Angus Davies finds the design language of the Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon replica watch both fascinating, with its numerous components freely shown, and wonderfully honest.I am somewhat nervous when my children ‘take things at face value’. The naivety they occasionally show when believing something to be wholly true, leads me to proffer words of caution. With maturity a more circumspect appraisal becomes second nature.
My point is that beneath the epidermis of an object, its virtue, or lack thereof, can only be discerned with close, discriminating examination. For example, the dial of a watch replica may appear very attractive, but the execution of its movement, hidden behind a solid caseback, may not share the same exacting standards.
When politicians manipulate semantics to deceive the electorate, they refer to it as ‘spin’ rather than ‘half-truths’, feeling it is professionally acceptable. Indeed, it is hardly surprising that older voters become increasingly cynical based on their past experiences.
No psychological analysis required
Angelus has released a new timepiece, the U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon which will be shown to the general public at Baselworld 2016 for the first time. Recently, I braved the wintry weather in La Chaux-de-Fonds to see the Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton watch replica first hand.
Most skeletonised timepieces necessitate the skills of a competent watchmaker to modify an existing movement, removing extraneous material without compromising the structural integrity of the watch. This is similar to the approach taken by some car companies who modify an existing hatchback and make it into a convertible. However, the Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon was intended from the outset to be open-worked, similar to the clean-sheet design of an open-top supercar, it is suffused with a high degree of torsional stiffness which confers impressive, high performance, free of any flexing.
Unusually, the U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon does not require psychological analysis to understand its true motives, everything is freely declared with a welcome honesty.
Harnessing natural light
In 2015, Angelus returned to watchmaking after a 30 year absence. The inaugural model launched under the stewardship of the new owners, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière, brims with modernity. As the nomen suggests the design of the watch replica cleverly harnesses natural light, flooding the dial with gleaming brilliance.
Sapphire crystal is incredibly hard, but drilling the material is fraught with risk as it can sometimes result in cracking. Clearly, Angelus has overcome this technical challenge to provide a transparent chassis to which other parts are affixed.
Distinctive twin-arm, open-worked blued titanium bridges are employed to reveal more of the movements numerous naked components. Bluing titanium necessitates using far higher temperatures than those used for steel and presents greater challenges, but again, Angelus has shown its technical prowess by mastering the material.
This watch replica does not incorporate a myriad of functions, it merely displays the hours and minutes with rhodium plated hands. However, the raison d’etre for the creation of the U20 is the open disclosure of each part. There are no hiding place for substandard finishing, hence Angelus has ensured each part is beautifully concluded with finissage commensurate with haute horlogerie.
Hand chamfering and hand-polishing abound, affirming that, despite the contemporary character of the watch, fine Swiss craftsmanship has not been sacrificed. Indeed, the movement even employs gold chatons, a detail which will no doubt find favour with purists.
The spring barrel eschews a barrel cover, revealing the mainspring in its prevailing state of tension. There is a notable airiness to the movement. Superfluous material is absent, but strength and rigidity are retained, ensuring reliable and accurate operation.
Each wheel employs three double-spoke arms, according strength but mitigating mass.
At 6 o’clock, a one-minute flying tourbillon resides. Unlike a conventional tourbillon, the term ‘flying’ means there is an absence of an upper bridge, again heightening the sense of lightness to the appearance of the movement.
The variable inertia balance features four gold poising weights, positioned in-board on the balance wheel spokes. This approach mitigates turbulence and, in so doing, heightens precision.
The Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon cleverly combines different materials and shades to imbue its appearance with much visual interest. The caseband is formed of NPT carbon-fibre and is paired with monobloc titanium lugs which feature mirror-polished beveled edges. The blue titanium bridges, matching the dial flange and steel parts co-exist in cohesive union.
The design language employed implores the observer to examine each element of the U-20’s composition. It cleverly plays with depths, colours and three dimensionality. The box glass sapphire crystal accords lateral views of the dial and movement. The use of an optically flawless sapphire crystal mainplate provides the means to see everything at work.
This watch replica exhibits a truthfulness with a welcome absence of sleight of hand. There is no hidden agenda, every matchlessly appointed part is pristinely presented and harmoniously incorporated. This is a timepiece which places all of its many virtues within sight of the fortunate wearer.
- Model: Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon
- Reference: 0TCAB.U01A.C004T
- Case: NPT carbon-fibre; diameter 42.00mm; height 10.30mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystals to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central dead-beat seconds; one-minute flying tourbillon
- Movement: Calibre A-250; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); power reserve 90 hours
- Strap: Stealth black alligator leather strap with titanium insert supplied with a titanium pin buckle.
- Price: Price on Application
- Limited Edition: 18 pieces
The new fake Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon watch continues in a similar vain, employing sapphire crystals to augment the visibility of each constituent part of the watch. However, where this watch replica effervesces with ingenuity is by employing a movement mainplate formed of sapphire crystal.