again, the movement uses a 585-part fusée and chain transmission system to provide constant force to the escapement, ensuring continuous amplitude regardless of how far the mainspring has unwound. This complication was invented in the 15th century (for clocks; there were no wristwatches back then), though to miniaturize something that is most easily described as a bicycle chain and conical gear to fit into a 45mm watch is no easy feat. The fusée and chain can be seen under the time dial, which along with the seconds counter and power reserve are the watch’s only functions. Still, this is a watch to buy for what’s going on under the hood, not what’s on the dial.