Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch Watch Releases

Ateliers DeMonaco is the designated haute horlogerie arm of the Frederique Constant group. With a selection of watches ranging from tourbillons to chronographs, it is one of the few brands that can claim to be awarded the prestigious and demanding Geneva Seal – as further discussed in our coverage of the brand's Poinçon de Genéve Saphir watches. Recently, the brand introduced the Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1927 Titane watches – two new variants to an existing line – this time with a sportier touch, thanks to a black titanium case.

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch Watch Releases

Ariel spent some hands-on time with an earlier version of the Tourbillon Oculus, the "Xtreme Precision," and you can learn more details about it in that article. The most immediately apparent change is to the texture of the dial, as the Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 now has a pattern of repeating "lozenges" in relief. The brand says that this was inspired by the coat of arms of Monaco, where there is a shield with a similar pattern in red and white.

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch Watch Releases

The dial is dark grey in color, and you would be forgiven for thinking at first glance that the texture is reminiscent of a faux carbon fiber weave. However, the lack of the carbon fiber sheen and the three-dimensional nature of the relief dispels that notion fairly quickly. The brand says that the dial is prepared using a new technique. A five-axis laser now engraves the dial allowing for a precise, repetitive pattern on such a small scale.

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch Watch Releases

It is a fairly simple dial, with a tourbillon opening at 6:00 and a small dial at the top which indicates the hours and minutes. The one-minute tourbillon has a seconds hand attached to it, though I personally think it would look much better without it. The seconds hand isn't particularly useful to tell the time exactly and only gets in the way of appreciating the tourbillon.

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch Watch Releases

The difference in the two variants launched is in the color of the sub-dial at the top. Ateliers DeMonaco doesn't specify the material but at this price point, I would think that the dials are made of something like rose gold and white gold. Given the monochromatic color scheme of the rest of the watch, I think the white gold version is the better of the two. The hands are dauphine shaped and there are Roman numeral hour markers that are formed by open-working the dial. It is held in place over the grey base dial with the help of two blued screws.

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch Watch Releases

The case for the Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane watches is, as mentioned earlier, made from titanium with a black DLC treatment. At 44mm wide by 13.1mm thick, this is not a small watch, but it should wear fairly comfortably thanks to titanium's lightweight properties. The bezel, case band, and lugs have various finishes – with a good mix of brushing and polishing, all of which is done by hand. The sapphire crystals, both front and back, have double AR coating. Despite its many benefits, it's surprising to see how many high-end watches still don't offer anti-reflective coating (I'm looking at you, Patek).

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch Watch Releases

The real highlight of this watch is the movement, the Tourbillon XP1, which Ariel discusses in his article linked to above. Ateliers DeMonaco dubs this tourbillon the "eXtreme Precision 1 minute" tourbillon (complete with inconsistent use of uppercase letters) and says it offers an accuracy of +/- 2 seconds per day, which is not as common or as easy to achieve with a tourbillon as may be assumed. A neat touch for the tourbillon is the use of a sapphire bridge on the front, which gives the wearer a more unhindered view of the entire assembly.

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch Watch Releases

As expected at this price level, all decoration on the movement is applied by hand. There's oodles of anglage and the 22k gold rotor is hand-engraved with the crown of Monaco. The movement also has a silicon escape wheel and lever, and offers a 42-hour power reserve. I should note at this point, that this is the brand's most affordable tourbillon to date and the focus is more on the accuracy of timekeeping than the overall complexity of design and finish – not that the finish seems compromised in anyway.

Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane Watch Watch Releases

As a boutique brand with low production volumes, new releases are usually few and far between for the brand and there is some degree of customization available to customers, such as having their watches outfitted with precious jewels. The Ateliers DeMonaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297 Titane watches are limited to 88 pieces each and ship with an alligator strap on a titanium deployant for a price of $61,100.

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (5)
  • Interesting (3)
  • Classy (3)
  • I love it! (2)
  • I want it! (2)
  • Pros: despite being a mashup of a Millenary and a Nautilus I find the case to be nicely shaped. The sapphire bridge is very cool and the overall layout is nice.

    Cons: I would much prefer to see both the case and the dial/plate in a lighter metal like steel/rhodium/WG etc. I like what Pim is doing with this brand but I do wonder about the prospect of selling 88 of these at full ask. I haven’t looked at their portfolio but I would like to see closed dial variants of these in steel and will some nice guilloche on the main plate going for $10-15k – micro rotor and PR indicator on the back FtW.

    • I agree, Pim has made some great movements (chronograph and perpetual calendar come to mind), but this is over-reaching and under-inspiring as a watch.

