The story of Angelus began in 1891 when brothers Albert and Gustav Stolz founded the Angelus watchmaking manufacture in Le Locle, Switzerland. The company quickly became renowned for developing and manufacturing pioneering movements and timepieces, both for itself and for other brands. Over the past century, Angelus earned an illustrious reputation for creating exceptional chronograph and multi-complication wristwatches, multi-display travel clocks, and alarm watches, as well as a groundbreaking 8-day movement which was also used by other brands such as Panerai. Along the way, Angelus achieved a number of watchmaking world-firsts, including, first series wristwatch chronograph with calendar, the first wristwatch chronograph with big date, first wristwatch with alarm and date, first automatic repeater wristwatch, and first fully waterproof repeater wristwatch. After lying dormant for more than 30 years, Angelus has now been revived by Manufacture La Joux-Perret, which has spent four years developing the next generation of visionary timepieces, the first of which is the U10 Tourbillon Lumière. This has been developed by the new Angelus team. The Angelus’ manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds is just a stone’s throw from where the Stolz brothers established their original manufacture.
Boasting a radically deconstructed movement, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière features hours, minutes, dead beat seconds and a one-minute flying tourbillon, plus a 90-hour linear power reserve indicator on the case profile. The clean, modernist displays pay tribute to Angelus’ acclaimed travel clocks as well as taking cues from iconic industrial designs and designers of the 1960s and ‘70s. The generously-proportioned 62.75 mm x 38 mm x 15 mm case, which took over two years to develop, features no fewer than seven sapphire crystals. All the crystals are bevelled, polished and subtly protrude from the case, creating expressive three-dimensionality.
Powering the U10 Tourbillon Lumière is an innovative, finely finished, in-house calibre complete with oversized, one-minute flying tourbillon, which is offset from the movement. The assertive, sculpturally-shaped case (in special annealed steel) features seven sapphire crystals. Visible from five sides in its own sapphire crystal showcase, the circular ballet of the tourbillon is on full display. The imaginatively engineered movement, visible also through the display back, pays homage to Angelus’ 19th-century origins as a premium movement maker. The inspiration for the name U10 Tourbillon Lumière derives from the light (lumière in French) streaming through the three-dimensional sapphire windows and illuminating the mesmerizing tourbillon.
On one hand the U10 Tourbillon Lumière is classic haute horlogerie. Its dead beat seconds complication (where the second hand advances in full steps of one second) derives from 18th-century pocket watches, the movement bridges and plates are in traditional nickel-silver that is bevelled and polished; and the traditional 2.5Hz / 18,000 vph of the screwed balance with Breguet-overcoil is a throwback to some of Angelus’ early pocket watches. And yet, the modernist display, innovative engineering and state-of-the-art materials and finishing ensure that the U10 Tourbillon Lumière can equally be viewed as a paragon of cutting-edge, contemporary watchmaking.
With its generous 16.25 mm diameter, the hand-polished tourbillon cage is crafted from weight-saving stainless steel, while titanium has been chosen for the tourbillon bridge due to its strength, low density and shock-absorbing qualities. The flying tourbillon configuration does not need an upper supporting bridge and offers unimpeded views to the top of the regulator. The combination of nickel-silver, titanium and stainless steel in a series watch movement is unique. A large diameter one-minute tourbillon requires significant energy, which is amply supplied by the dual main spring barrels. When fully wound, the Angelus A100 calibre provides a very healthy 90 hours of optimal power. The two mainspring barrels are optimally sized in a special ratio for a flatter torque curve, which maximizes accuracy throughout for the full 90 hours.
The crown, purposefully oversized for ergonomic winding, is inset neatly into the case in harmony with the case’s contours.