Introducing: Glashütte Original Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920 - Oracle Time
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Introducing: Glashütte Original Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920

Glashutte Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920

Breguet gets all the credit for the tourbillon and sure, it’s a masterstroke of watchmaking genius. But he shouldn’t get all the limelight for gravity-defying advancements in haute horology, especially when this year marks a century since one Alfred Helwig created the elegant flying tourbillon in the Saxon watchmaking hub of Glashütte.

To celebrate – and to shine a light on the master watchmaker’s work – Glashütte Original is going back to their roots with the Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920.

Glashutte Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920

This is pure classicism. The 40mm rose gold case is small for housing a tourbillon and the silver-plated, solid gold dial harks back to the earliest days of watchmaking, particularly from the ever-restrained German school. With its small seconds at 6 o’clock, the Alfred Helwig is, from the front, about as pared-back as you can get.

Glashutte Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920

That’s because, unlike 99% of tourbillon-loving watchmakings, Glashütte Original has fought the urge to make a hole in the dial to show it off. In fact, it’s not even on the right side of the watch for that. Instead, you need to flip the watch over to see the under-suspended tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock.

Glashutte Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920

It turns what is often an ostentatious affectation of a complication into something a lot more refined, using it for actual accuracy rather than a just something else to look at. It’s also not the only reason to take a good long look at the Calibre 54-01 hand-wound movement.

The finishing is sublime, with Glashütte stripes at different, contrasting angles across the three-quarter plate and bridges and lovely sunburst on the cover of the mainspring. The movement also boasts a 100-hour power reserve, impressive given that it’s supporting a tourbillon too.

Glashutte Alfred Helwig Tourbillon-1920
Glashutte Alfred Helwig Tourbillon-1920

As you might expect from a commemorative watch, the Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920 is a limited edition of 25 pieces. Finished on a brown leather strap, this is as close as you’re likely to get to an original Helwig flying tourbillon without raiding Glashütte’s German Watch Museum.

Price & Specs:

Model: Glashütte Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920
Ref: 1-54-01-01-01-01
Case/Dial: 40mm diameter x 11.6mm height, 18k rose gold
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Calibre 54-01, manual winding, 20 jewel & 2 diamonds
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 100h
Functions: Central hour, central minute, decentral second, flying tourbillon
Strap: Louisiana Alligator leather brown strap
Price/availability: £106,300, limited to 25 pieces

More details at Glashütte.

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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