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Robb Design Portfolio: Do the Locomotion

Laurie Kahle

The tourbillon mechanism was invented more than 200 years ago to diminish gravity’s effect on a

watch’s precision. But instead of diffusing gravity’s force, Harry Winston’s

Tourbillon Glissiere, which features a flying tourbillon and linear power

reserve indicator, harnesses it. Evoking the wheels and pistons of a steam

locomotive, the Glissiere’s two platinum blocks glide back and forth across

ultrasmooth rails to engage a ratcheted winding system. To reduce the shock

created by the blocks’ striking action, the watch’s designers added rubber to

the interior of the case—a seemingly simple solution that required six months of

trial and error to perfect. While solving that problem, Hamdi Chatti, executive

vice president of production for Harry Winston Rare Timepieces (800.988.4110,

www­.harrywinston.com), who spent two years developing the watch with

complication specialist Christophe Claret, also had to change the mind-set of

master watchmakers trained to work with only circular forms. "Any time we

encountered a problem with the linear concept, they came back to me and said,

‘We should make it round,’ " explains Chatti. "Round exists already, but no one

had done this before."

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