The Low Down
The result of a partnership with Label Noir, a customization company famed for its exploration of blackness as well as installing tourbillons in Rolex watches, the Perrelet Turbine EVO Label Noir is a distinctive monochromatic take on the brand’s flagship model.
Since the revival of the Perrelet in the early 1990s, the automatic winding mechanism, in particular, a souped-up, double-rotor system, has been central to the visual and mechanical identity of the brand. Developed with the help of independent watchmaker, Paul Gerber who is best known for his own triple-rotor movement, the double-rotor mechanism saw the introduction of a second rotor positioned on the face of the watch, in addition to having a conventional oscillating weight located on the reverse. Apart from supplementing the energy supplied to the mainspring, the additional rotor also provides an unusual degree of animation on a time-only watch.
To make the most of this design, Perrelet transformed the dial-side rotor into a propeller in 2009, with the use of 12 blades made from aluminium, five of which affixed with circular weights to ensure the turbine rotates with the slightest wrist motion. A decade later, the brand unveiled the Turbine EVO, which was equipped with a brand new COSC-certified P-331-MH automatic caliber developed internally by its sister company Soprod within the Festina Group.
Limited to 50 pieces, the Turbine EVO Label Noir is decked out in alternating shades of black and grey to create remarkable visibility despite its discreet appearance. Its steel case is coated with grey ADLC, echoing a grey chapter ring while the bezel and menacing-looking turbine blades are rendered in black ADLC, as is the seconds hand to ensure its motion doesn’t contend with the animation. To create a spectacular optical effect, the brass dial beneath the oscillating weight has further undergone an electrocasting chemical process to achieve a distinctive marbled appearance. The hands and indexes are also filled with black SuperLuminova.
At 44mm, the watch is undeniably large, but by virtue of being blacked-out as well as having an integrated strap that fits seamlessly to the case, it should feel and look smaller on the wrist. It houses the same P-331-MH caliber, which apart from being COSC-certified, has also earned the Chronofiable certification issued by the Laboratoire Dubois, a La Chaux-de-Fonds-based independent agency that assesses a watch’s reliability by putting it through a battery of tests including accelerated ageing to simulate six months of actual wear. Since Perrelet was acquired by Festina in 2004, it has gained access to Soprod as well as Manufacture des Spiraux et Echappements, which supplies Soprod with regulatory components including the escapement and hairspring. As such, in comparison to other competitors of ETA, which rely on Nivarox for hairsprings, Soprod movements are developed and produced entirely within the group.
Entirely blacked-out watches can sometimes take away details, dimension and sense of dynamism in a watch, resulting in a blurred dark inert mass that visually weighs down the entire arm, but the Turbine Evo Label Noir shows how far you can get with a few lighter and clearer elements. Emmanuel Curti, founder of Label Noir, cleverly employed a variation of black and grey tones to enhance the architecture and characteristic dynamism of the Turbine EVO, making it perhaps the most compelling version to date.
Movement: Automatic P-331-MH; 42 hours of power reserve; 4 Hz or 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 44mm; grey ADLC-coated stainless steel with a black ADLC bezel and fluted crown
Strap: Black bi-material strap in PU and black alligator leather
Limited edition: 50 pieces
Price and availability: CHF 4700; available online both at the Label Noir and the Perrelet websites as well as retailers.