May 14, 2013
by James Stacey
The Perrelet Turbine Chronograph was announced more than a month ahead of Baselworld and we got the chance to see this interesting and dynamic watch in person while in Switzerland for last month’s show. Based on a new exclusive chronograph movement, the Turbine Chrono offers an interesting 60 minute chronograph register using a transparent center-mounted rotating dial which allows a full view of the signature spinning dial.
I love an innovative chronograph display, so whether it’s a center chronograph minutes hand or a rotating sapphire minutes counter, I’m always interested when a chronograph cannot be described as simply being bi-compax or tri-compax. The Perrelet Turbine Chrono is a large and very modern watch, available in five versions and measuring 47 x 16 mm. All versions come mounted to a comfy black rubber strap and feature anti-reflective sapphire crystals front and back. Thanks to the rubber strap, the Turbine Chrono feels light enough for daily wear and, while distinctive and brash, most of the versions are not especially flashy with limited polished elements and the option of a darker tone turbine.
Perrelet’s Turbine design has always been about motion and activity that promotes a truly distinctive wrist presence. The dial has two levels, a background and a spinning “turbine” disk that reacts to the subtle motion of lifting your wrist to check the time. That motion kicks the turbine into action and it spins, as though propelled by a jet engine. I had seen this on the original Turbine pieces and the way that Perrelet has preserved this cool design while incorporating a chronograph is really fantastic.
In the space between the hand set and the spinning turbine element, there is a transparent two-piece sapphire dial, comprised of a center and an outer ring. The outer ring is fixed and marked at nine o’clock with a “Min” flag, indicating where to read the current chronograph minutes measurement from the center disk. When the chronograph is started, the center sapphire disk begins to slowly rotate, showing the chronograph minutes in an unobtrusive but legible fashion. You’ve got to love a chronograph that is executed without the clutter and tiny sub-dials normally associated with such a complication. In addition to the chronograph, there is also a date display at six that can be viewed in the spaces between the turbine blades.
In stride with the technical elements, the Perrelet Turbine Chrono is beautifully made, with mixed finishing and many fine details from the pushers, to the tachymeter scale on the DLC treated bezel. On wrist, the Turbine Chrono is large but its size seems fitting for a watch with so much bravado. Legibility is good on all but the blacked-out ref A1079/I model, where stealth is likely of higher importance. The five versions range in their use of steel, DLC, gold and either light or darker tone turbines (see complete range above). Pricing varies from model to model but will fall between $7850 and $12,950 USD. Given the unique chronograph execution and very cool design, it would seem that Perrelet has successfully expanded the Turbine design to include an entirely usable and nicely integrated chronograph. perrelet.com
*Special thanks to Mark C for wrist modeling in some of the above photos.