Glashütte Original presents the New Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920By Israel Ortega
Within the celebration period honouring the 175th anniversary of the birth of German watchmaking in the Saxon town of Glashütte, Glashütte Original presents one of the most regal and significant creations in its catalogue: the Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920, an overwhelmingly beautiful watch, very rich in elegance but also quite full of historical significance.
You see, in addition to the 175th anniversary of the establishment of Glashutte as a watchmaking town —thanks to Ferdinand Adolph Lange— this insane year, 2020, also marks the 100th anniversary of another significant milestone in Haute Horlogerie (or should I say “Feinuhrmacherei”): the creation of the flying tourbillon, a development by German watchmaker Alfred Helwig. The creation of Helwig’s flying tourbillon in 1920 was a consequence of his clever and strenuous developments in the field of chronometric precision and his experiments with the regulation organ.
Alfred Helwig (1884-1974) was a watchmaker and technical writer who helped lay the foundations of contemporary German watchmaking. His influence and achievements are recognized in the German watchmaking school that bears his name —founded in 1878— and which is located in Glashütte itself. The Helwig school —sponsored by Glashutte Original— is the most important watchmaking academy in Germany. Each year, new watchmakers graduate from the school with the responsibility of continuing the history begun by Lange and enriched by the work of other German creators such as Helwig himself, Robert Mühle, Erhard Junghans and Gerhard Lang, among many others.
In Helwig’s honour, Glashütte Original presents the new Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920, a limited series of 25 pieces that extols the watchmaker’s invention in a classic and elegant but equally captivating aesthetic.
The splendid watch is presented in a rose gold case. Its dial is created from solid gold and has been plated with silver by means of friction. A set of twelve slender gold baton-like hour-markers highlights the dial, encircled by its railroad-type minute scale and magnificently finished off by the subsidiary seconds hand at 6 o’clock. The subtle “tourbillon” imprint reveals the watch’s secret, ostensibly visible through the case back. It’s worth mentioning that other Glashütte Original timepieces, such as the Senator Alfred Helwig, already honoured the watchmaker, only that the flying tourbillon on that watch is visible on the dial, as its pretty much the norm nowadays. A big, onion-like crown adds charm to the ever-elegant composition, highlighted by the delicate polished surfaces of the case, the two-step round-ed bezel and finely curved lugs.
Through the caseback, the magnificence of the German architecture and aesthetics of this Glashütte is revealed. The classic German three-quarter mainplate of the hand-wound caliber 54-01 dominates the back of the watch, revealing the charming flying tourbillon below. It is worth remembering that these flying horological whirlwinds don’t have an upper bridge, so its axis is anchored at a bridge beneath it. This solution fully reveals the architecture and technical functioning of the regulating device and the balance wheel it protects against the effects of gravity. Notably, this 3 hertz caliber has an astounding power reserve of 100 hundred hours.
The aesthetic of the 54-01 caliber emulates Helwig’s earlier creations in this tenor and truly shows off an extreme refinement. Numerous decorations such as the sunray finishing on the barrel cover, the Glashütte stripes on the plate, the blued screws and the gold chatons mounted on screws all add to the fascinating appearance of this Glashütte Original awesome wristwatch. A brown Louisiana alligator-leather strap with a buckle closure ensures a rick-looking fit on the wrist and rounds up the exquisite look of this classy timepiece, available only through GO boutiques and selected retailers worldwide. Herr Helwig would be proud.
Mechanical hand-wound; Cal. 54-01; hours, minutes and small seconds; flying tourbillon visible through the caseback; 21,600 beats per hour; 100-hour power reserve
Rose gold, 40 mm in diameter, sapphire caseback, 30-meter water-resistance
Louisiana aligator leather with rose gold pin buckle
25-piece limited edition