With no traditional hands apparent and centre stage given over to the show-stopping, centrally mounted twin, triple-axis tourbillon you’ll be forgiven if you can’t read the time from its ‘dial’, but trust us it’s there. The watch, as pictured above, displays the watch industry default of ten past ten. This should help you identify two large pointer diamonds, one (8.18ct) on the inner hour ring and another further out on the minute ring (9.5ct). In case you’re wondering the other ‘white’ stones on the dial are colorless sapphires.
There’s a long tradition of watches that hide their main timekeeping indication from view dating back hundreds of years; from ‘Secret’ watches, which often cover their dial entirely under gem-set lids to ‘Mystery’ watches which set out to give the impression that they have no movement inside to outright statement pieces like Beat Haldimann’s H9 Reduction, which took a fully functioning haute horlogerie wristwatch and fitted it with an entirely opaque black sapphire crystal to permanently obscure its dial and hands.
“The Mystery” Tourbillon Arlequino also boasts two centrally mounted triple-axis tourbillons, mounting individual 60-second tourbillon escapements to either side of a plate and mounting that inside two concentrically fitted two-minute tourbillon cages. While tourbillons were developed (and are still used on occasion) with improved timekeeping in mind, here it is pure mechanical theatre. See it in action for yourself in the video below.
But it would be impossible to discuss the watch without mentioning those stones. The watch’s 50mm white gold case and bracelet, its dial and hour and minute rings are set with more than 1,000 precious stones, with 38ct of diamonds and 46ct of multi-colored Arlequino sapphires.
“The Mystery” Tourbillon Arlequino is a one-off, ‘piece-unique’ available now via Jacob & Co., priced $1.8m USD.
In other watch news, De Bethune sets 4.5 billion-year-old dial with a white gold galaxy.