Private Preview 2014: Time Machine
Watch collectors looking for something truly unusual this year may want to seek out the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante. Constructed at Montblanc’s tiny facility in Villeret, Switzerland, the $322,500 timepiece showcases the traditional machines and techniques employed by the watchmaker. Unlike many modern pieces, which are designed and manufactured with the assistance of computers, this classical split-seconds (or rattrapante) chronograph features extensive by-hand filing, fitting, and polishing.
The tourbillon’s oversize balance wheel sits atop the rotating cage. The balance wheel beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour, a frequency commonly used by old pocket watches, and the cage rotates at just a quarter the speed of modern versions. The large size of the balance wheel provides maximum precision under these circumstances and presides over this eye-catching totem of old-school horological virtue.