Watch Reviews

Introducing The Zenith Christophe Colomb: The Tourbillon Evolves, Sort Of

by on Nov.14, 2010, under Review

Some watches just catch your eye – this is one of them.  Coming from Zenith (who, btw, has been doing it pretty right as of late) is the Christophe Colomb. 

The giant bubble you see at 6 o’clock may look like it houses a tourbillon, but it doesn’t, at least according to Zenith.  Based on a previous design from the brand, this oversized escapement sits on gimbals, or a “Cardan suspensioin,” just as the compass aboard Christopher Columbus’s ship did way back when. 

“The hand-wound 45-jewel, 36,000 VpH Academy 8804 manual winding movement with 50-hour power reserve, features a unique gyroscopic system ensuring perfect horizontal positioning of the regulating organ. This system consists in a cage composed of 166 parts, 10 conical-geared wheels (with 6 spherical wheels) and 6 ball bearings.”

So why does this Zenith feature a glass dome ensuring horizontal positioning?

“The rating precision of a classic watch varies according to its position. Gravity attracts the escapement components, which do not operate in exactly the same way according to the direction in which they are attracted. The friction between the various components is also different and the amplitude of the balance may be disturbed, causing it to gain or lose. The best position for an escapement is the horizontal position which ensures the best amplitude for the balance and on which gravity is perpendicular to the components and does not therefore disturb their rotation.”

And how does it work, exactly?

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