Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

The Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon wants you to forget about microscopic texts discreetly saying "tourbillon" on solid watch dials. With an "ultra-skeletonized" movement, the Angelus U20 puts everything on show, practicing levels of transparency scarcely experienced in the Swiss watch industry. A flying tourbillon, bridges in blue, and everything else you'd possibly want to see: it's all laid out in front of you. All it takes is a fair bit of engineering, a sprinkle of blue titanium, and some massive pieces of sapphire crystal.

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

You may remember the Angelus U10 (hands-on here): it was the first watch from this new-old brand – one of many recently revived companies that have taken a very, ahem, new direction from where they originally left off. While Angelus went bust in the 1970s during the trying times of the quartz crisis, it was revived in 2011 by Swiss movement manufacturer La Joux-Perret – who also produces Arnold & Son and whose Sebasiten Chaulmontet has been a long-time Angelus collector.

Bumpy history aside, Angelus is back, taking a deep breath as it dedicates its efforts to harnessing the engineering and design powers of La Joux-Perret, rather than to work as an accurate tribute to the historical Angelus, the famed chronograph manufacturer that was originally established in 1891. As such, the Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon is unapologetically modern both in its design and use of materials.

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

While it may not be entirely obvious upon first sight, the coolest feature of the Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon is its sapphire crystal main plate – that one chunky piece of sapphire that allows for all this amazing see-through-ness. It has been machined and carefully drilled to accommodate the setting points for the bridges and other movement components – which must have been a real pain in the neck because, while sapphire is really stable and super hard once it's been cut, it is extremely fragile and prone to cracking when molested with machinery.

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

Angelus goes out of its way to emphasize the haute horlogerie quality levels of the movement, highlighting extensive hand-finishing efforts on its blued titanium bridges and steel components. We will be sure to check on all these claims when we bring you a hands-on look at this new piece from BaselWorld 2016 – I am sure the sapphire plates and blue titanium bridges will be a joy to photograph.

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

The set of blued titanium bridges that seem to be floating in the middle of nowhere hold the mainspring barrel, the keyless works for the crown, as well as some parts of the going train. Seemingly nothing secures an essential part of the movement though: the one-minute tourbillon is of the "flying" sort, meaning that there actually is nothing above it (on the dial side) to fix it to the movement, and even from underneath, it appears to be almost invisibly attached to the sapphire plane of the main plate.

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

The tourbillon cage is in steel, an unusual choice because of its considerable weight (not a preferable attribute for a tourbillon that generally has to be as light as possible), and also given all the titanium used for the Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon's movement and case. It is true, though, that the cage has been excessively skeletonized and hand-finished with hand-chamfered edges and hand-polished surfaces all around.

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

The Angelus A-250 caliber runs at 3 Hertz, or 21,600 vibrations per hour, for an impressive 90 hours after it's been fully wound by hand. It is 32.60 millimeters wide and only 5.78 millimeters thick, and is fitted into a 42-millimeter-wide case that is a blend of carbon fiber and titanium, with two more substantially sized pieces of sapphire crystals to encapsulate it from the front and back. This piece of crystal on the front has been shaped to also serve as the bezel of the case – an eye-pleasing, but nerve-wracking design decision, as it provides excellent opportunities to see the movement from fascinating new angles, but also to shatter the front by accidentally banging it on something.

Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

The U10 from last year had a bold, rectangular case design that had its own special way of exposing the tourbillon. The Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon scales back on case aesthetics but ups its game on skeletonization and movement construction – serving as a cool and indeed very welcome continuation of this old-new brand. With all that said... I still do wish that Angelus also surprised us with some beautiful re-releases of its iconic chronographs from the 40s and 50s. Price for the Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon is $71,950angelus-watches.com

What do you think?
  • I love it! (4)
  • I want it! (2)
  • Thumbs up (0)
  • Classy (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • iamcalledryan

    Gosh that’s handsome! It’s an exercise in giving centre stage to the tourbillon movement. It celebrates the individual complexity of the escapement, and the collective simplicity of the overall movement.

    Love how the screws affix the bridges to an invisible plate!

  • Rob

    It looks good in the renders because of the neutral background but like with all skeleton watches on your wrist the background becomes your arm hair.

    • iamcalledryan

      Agreed, this will not please the anti-arm-hair crew. I would love to see this in a larger pocket watch…

    • Pierre Savard

      Agreed… I think this watch is really beautiful but my arm hair would ruin everything.

  • Shirley Furby

    Marvelous!

  • DanW94

    Nicely done. The floating movement and three dimensional effect provided by the see-through plate is really cool. I love the tie fighter style balance wheel also.

    • iamcalledryan

      I expect the JLC one might win in a dog-fight though?

      • DanW94

        I think you’re right, but I think that wild De Bethune balance (kind of looks like spider legs) easily takes both of them out…

        • iamcalledryan

          Yes and they have the mirror-disk balance wheel to deflect lasers, so I agree, they win. But can they penetrate the shield of the MB&F HM6?

          • DanW94

            LOL….Didn’t even think of that one. It’s the ultimate tourbillon defense system. I think the De Bethune Dream Watch 5 spaceship with the meteorite case is your best bet to bust that shield….

  • So beautiful. But in the renders the hands seem to get lost. Sure hope it is easier to read in person. I’m looking forward to seeing this one in person soon. I hear ya David about the top crystal extending to the full case width. But I’m sure the danger is much worse with an all sapphire Richard Mille or Hublot.

    • IanE

      In the latter two cases I am inclined to say that I support such mercy-killing!

  • awildermode

    That is damn sexy.

