The bottom line is the real headline: $3k. Yup. Just three large for not one but two tourbillons. Assuming the ZEROOTIME kickstarter campaign delivers functional watches to paying customers within a reasonable time frame – and there’s zero guarantee it will – the Asian watchmaker will have changed the way people think about tourbillon watches. In other words . . .
ZEROOTIME’s DT1 will have exposed the tourbillon timepiece as The Emperor’s New Watch: an excuse to charge gullible buyers mega-money for a mechanical complication that serves no functional purpose. No really.
As our review of the $5k tourbillon-equipped Aventi A11 pointed out, a mechanical wristwatch needs a tourbillon like a fish needs a bicycle. Not to belabor the point (much), Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon to counter the effect of gravity on pocket watch movements carried in one position.
Who cares? Tourbillons are endlessly fascinating fun! Kinda like having an ant farm on your wrist. If a turby watch doesn’t cost the sun, moon and stars, why not? Of course, there are tourbillons and there are tourbillons.
To suggest that ZEROOTIME’s Chinese-made complications possess the same quality as the intricate spinny thing in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s $800k Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel is ridiculous.
Almost as ridiculous as JLC’s contention that their tourbillon “guarantees reliability.” Common sense tells us a tourbillon makes a watch less reliable. There are more fiddly bits to break or bend, and repairing them is no simple matter.
Unless you’re ZEROOTIME.
Given the DT1’s probable manufacturing cost, if one or both of its spinny things sh*ts the bed, ZEROOTIME can replace it for a fraction of the cost of JLC’s [Chinese-made?] parts and unionized Swiss labor. Then again . . .
The Japanese watchmaker pitching the Chinese DT1 warns that “due to the delicate nature of the watch, we recommend no more than 10 rotations [of the crown] at a time.” What’s more . . .
Please provide caution that the watch does not endure high impact through strong vibrations or shakes due to its delicate craftsmanship. Furthermore, please keep storage in places where the watch will not be exposed to magnetism, humidity, and UV rays.
Practical matters be damned! Especially when it comes to a 45mm tourbillon watch as dignified, handsome and (need I say it?) inexpensive as this one: a value-driven blend of restrained design and double fun.
“The dial features a simple design to maximize readability,” the Kickstarter copy boasts, “while changing the background color of the index imbues it with a feeling of condensation.” So people who live in England and Seattle need apply. Make that used to live there and miss the rain.
At this point I feel obliged to insert the usual warning: Kickstarter can kick your ass (i.e. disappear your money without any hope of its return). Read the risks page. Know that if ZEROOTIME exceeds its fundraising goal – which it already claims to have done – “the shipping time may be delayed due to manufacturing circumstances.”
Regardless of whether or not the ZEROOTIME Double Tourbillon lives up to its promise, the tourbillon is descending from Switzerland’s metaphorical Mount Olympus to party hearty on “normal” watches. How long before a mainstream Swiss watchmaker offers a tourbillon model for less than the price of an average American car? Hamilton? Longines? Rolex? Watch this space . . .