Perpetuating Angelus’ Legacy of Innovative Chronographs:
On our last trip to Basel, we were introduced by our partner and good friend, Samir Shah, to the team at Angelus. One might be familiar with this team's exceptional work at La Joux-Perret SA, movement manufacture. Well, Angelus can look back on a long tradition in innovative chronograph wristwatches beginning in 1925 with a monopusher.
The company's first highlight was the 1942 launch of the Chronodato, the world's first serially manufactured chronograph with calendar. Throughout subsequent decades, Angelus released ever more groundbreaking chronographs, many of them including world-first complications. So when it came to developing an entirely new chronograph movement by its new owners, Angelus’ present-day engineers and watchmakers knew that they had to do something utterly exceptional.
After five years of intensive research and development secured by several patents, Angelus now presents the U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante. It features a one-minute tourbillon, a fly-back double column wheel chronograph, a split-seconds (rattrapante), a self-winding mechanism and a power reserve indicator. However technically complicated that combination is, it is the movement's contemporary architecture and three-dimensional design that make the Angelus Tourbillon Rattrapante truly unique. All of these complications have been re-engineered based on structural optimization and skeletonized to reveal as much of the movement as possible on the dial side, all while ensuring maximum legibility of the time and chronograph functions. The skeleton bridges alone allow the display of no fewer than 15 different wheels dial side!
The movement hosts a number of complications – all fully integrated rather than modular add-ons – that are built on several layers, all visible thanks to the skeletonized bridges that create a form evoking the “A” of Angelus. To further increase the impression of depth, the movement is fully transparent around the tourbillon and treated in various shades of black and grey.
A tour of the open dial begins with skeletonized central hour and minute hands. High legibility is ensured by high-contrast black movement bridges underneath light-colored hour and minute hands, as well as the fact that the latter have slightly curved profiles to catch the light from any angle.
The one-minute tourbillon occupies a quarter of the dial space and can be appreciated through the skeletonized movement plate and bridges at 10 o'clock. The tourbillon is high- beat with 4 Hz / 28,800 vph, a perfect fit for the watch’s character. The tourbillon cage is entirely made of non-magnetic material and reduced to the maximum to further minimize mass and optimize performance. Not only can the tourbillon itself be fully admired dial side, but also all its gearing, creating an intriguing micro-mechanical display.
The chronograph function of the U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante is among the most refined and complicated in existence: the split-seconds or “double” chronograph. This type of chronograph is highly complex to achieve, especially when combined with a tourbillon, as the energy consumption of a rattrapante mechanism is very high.
The rattrapante (or split-seconds) function allows the timing of different events that begin but do not end together, for example the times of two runners. Two separate chronograph second hands are set one over the other; the one underneath is the split-seconds hand. When the chronograph is started, both hands start moving in lockstep together, until a press of the pusher in the crown "splits" them, with the top hand continuing and the bottom split- seconds hand stopping to allow an intermediate time to be noted. By again pressing the pusher, the split-seconds hand will instantly catch up to the main chronograph hand, ready again to record a new intermediate time. Integrated onto the bridge at 3 o'clock, a 30- minute counter completes the chronograph functions.
Fans of horology are sure to appreciate the visible column wheel for the split-seconds function at 4 o'clock, positioned just below the 30-minute counter. The observer can even watch it in operation when the split-seconds function is activated. A second column wheel on the back of the movement controls the chronograph.
Whereas the majority of chronographs operate in the sequence push-to-start, push-to-stop, and push-to-reset, Angelus’ U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante is first of all a "fly-back" chronograph, which means that the timing operation can be directly reset and restart without having to be stopped first. The fly-back function is very useful as it allows instant restarting of the chronograph with one push of the button instead of the three pushes necessary for standard chronographs.
The fly-back function is especially complicated to achieve when combined with the split- seconds complication as the fly-back mechanism has not only one, but two, central chronograph hands to reset and restart. In addition, the forces generated on the split- seconds mechanism during the instantaneous reset and restart are significant. Therefore, all of the different chronograph functions have to be painstakingly set and optimized by the master watchmaker during assembly in order to guarantee smooth operation of all functions.
Priced at an incredible $59,950, the U30 offers some serious value proposition and appeals to the chronograph enthusiast and race car loving watch collector alike. The movement is housed in an ultra-light Titanium grade 5 and comes on a super comfy soft rubber strap.
For inquiries, additional details and consultations please contact Christopher Daaboul of Esper Luxury International.
Esper Luxury International
Phone +1 781 269 5569
The story of Angelus began in 1891 when brothers Albert and Gustav Stolz founded the Angelus fabrique d’horlogerie in Le Locle, Switzerland. The company quickly became renowned for developing and manufacturing pioneering movements and timepieces, both for itself and for other brands.
Over the past century, Angelus earned an illustrious reputation for creating exceptional chronograph and multi-complication wristwatches, multi-display travel clocks with long power reserves, and alarm watches. Along the way, Angelus achieved a number of world firsts in watchmaking, including the first wristwatch with big date, first serially manufactured wristwatch chronograph with calendar, first wristwatch with alarm and date, first automatic repeater wristwatch, and the first fully waterproof repeater wristwatch.
Along with many other prestigious brands, Angelus found it difficult to compete with the arrival of quartz watches in the 1970s and the company ceased operations in the early 1980s.
After lying dormant for 30 years, Angelus has now been revived by new management, which has spent three years developing the next generation of visionary timepieces. The first of these, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière was launched in 2015, followed in 2016 by the U20 Ultra Light Tourbillon and U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante. All models have been developed at the Angelus manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, just a stone’s throw from where the Stolz brothers established their original factory.