  • srs144

    Gorgeous watch, heard it will be more expensive than their other tourbillon which runs about $110,000. So they are smart to not list the price here — look at the comments, they are focused on the beauty of the watch and not the absurdity of the price.

    • iamcalledryan

      As with fine art, I can let the potential owners consider the price – I am here for the beauty!

      • srs144

        I agree! I am here to ogle at beautiful things I cannot afford — saving the high res JPEG is free! (and I do have quite the collection)

  • Regardless that you like or dislike this watch, I realy don’t think that a watchfreak will put the money on the table for it, instead he will buy a Patek or other respected brand. So I think Angelus should consider going back to the drawing table and design us something out of their heritage, or in a short time they will be history again.

    • Sebastien is also the movement designer for Arnold and Son, so he already represents a “respected brand” in my eyes.

    • Sevenmack

      Disagree. As Mark has noted, the movement designer is the one responsible for Arnold & Son’s Pyramids of Time watch. Just as importantly, there is plenty of space for watches that break with heritage, especially since the brand itself has been dead for quite a while, and thus, few people actually remember that it had one or experienced it.

      I think more than a few people will put down the coin for this watch. It won’t be the Patek buyer. But then, the Patek buyer wasn’t likely buying a skeleton in the first place.

    • Timestandsstill

      I don’t think they will have too much trouble selling the scant 18 of these they (apparently) plan to make

    • I’ll be convinced when i see the order books 🙂 , 18 pc is hardly economical a success btw.

  • Richard Baptist

    Beautiful watch, ironically my first thought was the Arnold and Son Time pyramid then as I read on it said La Joux Perret creates Arnold and Son’s movements. Of course it’s beautiful and hideously expensive (does the Swiss Watch Industry realize current market conditions?), but to repeat what the author said. When are they going to reissue some of Angelus’s classic designs at a more affordable price?

  • Marius

    I don’t understand the fetish of these newly revived brands to immediately release complicated and very expensive watches. Is Angelus aware of the fact that the watch market is full with high-end brands that are much more prestigious and actually have a track record? What’s more, Angelus decided to impress the audience with a watch that is not only very similar to the Arnold&Son Pyramid, but that uses the same A&S movement as well.

    Collector GaryG from Quill&Pad recently wrote an interesting article arguing that in these economic times, even high end collectors want to consolidate, so they either buy watches from prestigious brands such as Patek, Lange, etc, or from established independents such as MB&F, Urwerk, DeBethune, etc. I doubt that Angelus will be a priority for them. In my opinion, Angelus should start from the bottom and earn its respect.

    • iamcalledryan

      Yes it’s the exact same movement except for the fact that this one is a tourbillon.

      ..and has a single barrel…

      …and no power reserve indicator(s)…

      ..and mounts it’s bridges on crystal plates…

      …and doesn’t have sub seconds…

      …and is not set out in the pyramid shape of the time pyramid…

      …apart from that it’s identical 😉

    • If it’s similar (in your mind) to the Arnold & Son Time Pyrmaid, consider that the same person (Sebastien) designed both.

  • SuperStrapper

    Unimpressive overall. I hope the future owner(s) of this watch can just wear the marketing images, because this looks like it would just be a collection of fingerprints and wrist smears after about 5 minutes of wearing it.

    • 200 Fathoms

      Really? Not a single impressive aspect?

      • SuperStrapper

        Meh. I’m well documented as not being a fan of or overly impressed by skeleton watches, so aesthetically there is (literally) not much here for me. The shade of blue achieved in the Ti elements looks nice, but these are basically glorified cartoons, so who knows how it will translate in real life? There is nothing here to write home about mechanically either. Sure, it has a tourbillion, but are those a feat anymore? Other than that we have a low-beat time-only movement – yay? I’d argue that the most noteworthy feat of engineering here is in the sapphires, but despite those challenges that were apparently overcome, I could think of 5 other brands that do much more impressive sapphire work, and so in comparison I would have run out of gold stars before I got to this offering.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    All that money and you cant even tell the bloody time ! Style over functionality.

  • GalaxyGuy

    I wonder if this watch will suffer the same fate as the Time Pyramid that others mention below. I spoke to an Arnold and Son AD recently and he told me that many of his customers don’t like the Time Pyramid because they can see their own hairy arms through the watch!

    Beautiful watch that Angelus has put together, though. I just love the way the movement floats there in the middle of the case.

    • iamcalledryan

      Might explain why they developed versions with a solid back. I do wonder what this one might look like with an averturine plate or a beautiful enamel painting of some arm hair.

      • Yeah, I was about to suggest getting a tattoo on one’s wrist (of whatever) and having the hair just beneath where the watch is removed.

    • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

      If I ever get a Time Pyramid, I will be more then happy to shave my arm or any other part of my body 😉

  • spiceballs

    Very pretty but that (apparently?) charcoal carbon fibre back detracts, IMO.

  • funNactive

    Nice design – best skeleton I’ve seen. With all the blank space, what do watch manufacturers do to fill the movement?

  • benjameshodges

    Incredible engineering feat. I would stare at this movement all day. Great watch to explain how a watch works.

  • Spangles

    Nice in theory, but on the wrist you’ll be looking at your skin and arm hairs through the watch. Not attractive.

  • Mike Burdine

    Very nice. I love skeletons and this is one of the prettiest I’ve seen.

  • Sevenmack

    This is a fascinating skeleton. Like the Corum Golden Bridge, it plays with the concept of space, with an entire movement in the center of a wide expanse of what would otherwise be dial and rotor. One could argue that the hands could be better done; make them another color (purple or burgundy) in order to stand out. But otherwise, this is well-done.

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