When it comes to cars and watches, there’s a definite link. For some brands (be it car or watch) that linkage can be a bit more tenuous, and may consist of a logo swap. For the folks over at Rebellion though, they’re taking it to a whole different level. For starters, they’ve actually got a racing team – one that raced in the Le Mans Series Championship (2011) and FIA World Endurance Trophy for Privateers (2012). This means they’re used to creating high-end, precision, lightweight components for their cars. From what I can see of their latest watch, it seems their horology follows in the same footsteps.
The 540 Magnum Tourbillon makes liberal use of materials commonly found in race cars: magnesium; aluminum; titanium; and carbon fiber. Surprisingly, these materials show up in the movement. The mainplate is made of aluminum, while the 3/4 back plate is made from carbon fiber. I’ve seen plenty of CF dials and even cases, but this is the first time I recall seeing the material used within a movement.
The movement is interesting, aside from the material utilized within. The REB T-14 movement features a 14-day power reserve, which would make for one massive watch rotation interval. The movement also utilizes a 60-second tourbillon, which regulates the power coming from the two mainspring barrels. Large swaths of this movement are visible, as the watch has gone for the “open heart” look. In many ways, it actually looks quite like a dial-free design, due to the visible elements picking up the mechanical look and feel of the bits associated to the movement.
The tourbillon cage is visible in the lower right corner of the watch, and the power reserve indicators (there are two, oddly enough) are on the left hand side. A retrograde seconds readout also shows up around the 7 o’clock mark. The power reserve indicator you’re most likely to notice is the large arrowhead that is chain driven (another automotive touch, and a good bit of visual interest).
That said, this is giving you more of a general idea of where you are in the reserve. For the precise readout, you’ll want to look for the smaller roller indicator down at 7 o’clock. Why two? I have no idea. It’s unique in some regards, but it also makes me think they had some design confusion and couldn’t settle on a single method.
Rotating over all of the exposed gearing and indicators, you’ve got skeletonized hands – which, while they fit with the overall scheme of the piece, make me wonder how easy it will be to tell time on the watch (a common problem with open-heart, or skeletonized, watches). They do appear to be lighter in color, so my hope is that it’s actually a luminous paint they’ve applied, which would improve visibility no matter the time of day.
Flip the carbon fiber case over, and you’re treated to another view of some parts of the movement. Here, this is a much more refined view, and is something that I would’ve liked to have seen applied to what was shown (or not) on the front of the dial.
Speaking of the case (which we just flipped over), this is made of carbon fiber as well. This makes for a lightweight case, and one with quite a different finish we’d normally call to mind when we hear CF is being used in a watch (most commonly in the dials).
Carbon fiber also shows up in the case, which presents an interesting texture to the matte finish – one quite different from the weave we’re used to seeing on a dial. This case is then paired to a rubber strap with a deployant buckle. This most definitely is not a watch for everyone, and that’s good, considering only 10 examples are being made.
Who is it for, then? I guess I’d have to say it’s for the fan of racing, perhaps one that’s been following Rebellion Racing. I really do like some of the details we have here – individually. When they come together as whole, however, it ends up turning into organized chaos on the wrist, which just doesn’t quite work for me. Which is a shame, as the Eric Giroud-designed case is a sharp-looking one.
Oh, you wanted to know the pricing for the 540 Magnum Tourbillon. Sit down for this – it’s coming in at 270,000 CHF. If this particular model has grabbed your eye, you may want to check out some of their other collections for something less chaotic. rebellion-timepieces.com