Two Major Challenges of Concord C1 Tourbillon Gravity Watch

The ambassador of a new generation of watches, the C1 Tourbillon Gravity thrusts Concord watches into the era of innovation and a firmly futuristic approach. This horological instrument marks a new milestone in its journey to the heart of technology and engineering.

While techniques and the mastery of time have been the object of particularly sophisticated research and development, aesthetics and the mastery of space have also been taken into consideration. The sturdiness, originality and overall equilibrium characterizing the construction of the C1 Tourbillon Gravity testify to the talent of the creative minds behind it.

Developed in close cooperation with BNB Concept, this timepiece was conceived, elaborated and assembled in twelve months. Concord CEO Vincent Perriard salutes the dynamism and the hard work of this company specializing in complicated watchmaking: “The BNB Concept teams showed genuine enthusiasm for our brand and our positioning. We are propelled by the same audacity, the same strong convictions and the same drive, all of which enable us to produce an innovative and iconoclastic form of watchmaking. At Concord, we avoid prevarication and hesitation, preferring instead to operate by instinct and to seek efficiency first and foremost. We saw this same fiery spirit at BNB”.

The result is a provocative watch built around a complex mechanism expressing an inventive spirit inspired by a whole new watchmaking approach. The design, created by Blade Design, portrays the engineering of the timepiece in an unexpected, daring and cutting-edge stage-setting.

The tourbillon’s great escape
The first challenge was to create a tourbillon watch, but without placing the tourbillon inside the watch…

An unusual and insolent construction puts the tourbillon alongside the body of the watch, making it look independent, as if released from the mechanism. Thus housed in a manner external to both the dial and the case, it frees up the space inside the watch, enabling the designer to enjoy full and unrestrained expression.

The tourbillon is fitted outside the movement and case, but connected to the rest of the mechanism by a perpendicular pinion. The gearing device requires extremely meticulous adjustment: the slightest misalignment between the carriage and case, or the tiniest flaw in regulating the depth of the pinion, would be detrimental to the performance of the mechanism. The visual result is truly spectacular: the tourbillon carriage, housed in a crankcase laterally screwed to the case, plays a dissident role and proclaims its nonconformist attitude. This technical feat also serves a practical purpose, in that it gives watchmakers more space to create other complications “inside” the watch itself…

This construction represents a nod to one of the finest horological inventions, patented in 1801. At that time, pocket-watches that were almost always placed in a vertical position were subject to disturbances in the balance isochronism due to the effects of gravity. The conception of a mobile carriage spinning on its axis and housing the heart of the movement – the balance, balance-spring and escapement – significantly enhanced the precision of such timepieces: by means of this ingenious device, the regulating organ successively moves through all the various positions, thereby enabling mutual compensation of the variations in rate.

Over two centuries later, Concord offers its own take on history by building its tourbillon according to an orthogonal mechanical concept. The vertical device is immediately visible on the wrist, radiating an authoritative and almost martial stature. Like an independent element besieging the watch, it asserts its presence and looks all set to conquer the case.

The upper and lower bridges of the tourbillon carriage, as indeed most of the movement bridges, are made from aluminum-lithium, an exceptional high-tech material that has proved its worth in the aerospace industry. This high-performance alloy is composed of aluminum, one of the most abundant elements on earth, and of lithium, an alkaline metal with a density half that of water. Remarkable in terms of its resistance, aluminum-lithium also displays exceptional longevity. Anti-corrosive and anti-magnetic, it features the best possible compromise between sturdiness and lightness. Nonetheless, partly because it is so hard to machine and so expensive, it is still rarely used in watchmaking despite its impressive qualities.

The “eccentricity” of the small seconds
The second challenge is a rebellious seconds display that goes its own way…

The small seconds of the C1 Tourbillon Gravity asserts its independence with the same force of character as the tourbillon. Its mechanism breaks out of the dial and its display transposes time into whole new dimension.

A slender black aluminum strip engraved with the seconds numerals is fixed to the lower bridge of the tourbillon, and thus fully interdependent with the carriage which spins on its axis once a minute. The luminescent seconds appear through an open window on the side of the tourbillon carriage, and since the latter is vertical, are perfectly visible on the face of the watch. This completely innovative mechanism is entirely in line with the already surprising small seconds display on the C1 Chronograph.