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  • Alvin

Ten Grand Swiss Tourbillons - a bargain in context...

How about this, instead of spending £10-£15k on a Rolex that does nothing but tell the time, or tell the time twice (GMTs), or with a bit of bulbous date action - how about you buy a god damn technical masterpiece, a whirring mechanical whirlwind, the anti-laws of physics, the anti-gravity Tourbillon, and a Swiss one at that. How about that, hey? Disclaimer, this only works in British pounds sterling, sorry old chaps!

Img: Audemars Piguet

You want a Swiss Tourbillon that doesn't cost TwoBillon dollars like the AP above, see what I did there...I know, genius. Oh, you actually want a bargain, then of course we have the Chinese offerings of reliable but oddly branded, lacking an identity and the character that we're looking for, they cheap though, we love that! In between are the micro brands, sweet as mechanical pie but neither here nor there, but they're trying, with prices from £2000 - £7000, we're talking ZeroTime, Horage and Memorigin.

Chinese Tourbillon

Img: The Theowrist

There has been talk of the luxury watch market being on a downward trajectory in recent months, not enough of one for my liking but there has been some drop off. In my Chrono24 notepad, I have not one, not two but four ten grand tourbillons. Granted they are scattered around the world like laundered drug money, but they are in the £10-£11k bracket as advertised, though not including delivery, customs and tax, damn do I hate those customs duties and value added taxes, damn them all to hell.

There are two dress watches, and two sports chronographs, which is a good mix as tourbillons are often resigned to the dress pile. Let's get into the eye of the whirlwinds!

Chronoswiss Régulateur Tourbillon CH2131

Imgs: Chronoswiss

Can you believe the coolness of the Chronoswiss Regulateur, it's a slick dress watch, extremely well finished, the connoisseurs choice - and that's without the Tourbillon. This here, the first Tourbillon Regulateur, features the whirlwind in a white gold case - ribbed case edge for your pleasure, a sterling silver guilloche dial, and a flying Tourbillon obviously. A wonderful size, at 38mm but the longest lugs in the history of the world here I believe, which is a Chronoswiss design staple actually, but I think it is the only flaw on this beauty and some would say they are acceptable as they case is fully round. All that for around £10k is a bloody bargain, though it is the oldest watch on this list, it packs a bounty of riches. Stunning.

Location: China - Private seller

Box&Papers: Yes

Age: 2005

Price: £10,466

Size: 38mm

Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Chronograph 03.2050.4035/01.C713

Imgs: Zenith

These are super cool, luxury razzle dazzle kind of watches, but with technical chops and history to match. It's an El Primero Chronograph Tourbillon. While this watch is for sale in China, which might make some worry, it's a shop/retailer and I would like to see a fake version of this that is anywhere near the original, it's fools errand, which is a default comfort. This one is steel with white dial and brown strap, it is without box and papers and per Chinese rules they don't ship abroad, but even if you went to get it it would still be cheaper than an ex-display one on a Dubai based website. They are asking for $54k, which is bonkers.

Location: China - Retailer

Box&Papers: No

Age: Unknown / Pre-owned

Price: £10,764

Size: 44mm

Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic Tourbillon Fc-980s3h6

Imgs: Frederique Constant

FC have been really hitting the mark recently. The Monolithic, the HighLife Perpetual Calendar and that last one with a Tourbillon, some very cool and technical timepieces. I mean £8400 for a Swiss manufacture (in-house) perpetual calendar is quite an offering. This one is the classic dress limited edition alternative but it has a very rugged and robust presence, and the tourbillon aesthetic is industrial and clean, no nonsense. I am a fan of the design and sizing, but especially the RRP which is £12,995, that's super Swiss whirlwind power for the price of a Rolex GMT Master II, oh and this one is actually new at under £10k, amazing. It's a statement of fact, the fact is FC mean business and this is a special watch.

Location: Germany - Retailer

Box&Papers: Yes

Age: 2023 / New

Price: £9,923

Size: 39mm

TAG Heuer Carrera Tourbillon CBS5010.FC6543

The resurgence of Tag Heuer has been steady and sure in the past few years, the several iterations of the Glassbox chronograph are really pretty (I saw one in the flesh recently). Now upgraded, it's stylish and sexy in this Tourbillon version, it's a bit bigger, but that's ok as we want to see that Tourbillon move, spin baby spin. I wonder if that explains my interest in pole dancing, I like sexy, well-put-together things that go round-and-around. And if you go on the Tag site for the watch (link in footer) ou can see the spin and make the chronograph work. I like it, it's a nice touch, different, attention to detail and fun. Just like this watch.

Location: USA - Private seller

Box&Papers: Yes

Age: 2023

Price: £10,990

Size: 42mm

The Final Whirldown

So, can you tell I've finished my postgraduate diploma studies for the moment, the ideas are flowing onto the page like word vomit - in a good way I hope. This was an idea that I just thought of and had the time to quickly flesh out and lay down. I'm happy with that, but the problem is I don't have £10k to spare. If I did, which one would I have? I hear you ask. Let's break it down. The Zenith is different with the big T at 11 o'clock, but is too flashy and big (and in China). The Chronoswiss might be too posh, too beautiful even, precious it would be. The Tag is casual, wearable and understated while packing a punch. Last but not least whirly, it's the FC that I think is my favourite (the photo probs gave that away), the first time I saw it, I knew I liked it a lot. It has the thing, curves in all the right places, love that onion crown. The stark contrast between the plain dial and sleek spikiness seen through the window at 6, is a delicate balance, but the hour markets are pointing to it - look, look through the window! Overall a simple but refined finish and I think it would be a versatile strap monster. Get your ten grands out, let's go anti-gravity whirlywind shopping!

Yours Mechanical-Whirringly,



This bloggage in May 2024 means I have posted at least once a month for a whole damn year, a big round of applause for me! Studying, working, decorating, procrastinating, and writing blog posts, that's been my year and I want to thank the many who have visited and the lovely few that subscribed. It's very nice to know that I have engaged and interested fellow watch fans, probably helped you procrastinate a bit too. I hope to continue and give it a bit more attention in the next year!







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