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Tourbillon Repair / Christophe Claret / Leviev

by Spitz. Average Reading Time: about 3 minutes.

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Not sure many of you get to see one the World’s most incredible Tourbillons outside of it’s case, especially inside the U.S.A. boarders. Special tools are needed just to get inside this baby. Once inside you need special tooling designed for the movement to do anything. So, if you are a Watchmaker and considering having a dabble inside please consider a second option. This movement is art that needs a no time limit work approach and many years of repetitive knowledge. Repetitive knowledge. Repetitive knowledge in micro mechanics and Tourbillon experience to open and tweak away.

This is a Tourbillon made by Christophe Claret and sold to a number of high end Swiss companies in different configurations for implementation into that Brand’s piece. This particular piece is for Leviev (I am the North American Repair Center). Just an incredible movement through and through. Rock solid engineering at its finest level of expertise, execution and construction. We are talking the best of the best people. A Ferrari for the wrist.

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The Tourbillon cage turns once every 60 seconds and it’s hand polishing finish is simply stunning. The weight of the cage is so critical in a REAL Swiss Tourbillon. Fakes and copies work, but they are a joke in actual mechanical execution. The bridges on this Leviev have inset diamonds all over them and a highly polished first level plate that really does resemble a real mirror. Once inside a Watchmaker must take extreme care as “one” slip of his tweezers and the mirror is completely ruined. The entire watch must then be disassembled and some extremely expensive parts replaced. More than likely the cost of a nice car just for the parts bill to me. In addition, the parts are not waiting on a shelf for replacement anywhere. At thousands, if not tens of thousands of $$$ per part you will simply need to wait months for manufacture replacement. Sometimes we actually butcher a brand new movement for parts because of this. Patience …. patience… a Watchmaker must have …

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In these pictures you can see the dial side of the movement as I pull the center wheel.

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Using the staking set and a fiber optic microscope is a must in this procedure of assembly and disassembly. Careful attention to parallelism when you are staking wheels, pinions, gears and so forth comes only by experience. Even though these movements are built like a tank the tolerances of parts mating to the next are of such small instances that “almost good” just is not going to suffice in the end result.

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Every part is designed in such a way that the entire movement works in harmony only if each step of building / rebuilding is done with zero tolerance of error. This is why a good Tourbillon (even in these days) starts in the $200,000 range and goes up. Like this one. Usually a waiting list as well. It could take a few weeks time just to do an overhaul on a piece like this.

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The post of the minute wheel needed a bit of end polishing before the hand was reconfigured for placement and voila! … we are ready for diagnostic testing of the movement.

christophe_claret_tourbillon_2.jpgHere’s a picture of the same movement in different execution as used by Corum for their piece.

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I really love the flying bridge aspect of this movement and how Leviev has done such an incredible job on the casing and all around perfection in all areas of manufacturing. I feel so blessed to have pieces of art like this one on my bench either here in the U.S.A. or in Switzerland in complication rooms of manufacturers.

I hope you enjoyed a rare look into one of the World’s most complicated and delicate timepieces from the Dan Spitz bench. Thrash Metal!

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