JEAN DUNAND Tourbillon Orbital
JEAN DUNAND Tourbillon Orbital
JEAN DUNAND Tourbillon Orbital

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Tourbillon Orbital


Launching the family of JEAN DUNAND watches, a continual program
of Pièces Uniques, required something more than a mere aesthetic
fillip. The watch had to be fresh, original, groundbreaking. At
a time when watch connoisseurs are spoiled for choice, a watch commemorating
the great Art Deco artist and craftsman had to be heartstoppingly
beautiful and daring.

That honor fell to the Tourbillon Orbital, the first of JEAN DUNAND
timepiece and an achievement never before seen in watchmaking. It
features a one-minute flying tourbillon that orbits the dial once ever y
hour, on a revolving movement. The watch also introduces a novel
power-reserve indicator in the case-band, provides a full view of the
movement and displays the phases of the moon on the case-back.

So extraordinary is this movement that it is patent-protected.

Reinstating the tourbillon as a precision device

With every ambitious watchmaker jumping on the tourbillon “bandwagon”,
it is not surprising that some enthusiasts are voicing a backlash.
Strange though this may seem, the sheer profusion of lesser
tourbillons has rendered the complication almost “common”. Thierr y
Oulevay and Christophe Claret, however have too much respect for
the concept to allow it to be devalued.

To this end, they have created the IO200 movement, named after Jupiter’s
moon. Invented and constructed by Claret, it defies the opinion
of his fellow watchmakers who insisted that an orbiting tourbillon
was impossible to realize. It is a gauntlet thrown before the
most experienced houses. Furthermore, it returns the tourbillon to its
original role as the pre-eminent precision complication. Timing tests
prove that the combined rotation of the tourbillon and the movement
significantly improves the rate stability of the watch.

Wheels within wheels

Positioned opposite each other, sandwiched between two plates held
apar t by pillars and rotating on ball bearings, the barrel and the flying
tourbillon orbit the center. The revolving top plate is open to reveal
the tourbillon. The tourbillon has been raised as much as possible to
make it more clearly visible.

Unwinding against a central fixed pinion, the barrel drives itself and
the tourbillon, while the tourbillon escapement regulates the speed
of rotation. As it orbits, the tourbillon cage rotates once a minute
against a fixed circumference wheel, connected through a gear train.
This elegant configuration reduces the number of jewel bearings to
14, substantially lowering friction.

How to wind and set a rotating movement

Christophe Claret devoted two years to solving the mechanical challenge
of winding and setting a rotating movement with a mainspring
barrel that never stays in one place. The conventional crown through
the case-band was obviously impossible.

Winding and setting the movement vertically through its central axis
is a new solution in watchmaking. A folding key set into the case-back
replaces the crown. Lifting the D-ring of the key engages a central
wheel on ball bearings that turns the ratchet-wheel to wind the barrel-
spring. Pulling out the key engages the hours- and minutes-hands
in order to set them in any direction. Positioned against the fixed
chapter-ring, the minutes-hand turns with the rotating dial.

Windows to the heart of the movement

Inescapably, the winding key and the moon-phase display on the back
of the watch prevent a conventional view of the rotating movement
through a sapphire-crystal case-back.

Conveniently, though, the absence of the usual crown at 3 o’clock
allowed JEAN DUNAND’s case-makers to provide a fascinating lateral
view of the revolving mechanisms by cutting two windows in the

A power-reserve indicator never seen before

These side windows opened the opportunity for another first in watchmaking
– an entirely original way of indicating the power reserve. The
window at 3 o’clock displays a vertical needle that moves between
F (full) and E (empty). Precisely in the manner of fuel gauges in
vintage cars. The secret of indicating the power-reserve in one place
from a constantly moving barrel is patented.