Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On

One of the new releases from Swiss Manufacture Royale is the 1770 Micromegas collection which is the first ever (that I know of) dual tourbillon watch where the tourbillons spin at different rates. The dial offers the time and a display for the two tourbillons that sit side by side over 6 o'clock. One spins at a relatively rapid pace, making a full rotation each 6 seconds, and the other tourbillon is more traditional in its rate, making a full rotation each 60 seconds.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Visually, the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas is very interesting as well as unique. The brand's signature "odd" design ethos is getting a bit more mainstream, but I like that they are still doing things differently. I've always sort of placed them in the same aesthetic category as Louis Moinet, but I do feel that the finishing and quality of Manufacture Royale is a lot better - and they also reportedly happen to produce in-house movements, which is a big plus for collectors.

"Micromegas" literally means "small large" and comes from the name of a short story written by Voltaire in 1752. Voltaire was a French philosopher, but he was also an aspiring businessman and actually started a watch company in Ferney, France meant to compete with the watchmaker in Geneva. It was in 1770 when Voltaire's first watch was produced and he died in 1778, while the company survived for a few years after his death.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The entire Manufacture Royale brand of today is actually inspired by Voltaire's watch aspirations from the 18th century. There is a fascinating article on this here on Watch Around. Anyhow, while the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas watch doesn't directly have anything to do with the story (aside from the loose connection of the slower and faster tourbillons being the "micromegas" elements), the story is an interesting early form of science fiction that of course blends in a lot of political and social philosophy.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Getting back to these new-for-2015 watches, there is a lot to like for the enterprising and well-funded watch collector. Initially, the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas watches will come in three variants, being either in a fully titanium case, titanium and 18k rose gold case, or a full 18k rose gold case - with different colored dials. For the truly courageous watch lover, I highly suggest the orange-dialed Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas watch in titanium and 18k rose gold case with the matching orange-colored alligator strap.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On

At 45mm wide and 11.8mm thick, the timepiece's case is not simple, but is much more traditional compared to most other Manufacture Royale watches. The bezel does remind me a bit of those from De Witt - which is not a bad thing. Even though tough the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas dial is original, it feels simple compared to the larger theme of the watch, but it is growing on me. The design of the open window for tourbillon-style regulators is also interesting and perhaps one of my favorite elements.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Yes, it is true that from a performance perspective, the tourbillons do not add anything to the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas' accuracy or dependability. Most serious watch lovers know this, and it is a testament to the brand that they don't try to pass the tourbillons off as anything more than a fascinating exercise in horological art - which they certainly are.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Inside the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas watch is the Manufacture Royale caliber MR04 automatic movement which has 80 hours of power reserve operating at 3Hz (21,600). The regulators use silicon escapement wheels and pallet forks, while, as I said earlier, one tourbillon spins each six seconds while the other spins each 60 seconds. Aside from the dual tourbillons, the movement indicates only the time with those cool looking blued titanium hands.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The all-18k rose gold Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas watch has a white inner dial, while the two-tone gold and titanium has an orange dial, and the all-titanium model has a blue inner dial. According to Manufacture Royal, this colored inner section is in titanium (with a "rubber-effect lacquer") but is also applied with SuperLumiNova. That means darkness viewing, but given that the hands themselves are not lumed, I would have to personally see this watch in the dark to fully appreciate its "night-viewing capabilities."

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Watches Hands-On Hands-On

While these timepieces aren't cheap, they are unique, and that is, I suppose, what you are paying for when it comes to exclusive toys of this nature. Check out the video above if you haven't already to see what two tourbillons running at different rates looks like. Prices for the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas watches are $151,000 in titanium, $163,000 in titanium and 18k rose gold, and $181,500 in all 18k rose gold. manufacture-royale.com

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  • mrbst

    wow the black one is really nice. Better than the Roger Dubuis double tourbillon 🙂

  • Generally I can rock an orange watch. But this one does not work for me with the gold bezel and the different orange strap. The other dial colors are much more appealing to me. The ends of the lugs look a bit “pointy” and makes me wonder if they will snag on things. 
    The back is very cool looking. It looks like a manual wind watch with a rotor (since the reversing gears/winding mechanism appears to be hidden under the main plate). 
    Overall I give it a thumbs up. But those hands – my god – they look like they melted like a chocolate bar left on the dash of a car on a summer day. And they are completely flat whereas I think some beveling might improve their looks. 
    The 6 second tourbillon seems nervous and jumpy. Maybe a little slower (12, 15 or 20 seconds) might look better while still displaying the intentionally different speed thing. Thanks for the review (how did I miss this at BW 2015?)

