I know this because when I had a chance to peer into the movement of the Hublot Classic Fusion Skeleton Tourbillon with a loupe, I tried to find an imperfection within it, but gave up because there was none. Very quickly, my attention turned to looking at the minute details of the finishing, and I can say, that the experience was a memorable delight. It is obvious that in a high end Swiss made watch, these are the places where your money goes, sometimes making up 40% of the watch price.
And if you’ve only been used to the high levels of finishing in a Swiss made tourbillon where all the surfaces are polished, where even the grain of the metal is all in one direction, where edges are chamfered and where everything looks just right, then come take a look at the interior of a cheap Chinese watch and prepare to be shocked. It’s like going from a medical surgery room to a toilet. This watch was obviously built to a price, and the low quality finishing reflects this fact.
Therefore, if your purpose of buying this watch is to stare at the tourbillon under a loupe, this watch will do it for you, but be prepared to be put off slightly by the low quality finish especially if you have done the same thing before with a Swiss made tourbillon.
The difference will be evident, but again, that is to be expected, and for the pleasure of having a tourbillon at this price, such things can be forgiven.
Take away your 30x loupe and see the watch on your wrist as it was meant to be seen, and you will be rewarded by the sight of the rotating tourbillon beating away. Consider how just a few years ago this idea was a dream to most people but the very wealthy. Now consider the reality of what is possible. It is literally night and day.
Now, it is weird seeing this tourbillon on my wrist, and with it on, I am unexpectedly driven to ponder its nature and its role in being the most exclusive complication in watch-making. I mean, what is a tourbillon exactly? Take away the unverified claims of increasing accuracy by cancelling out gravity and what do you have?
Just a dancing complication that is pretty to look at.
Truth be told, I got bored with this watch after only a few hours. Perhaps I am more easily prone to boredom as a watch blogger having access to many watches, but why was the dream not feeling as special as I thought it would?
Perhaps it is because human beings are social animals, and the acquisition of rare objects by high status individuals in a society naturally causes the masses to covet the same objects. No doubt the intrinsic value of a tourbillon is there, given the assembly precision and skills required to make it, as well as the historical links to Abraham-Louis Breguet, which is a nice bit of history to give credibility to its importance.
Still, I am starting to think that with the tourbillon now plainly accessible to everyone, the hunger has less of a foothold in the collective frenzy of watch lust. Now I am forced to admit that my dream, and indeed the dreams of many watch lovers of owning this complication, came mostly from its unattainable high price and less from the intrinsic nature of the complication. Obviously, we crave that which we cannot have.
That is the key, and the facade of exclusivity of this once pricey complication has already begun to fade. In my own way, I have started to feel it and the triggering of a minor existential crisis. There is no doubt that as more Chinese tourbillons flood the market, more people will become familiar with them and the novelty factor will dim.
This state of affairs reminds me of when digital cameras were making their first appearance in the 1990’s. Back then, I lusted over a Kodak digital SLR that had a huge digital back grafted onto a standard Nikon camera. I lusted after this because it did not require film to create an image, and that was truly amazing. At $30,000, owning it wasn’t in the realm of possibility but I wanted it and I dreamt about it. I kept on using film grudgingly but had an eye on the developments in digital photography. Now of course digital cameras are everywhere and you even get one free with your mobile phone. Well, it’s safe to say, the lust is gone.
So, what will the next high status differentiator in watches be? And when will the $1000 minute repeater emerge from China? These are questions I am eager to know the answers to.
Still, don’t let my extended gripe-fest cripple your enjoyment of this watch. If you’ve always wanted a tourbillon at a very good price, now is the time. Get this AATOS to satisfy your lust. It’s a small price to pay to know what living with a tourbillon is all about, and from the looks of things, a solidly reliable watch that you can own for some time. It is priced at 399 GBP, from Amazon UK and or 412 USD from Amazon.com.
>Model: Tiago LSB 42mm
>Price: 399 GBP on Amazon UK/ 412 USD on Amazon.com
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes, it’s a tourbillon that is priced to own for the mere mortal.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone who knows a little more than the average person about watches, who might have heard of tourbillons before.
>Best characteristic of watch: Well sized, moderately attractive, cheap, and did I mention that it has a tourbillon?
>Worst characteristic of watch: This is no Swiss watch, so low quality finish and slightly dirty innards is to be expected. Poor strap, just replace it.
PS. Please read this article by Ariel Adams titled “The Eroding Exclusivity of the Tourbillon Watch”, which has similar conclusions.
EDIT: Turns out that AATOS offers an even cheaper tourbillon watch at the unbelievable price of 270 GBP on Amazon UK. It is the AATOS Jakobas at a bigger case size of 44mm and a different design with a solid case-back instead of a display one. 270 GBP !!! Seriously, what is this world coming to?