September 9, 2012
by Ariel Adams
The second watch from newer high-end brand Antoine Martin is the Tourbillon Quantieme Perpetual. It basically takes everything you (may) have liked about the Perpetual Calendar from last year and includes a tourbillon. The new layout of the dial also suggested a regulator style display of time. What is cool about the Tourbillon Quantieme Perpetual? Well it isn’t boring, the movement is really complicated and made by Martin Braun, and it is has a super-sized flying tourbillon. Horogasm! I talked about it first here on Centurion.
I covered the Antoine Martin Perpetual Calendar watch in detail here. You can see that the Tourbillon Quantieme Perpetual uses the same large 46mm wide case – which of course implies that the same basic aesthetic theme is used in this even more high-end piece. While the Perpetual Calendar opts for relative symmetry and expansive free space on the dial, the Tourbillon Quantieme Perpetual is about packing as many large elements on the dial as possible. Actually, rarely do you ever see so little space dedicated to the perpetual calendar displays. Gotta love how it is packed in there so neatly.
Let’s step back a bit and revisit the overall concept of the watch and the brand thus far. Martin Braun is a movement designer and exists among a select group of elite thinkers who are really doing cool things mechanically but in a way that has the movements actually working. The Antoine Martin brand could have easily been classical in theme but eschewed that in favor of a more masculine concept. With nicely made movements and a bold concept that doesn’t come across as trendy or temporary, I think the look and feel of the brand certainly has a place in the high-end world.
Note that the watches you are seeing here are prototypes. An obvious way to see this is via the unfinished casebacks of the watches. There you’ll see a power reserve indicator – and nothing else for the time being. While I like these watches, they do suck to photograph – seriously. Too many shiny parts at different levels. What I am trying to say is that they look better in person than in these candid photos. The cases are in 18k white or rose gold – with either light or dark dials. Perhaps in the next year or two there will be some titanium and more “sporty” models available.
The focus in each of these watches is the tourbillon. Martin Braun has always favored large balance wheels, and now he is doing the same with a really large tourbillon balance wheel – which is 14.1mm wide. Still, it is very light at just 0.62 grams. That is almost nothing for all 65 parts. While the balance spring is not in silicium, other parts are. This includes the pallet lever, escape wheel, and impulse pin. These elements in silicium (silicon) will help the calibre 39.002 movement be more accurate and durable over time. The movement is manually wound and has a power reserve of six days.
At the very top of the dial on the Tourbillon Quantieme Perpetual you will see windows for the day and month and, sandwiched between them is a leap year indicator. Antoine Martin uses a retrograde hand for the date. The main hand on the dial is used to display the minutes, while a subsidiary dial at about 9 o’clock is used for the hours. The spinning tourbillon doubles as the seconds indicator. The design of the watch has the sapphire crystal really close to the tourbillon offering a really nice view of the complication in action. While the design of this watch may be beguiling, it is true haute horlogerie and a really interesting timepiece overall. A nice step forward for the new brand with their first tourbillon.