Ironically enough I was just thinking about BLU, and what ever happened to it? The cool high-end brand did some neat stuff with dials, but I haven't heard anything about them in at least a year or two. Well now I know. BLU's Bernhard Lederer is (BLU = Bernhard Lederer Universe) is on to other projects, and this is it - The Gagarin Tourbillon.
To remind you, I last wrote about BLU here (about two years ago). Anyhow, on to The Gagarin Tourbillon. Yes, this watch is an homage to Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. He was blasted into orbit via the Russian Vostok-1 rocket (Vostok is also the name of a watch brand but little coincidence!), and then orbited around a bit before coming back down. The Gagarin Tourbillon tries to memorialize this with a tourbillon that acts as a satellite around the dial of the watch. It travels over city names and places like the original satellite did. The tourbillon is a one minute tourbillon, and it revolves around the dial once each 108 minutes. Why 108 minutes? Because I think that is how long he was up there.
The watch dial is meant to look more like a navigational instrument. In fact, this watch is less a watch and more a testament to Yuri's trip. The manually wound movement was entirely developed by Bernhard Lederer in Switzerland, though this is a piece meant to appeal mostly to the Russian market. Around the tourbillon cage is spelled VOSTOK, and the swoopy bridge is influenced by a memorial statue in Russia. The movement has 264 parts and has the time and tourbillon. It has three mainspring barrels and 80 hours of power reserve. Through the back of the watch you can see the rotating of the satellite as it moves.
When looking at the watch the most noteworthy element is the large monocle style magnifying glass on the case. The loupe style magnifier raises and lowers and is used to look more closely at the tourbillon. I am not sure if it is totally necessary, but it is fun. It also makes you wonder "what is going on here" when you notice the watch for the first time.
Do yourself a favor and check out the video to understand the watch in action. Words alone aren't enough to explain Mr. Gagarin the timepiece. The case is in all 950 platinum - you know just like the satellite, not. Come on, we are talking about luxury here people. The case is 42mm wide by 15mm thick. With the magnifying glass the watch is about 46.5mm wide, and the sapphire crystal is highly domed. It is all attached to a black alligator strap with a platinum buckle. Not sure about price but it won't be cheap. Further, The Gagarin Tourbillon watch will be part of a limited edition of 50 pieces.