  • DG Cayse

    Even in “the best of all possible worlds” the bent cotter pin look for watch hands doesn’t work.

  • BrJean

    Blue necktie will be a great match for this watch hands.

  • Grinnie Jax

    Don’t like it at all regarding both tasteless colour combination and awkward geometry.

  • I_G

    The designer of this watch must be on mushrooms…

  • phsjacob

    It seems that people who wear watches for fashion purposes(rather than to know what time it is) have recently taken to wearing mechanicals. The common feature among these watches is that the movement is always exposed in some way to show off the intricate motion of the movement. It seems quite tasteless, and this is similar, even if it is much more expensive.
    At least it has SuperLuminova, though

  • I like it. It has a boldness to it that I enjoy. A 6-second tourbillon would be impressive to observe I’m sure.
    The case styling immediately brought DeWitt to mind.

  • DanW94

    The muted orange dial and brighter orange strap against the rose gold case does not work. It makes the watch look a bit cheap. I don’t like the rose gold case in any configuration. The titanium case with with the blue dial is really nice, it’s subtle and sophisticated and plays off nicely with the gold and purple in the movement.   I like the color of the hands but not the cartoonish cutout style.   (Oh crap, did I just go on a color coordination rant? kill me now…)

  • Sevenmack

    phsjacob And what’s wrong with skeletonizing and open hearts? The beauty of the gears and escapements (especially as they move during timekeeping) is the only advantage mechanicals have over more-accurate quartz watches. Exposing the movement, either through exhibition casebacks, open hearts, or skeletons, takes full advantage of that beauty. I wish more watchmakers would offer skeletonized versions of their watches.

    As for the Micromegas? I’d rock it. Gorgeous watch. Bold as anything on your wrist should be. If you’re going to pay that kind of money, it better stand out.

  • phsjacob

    Sevenmack phsjacob I agree that they are very beautiful, but I think it’s silly that watchmakers are focusing so much on super-complicated mechanical watches when superior technology is available. If there were no such things as solar-powered quartz and autoquartz, I would only wear automatic and handwinding watches. But the technology exists that combines the accuracy of quartz and the low maintenance(no battery change) of mechanicals, and it seems wasteful to produce these super-expensive pieces that are more like art than tools.

  • nateb123

    TAG Mikrotourbillon has 2 tourbillons that turn at different rates.  Technically, every double toubillon involves different rate regulators, since the point is to average the other’s rate error out.

  • Ulysses31

    The six-second tourbillon does indeed judder – two pulses of movement followed by a short delay, a bit like a heart beat.  Some might actually prefer that to a smooth motion.  It’s a nice idea.  The view from the back is sophisticated, architectural in appearance.  It is reminiscent of something by Leonardo DaVinci, the master designer.  The front is more reminiscent of Michaelangelo – the ninja turtle.

  • bichondaddy

    SuperStrapper
    I also like the bold design of this watch!!! It’s not something you see every day….and while some may see that as a bad thing….I kind of like the fact that not everyone would be wearing it! 
    And dang…if I wouldn’t have tipped the pizza boy the $163 grand I had in my pocket last night…I would have ordered one!!! LOL

  • spiceballs

    DanW94  your wife must love you  – – –

  • spiceballs

    I find the “front” side oddly alluring and “back” side attractive so for me, well done.

  • DanW94

    spiceballs DanW94
    For reasons I can’t quite figure out, I believe she does……It’s funny, we can tell when a watch doesn’t quite look right, but when the word “decor” is mentioned we just glaze over…..lol

  • Sevenmack

    phsjacob Ah, understood. I agree that watchmakers are not being innovative when it comes to maximizing the design and technology potential of quartz. Save for Citizen with Eco-Drive and Bulova with Precisionist, almost no one is taking those opportunities. As much as I enjoy mechanicals, my Precisionist Wilton has reminded me that quartz has a lot to offer when it comes to horological innovation. Still enjoy those skeletons.

  • egznyc

    Not sure I like the upside-down open-mouth look of the dial, which appears to be ready to chomp down on the two tourbillons. Definitely a cool idea and it would be fun to count out precisely ten rotations of one tourbillon for every turn of the other. And to think that the gold cased one is only about 20% more than the all-titanium one ….

  • JubJub

    It’s a shame that such a phenomenal movement is housed in such a hideous case and behind such an awful dial.

  • SuperStrapper The case styling immediately brought DeWALT to mind.

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