Angelus U30 Tourbillon Rattrappante (Live Pics)
Built like a supercar, the Angelus U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante unites three coveted “haute horlogerie” complications in a contemporary, three-dimensional form that is unlike any other: the tourbillon, fly-back double column wheel chronograph and split-seconds (rattrapante), while also boasting automatic winding with a power reserve display.
After five years of intensive research and development secured by several patents, Angelus now has the U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante. It features a one-minute tourbillon, a fly-back double column wheel chronograph, a split-seconds (rattrapante), a self-winding mechanism and a power reserve indicator. However technically complicated that combination is, it is the movement’s contemporary architecture and three-dimensional design that make the Angelus Tourbillon Rattrapante truly unique. All of these complications have been re-engineered based on structural optimization and skeletonized to reveal as much of the movement as possible on the dial side, all while ensuring maximum legibility of the time and chronograph functions. The skeleton bridges alone allow the display of no fewer than 15 different wheels dial side!
The movement hosts a number of complications – all fully integrated rather than modular add-ons – that are built on several layers, all visible thanks to the skeletonized bridges that create a form evoking the “A” of Angelus. To further increase the impression of depth, the movement is fully transparent around the tourbillon and treated in various shades of black and grey.
A tour of the open dial begins with skeletonized central hour and minute hands. High legibility is ensured by high-contrast black movement bridges underneath light-colored hour and minute hands, as well as the fact that the latter have slightly curved profiles to catch the light from any angle.
The one-minute tourbillon occupies a quarter of the dial space and can be appreciated through the skeletonized movement plate and bridges at 10 o’clock. The tourbillon is high- beat with 4 Hz / 28,800 vph, a perfect fit for the watch’s character. The tourbillon cage is entirely made of non-magnetic material and reduced to the maximum to further minimize mass and optimize performance. Not only can the tourbillon itself be fully admired dial side, but also all its gearing, creating an intriguing micro-mechanical display.
The power reserve indicator, with visible gears and wheels, is positioned at 8 o’clock directly integrated onto the skeletonized bridge: a green sector indicates ideal torque while red highlights that it’s time to wind the watch.
The rattrapante (or split-seconds) function allows the timing of different events that begin but do not end together, for example the times of two runners. Two separate chronograph second hands are set one over the other; the one underneath is the split-seconds hand. When the chronograph is started, both hands start moving in lockstep together, until a press of the pusher in the crown “splits” them, with the top hand continuing and the bottom split- seconds hand stopping to allow an intermediate time to be noted. By again pressing the pusher, the split-seconds hand will instantly catch up to the main chronograph hand, ready again to record a new intermediate time. Integrated onto the bridge at 3 o’clock, a 30- minute counter completes the chronograph functions.
Fans of horology are sure to appreciate the visible column wheel for the split-seconds function at 4 o’clock, positioned just below the 30-minute counter. The observer can even watch it in operation when the split-seconds function is activated. A second column wheel on the back of the movement controls the chronograph.
Whereas the majority of chronographs operate in the sequence push-to-start, push-to-stop, and push-to-reset, Angelus’ U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante is first of all a “fly-back” chronograph, which means that the timing operation can be directly reset and restart without having to be stopped first. The fly-back function is very useful as it allows instant restarting of the chronograph with one push of the button instead of the three pushes necessary for standard chronographs. The fly-back function is especially complicated to achieve when combined with the split-seconds complication as the fly-back mechanism has not only one, but two, central chronograph hands to reset and restart. In addition, the forces generated on the split- seconds mechanism during the instantaneous reset and restart are significant. Therefore, all of the different chronograph functions have to be painstakingly set and optimized by the master watchmaker during assembly in order to guarantee smooth operation of all functions.
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