The Perfect Storm
Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon No. 4
For many, Harry Winston is synonymous with stratospherically priced jewelry and awards shows, but for watch aficionados, the name also brings to mind some truly ground-breaking horological masterpieces; indeed, anyone familiar with their Opus series of haute horlogerie will readily attest to the genius that HW brings to bear on the industry.
Not content to continue to ride the Opus wave (we’re now up to number 12 in the series), Harry Winston has also been quietly producing their Histoire de Tourbillon series, and the latest installment is nothing short of amazing. The Histoire de Tourbillon No. 4 is a fitting tribute to the eponymous escapement, considered by many to represent the epitome of the watchmaking craft.
A tourbillon, which means “whirlwind” in French, helps a watch achieve even greater accuracy by mitigating the effects of gravity on the movement. In the case of the Historire de Tourbillon No. 4, the tourbillon is a triple-axis design: the escapement rotates on three different planes in a mechanical ballet that is nothing short of mesmerizing. The first cage, which encloses the oscillator and escapement, rotates once every 45 seconds; the intermediate cage, which encloses the first, rotates once every 75 seconds; and the outermost cage rotates once every 300 seconds. All together, this has the effect of ensuring that the escapement is never in the same exact position regardless of how the watch is being worn — which in turn ensures that its accuracy remains unaffected.
Overall, this stunning movement is comprised of 345 discrete parts; the watch takes a team of skilled watchmakers over 160 hours to complete. It beats at a rate of 21,800 bph and has a 50-hour power reserve, the latter of which is indicated on the dial. Naturally, the white gold and Zalium case was designed to highlight the inner workings of the watch, affording the owner a detailed view of the proceedings.
Only 20 of these masterpieces will be produced, so you’d be wise to put your deposit down now. As for the price, well, ultimate accuracy isn’t cheap these days — but if you take to heart the maxim that time is money, then the Histoire de Tourbillon No. 4 is nothing short of a bargain.