Watches: Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière
By Thierry Ané on March 9, 2015
If you find time to research the History of Watchmaking, you could easily get the wrong feeling that watch manufactures are the most resilient companies ever. No matter how far back you go in time, you will hear about familiar names that represent today’s stronghold of Haute Horlogerie. A closer look at those brands, however, would immediately reveal their relative youth: resurrecting an illustrious name is in fact the most common way of trying to gain legitimacy in the highest horological circles!
So much so that one finds it somehow puzzling when one such name remains dormant. This was the case with Angelus, until Baselworld 2015 that is… Indeed the story of this matchmaking manufacture founded by brothers Albert and Gustav Stolz started in 1891 and over the past century this prestigious Maison earned a well-deserved reputation for the quality of its exceptional chronograph and multi-complication wristwatches gathering many world-firsts along the way. Like many other renowned Swiss companies of this industry, though, Angelus did not survive the Quartz Crisis and ceased operations in the late 1970s.
Surprisingly given the prestige attached to this name (every watch lover has heard about the groundbreaking 8-day movement developed by Angelus and used by prestigious brands such as Officine Panerai for some pre-Vendôme models), it took more than 30 years and Manufacture La Joux-Perret’s dedication and efforts to place it under the spotlights again with a new and talented watchmaking team to create awe-inspiring timekeepers worthy of Angelus’ past fame.
If most of these revived brands clearly emphasise their illustrious heritage with traditional designs, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière that celebrates Angelus’s rebirth is not what you would have expected looking at some of the brand’s past iconic creations! With a generous 62.75 x 38 x 15 mm stainless steel case greatly inspired by the Doney 14 transistor TV designed by Richard Sapper and Marco Zanusso for Brionvega in the sixties, the watch adopts a not-so-conventional retro-futuristic aesthetic perfectly suited to the manufacture movement it houses.
The exclusive Angelus A100 manually-wound calibre has been developed by Sébastien Chaulmontet (famous for his excellent work for Arnold & Son) and his team with the obvious intention of showcasing the large diameter one-minute flying tourbillon escapement. Indeed, the regulating organ is positioned far outside of the movement and displayed like a moving sculpture in a sapphire frame where it almost seems to float with just its lower bridge as a connection to the rest of the movement.
On the right, under a transluscent-grey coated concave sapphire dial with black outer ring, the usual hours and minutes indications are enhanced by the presence of a deadbeat seconds, a complication dear to Chaulmontet as suggested by his work for Arnold & Son. Lastly, this high-end movement also features a linear power reserve indication visible from a sapphire crystal placed on the case band of the watch.
Altogether, no less than seven sapphire crystals ensure that the sophisticated movement with superlative finishing can be observed from all angles. Some of them bevelled and slightly protruding from the case, they are an integral part of what makes the design of the U10 Tourbillon Lumière so special.
So special that it requires some getting used to or perhaps being admired first-hand. Technically, there is no denying the amazing job achieved once again by La Joux-Perret’s watchmaking team. But to be completely honest here, I am not sure whether I like the timepiece or not from an aesthetic perspective? I look forward to discovering this U10 Tourbillon Lumière next week in Basel and be able to give you my live feeling with some pictures and videos to help you form your opinion too…