When the first Chinese tourbillons came out in 2007 there was a collective gasp in the watch community. For the first time ever, one could, at an accessible price, buy and own a tourbillon without the huge price tag of a Swiss one.
Tourbillon fever ran rampant among the watch community and the forums were instantly set alight. I remember those murky days well when I trawled through the internet looking for scraps of information. What did these tourbillons look like? Were they good? How much? And most importantly, how could I buy them?
Tourbillon fever ran its course for me quite quickly. Early designs were ugly derivatives of Swiss designs, and prices, though much lower than a Swiss one, were still high, coming in at multiple thousands in USD. At that price, it was not on the cards to risk the money on an unknown quantity when the same amount could buy me a decent Rolex that I could get serviced or resold very easily.
It is now February 2013, and I have in my hands, a Chinese tourbillon bought at the amazingly eye popping price of 399 GBP from Amazon UK.
Why do I have this watch?
My recent entry into watch blogging came to the attention of a long-lost friend who contacted me to tell me that he had just bought a tourbillon watch from Amazon. Now, this friend does not know much about watches, and often defers to me for advice. So, when he told me that he had paid 399 GBP, I instantly assumed that he had overpaid for one of those faux tourbillons, i.e the open heart.
He brought it along to meet me so that I could have a look at it. I checked the open window at 6 o'clock and sure enough, the escape wheel and pinion was circling around the balance wheel. I checked the invoice also and sure enough, I saw only three figures in the price, instead of the usual five or six normally associated with a tourbillon.
So this was the real deal. Not an open heart, but a true blue and plainly authentic tourbillon. How was this possible?
The watch in question was the AATOS TiagoLSB, a watch from a brand that doubtless many have not heard of. A quick Google search turns up a bunch of online retailers, but no official brand website or company address.
So what do you get for your money?