Revelation R-01 Tourbillon Watch

Revelation R-01 Tourbillon Watch

Revelation R-01 Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

Here is something new. I just learned about Revelation watch and am rather impressed with some of the elements in this watch. When it will be ready I have no idea, but there are a few things neat about this piece. Most notable is the dial that goes from solid to clear. Meaning you can have a more traditional flat black dial with hour indicators, or one that is totally open with a view into the movement. Well, that is the basic idea at least.

Revelation R-01 Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

The Revelation R0-1 timepiece has a complex movement called the TM01 (which is reportedly in-house made). It is manually wound with 48 hours of power reserve and a tourbillon done a bit like the Cartier Astrotourbillon. Rather than rotating on its own axis, the large escapement moves around like a center fugue under the dial with a counterweight. Revelation calls it their "Tourbillon Menage." The tourbillon structure is so heavy that it takes four linked mainspring barrels to give it 48 hours of power reserve. In most other watches, four mainspring barrels would offer much more power. I believe that the Tourbillon Menage rotates fully each minute. Functions for the watch are just the time.

Revelation R-01 Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

Alone, this new tourbillon complication is interesting, but for me the more interesting element of the Revelation R-01 watch is their use of specially polarized glass. Let me see if I can get this straight. If you take two pieces of glass that have been polarized in the right way, they will look transparent alone, but totally opaque when put together. I believe I have witnessed this in other applications so I understand how it works. The Revelation watch has a bezel connected to a special gear that when pulled up - rotates the two polarized sections together allowing the bottom one to be clear. This new clarity allows you to view the movement right under the dial. With the "lid" closed, you just see the hands and markers. This is done via an "Archimedes gear," and I think Revelation is trying to patent the novelty.

Revelation R-01 Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

Revelation R-01 Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

Revelation R-01 Tourbillon Watch Watch Releases

According to Revelation they created some fancy hinge that works with the bezel assembly. Even reading about it a few times I don't entirely get it or know exactly what it does - sifting through hyperbole can be a chore. Seriously, instead of dedicated paragraphs of text to explain something, why can't they just release a simple video? What Revelation wants, is for watch lovers to have the best of both worlds - a clear and legible dial, along with the ability to view and appreciate a movement without having to take their watch off. This is a fascinating and potentially over-complicated approach (but that is the watch industry for you).

Based on the fact that Revelation hasn't released a lot of info on the watch case itself, I have a feeling the Revelation R-01 timepieces aren't quite ready for prime-time yet (does the dial really need to say "Revelation" on it twice?). They indicate a few versions that will be available though, being offering in black colored titanium, 18k gray gold, 18k pink gold with black gold elements, and in 18k yellow gold. Little clarification here for the model pricing, and each will be limited to just 15 pieces:

-for the black titanium R01.TM01.T2 CHF 172'800.-
-for the yellow gold R01.Tm01.3N CHF 192'000.-
-for the pink gold / pink gold PVD CHF 197 760.-
-for the white gold CHF 211'200.-

Expect the first pieces to ship October 2011.

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  • chris

    i love the polarized glass concept, but…a hinge? really? an infinitely more elegant way to accomplish the same task would be to have one piece of glass rotate with respect to the other. it could rotate along with the bezel, for example. or via an internal mechanism driven by a separate crown, as seen in dive watches with internal rotating bezels. this would also provide the effect of the movement fading in and out of view.

    • Chris Free

      I had the exact same thought on the rotating bezel the whole time I was reading the article.

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  • Mitch

    Really cool & attractive also. It does seem like having that hinge would make it a rather delicate watch, but people don’t typically wrench on cars etc. wearing tourbillons.
    So the glasses are layered, polarized saphire crystal? I’m interested to see what the price tag on this thing will be…

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  • chris

    hold on a sec…just saw the picture (above) titled “revelation mechanism”…looks like this is no ordinary hinge! here’s what revelation’s website says about it:

    “The cage of the Archimedes or worm screws, a genuine gearbox, is an extremely complex component that has to be manufactured on a five-axis computer numerically controlled machine…The idea was to convert the trajectory of the bezel, which opens at a 108° angle, into a circular movement driving the rotation of a polarizing disc.”

    so opening the lid turns a worm gear inside the hinge, which in turn rotates the polarizing filter…meaning the sole purpose of the lid’s existence is to rotate said filter. talk about complexity for the sake of complexity. then again, this watch has a tourbillon, so they’re not exactly shying away from needlessly overwrought (and arguably useless) complications…

  • Chris

    I really like that it doesn’t show you the tourbillon on the face. It’s more of a personal luxury that way.

    That said, I really don’t like the lugs. They make it look like a cheap fashion watch and the dial doesn’t help that impression.

  • Ulysses

    It’s a nice looking watch considering what it does. I was also wondering what that mechanism did. The thing is, a normal hinge would have sufficed. Assuming that when the lid is closed the two filters are crossing each other (and therefore the face is black) then wouldn’t simply lifting one out of the way enable you to see the mechanism underneath? I’ve played with these things since I was a kid messing with old calculators and LCD games so I am sure this would work without the extra engineering. I suppose that’s the point though, like it is in any high-end watch.

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  • I respect the engineering but in real life it is a gimmick.

  • kris c

    This would have been so much cooler if they found a way to impliment “Smart Glass” (or EGlass, whichever you prefer): something I have been looking out for in a watch for a while now. Just because that function requires voltage does not mean the movement itself has to be quartz.

  • This is indeed a very innovative watch !
    I agree with other comments and what would happen if you push the sapphire a little too far !

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