  • SuperStrapper

    Millenary/Nautilus notes yes, but that dial has shades of Jacot Droz as well with that stacked display and unique dial texture.

    The sapphire bridge is cool, but that bridge style is not nice. Just too reminiscent of those awful Chinese open heat eBay watches labelled as tourbillion:

    The movement is nice but not really special. Something about the finishing in that tourbillon just seems cheap. That parts bin seconds hand slapped onto it is actually awful. It’s the wrong size, bad shape, and points at nothing. It adds absolutely nothing of use over just seeing the tourb operating on its own.

    Would not buy.

    • proudAmerican702

      I totally agree with your comments, and would add that all three clock hands look absolutely bottom-of-the-barrel cheap. The shape of the hour and minutes hands is totally uninspiring (the shape of the hands on the picture you provided above is much more luxurious.)

    • Mikita

      KINYUED? A luxury dept of Yazole?

    • Love those long running Chinese “chronographs” with their 7 day elapsed time register, ha ha.

  • DanW94

    It appears they know how to develop and finish a proper movement seeing that they offer this tourbillon and a flyback chrono in a previous watch, but this brand definitely needs some work dial side. I’ve yet to see any cohesive design language from them. This previous offering being an example;

    • Looks like a Tim Burton film watch somehow.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        A nightmare before christmas.

  • Tea Hound

    I don’t like this at all.

  • Ross Diljohn

    The kind of watch I would imagine Death would wear. If he could afford it.

  • John Stevens

    Ateliers deMonaco,s design department are certainly skilled in making an expensive watch look like a cheap Chinese knock off.

  • Framlucasse

    Looking at the details, the finishing seems very poor for the price asked.

    • Well they seem to all be renders so make of that what you will. They even screwed up with flat rose gold hands for most but not all of the renders. When trying to fool the watch buying public, you should strive for consistency.

      • Terance Hill

        I hope you’re right.
        With a little luck this ,monstrosity will never be produced and always remain a rendering ?

  • Ross Diljohn

    First thing I saw was Demon.

    • Mikita

      Has only 1 letter difference with DEMON CO. Or DEMON & CO. But I think they wanted it to read as DEMONIAC.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Why do certain brands want to be associated with Monaco ? . The place is a dump. This offering is a bit of a damp squid. All that money and it looks so cheap. The dial layout is totally uninspiring and as previously commented, looks like a chinese knock off.

    • RC

      Monaco is a dump? You must be kidding.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        I’m not.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    There’s a fight between Atelier Monaco and Manufacture Royale for the title of the most ridiculous brand in history of mankind. MR fought hard but this one is hard to beat.

  • Yan Fin

    I generally like Frederique Constant. Don’t own one, but like the looks. This thing looks pathetic and comical, like trying to pretend being in big boys league.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I still don’t understand why a “de Monaco” must be Swiss Made. Is there an atelier in Monaco? What does it?

    • Berndt Norten

      Because the late great Freddy de Constantinopolollapollooza hailed from Monaco, on his mother’s side, sort of.

    • Mikita

      Indeed, can they at least try to explain what’s the connection with Monaco? Since it was so important to determine the brand’s name.

    • Pete Pete

      „It was a coincidental meeting halfway around the world in the late 1990s that sparked the idea for Ateliers de Monaco. On this trip, our founders Pim Koeslag and Robert van Pappelendam were flying across Belgium in their 1930’s biplane. A rough-running engine forced them to make an emergency landing. Keen to avoid the Belgian authorities, Pim and Robert were more than happy to accept the gracious help of an intriguing British gentleman with impeccable yet unpretentious style. They stayed in his home, the aircraft took cover in the barn. Half-restored wall clocks lay everywhere, together with numerous engine parts. The intriguing British gentleman had a particular fondness for wearing his own father’s wristwatch on old, weathered leather straps. His name? Victor Ateliers de Monaco.

      Pim and Robert, wo after successful careers in retail were at a bit of a loose end, promised that his warm hospitality would never be forgotten. Inspired by their new acquaintance’s timeless style, Pim and Robert decided to start a watch company that reflected their shared love of horology. But this was going to be no ordinary watch brand … minimalistic and refined, the classic design with interchangeable straps truly has wide-ranging appeal. Now a few years later, this design is still an important part of what makes Ateliers de Monaco so special.”

  • Mark1884

    Did Bamturd work on this one??
    Fast pass


    I mean it looks like they are trying but whoa is it majorly ugly and tacky. There is zero redeeming factor here and I am looking hard to throw them a bone.

  • Pete Pete

    well, it’s part of citizen now – and it shows. it has the aesthetics of a citizen mall watch.

    • BOT

      Snob much?…

      • Pete Pete

        don’t know, ask the casio on my wrist.