Holder of the least expensive Swiss made tourbillon in the market – Horage follows up with their first effort feat with another. They call this new tourbillon the Lensman 1, and is a tribute to photography.
Press release details with commentary in italics.
Horage releases a new tourbillon – the Lensman 1
The price for the new Horage Lensman 1 is set at CHF 8,390 during the pre-order period (tax, duty and shipping inclusive). Pre-orders will open on November 2022 for five days. Horage says they will announce the exact dates with a 10 day notice. The watch will be produced as a single edition with a 500 piece cap on production. From February 28, 2023 onwards, the Lensman 1 will be set at a retail price of CHF 8,890.
Interestingly, customers who have spent CHF 1,000 or more on a Horage will receive a reduced price of CHF 7,990.
We were very impressed with the first tourbillon outing by Horage, and covered the watch in our detailed review of the Horage Tourbillon 1 here. Not only for the ultra low pricing offered, but also by what we saw with the build quality and mechanics of the watch. Also, the story of the Tourbillon 1 is very interesting, with much drama, and we recommend you read it. Horage also took the interesting route competition to sell off the original prototype made by La Joux-Perret at a crazy price of CHF 1.
The new watch appears to be a new model with the same K-Tou movement within. This movement was also used in the Horage Tourbillon 1. The case, dial, hands, and design details are, however, a brand new story. And hence a new watch.
The design draws inspiration from the world of photography. We are intrigued by the constant reference to Oscar Barnack, who invented the first 35mm film camera for Leica. Afterall, Leica does offer two watches – the L1 and L2, which are time only, and time only with power reserve indicator for considerable more money than the Lenseman 1. And no tourbillon. Of course. There is also strong references to Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the world’s most famous street photographers who was a Leica camera user.
The design thus takes cues from the design of Leica cameras and lenses. With references to ease of operations, simplicity of the architecture and the form meets function philosophy. The case takes cues from the barrel design of a Leic M lens, engraved with aperture markings of a f/0.95 Leica Noctilux. The knurled strips just below the glass bezel on the upper side of the case are reminiscent of the focus ring on the lens. And to cap this, the cyclops is placed under a circular magnifying glass cyclops – like those found on Rolex, except it is much larger as it needs to magnify the entire tourbillon cage measuring 11.6mm in diameter instead of just a date display.
It also bears strong hints to the quality of the design and construction of Leica cameras, which can last a lifetime. Much like mechanical watches.The release document does not make reference to it, but the monochrome look of the watch, safe for the blue screw (yes only 1) on the tourbillon cage, the blue silicon escapement and the red rubies being the only colour elements.
Since the first Horage Tourbillon 1, the retail price has increased. Rather significantly, but as Horage is working from a rather low base, the premium of about CHF 1k puts the new Lensman 1 at still a very reasonable CHF 8.4k. And as did its predecessor, currently holds the record for the least expensive Swiss made tourbillon in the market.
We have requested for a review sample to be able to look for ourselves the claims made by the rather detailed release we received. And Horage has agreed to send us a copy when they get a chance. We will report back with our own photographs of this watch and a comprehensive hands on review.
has always been enamored with seeking out newness. Our product catalogue is quite diverse and no two watches are alike, bringing a fresh look to the horolo- gical enthusiasts. As always, we look to both our team and community for inspiration on each project. Horage is passionate about horology, of course, but members of our team are also photographers as are so many in our community.
In essence everyone has had a crack at photography as cameras have become a part of our everyday lives th- rough smartphones, which are in just about every pocket these days. From the creatives that offer support with studio and lifestyle imagery, media outlets that create engaging pictures for product reviews and most import- ant, our community of enthusiasts that create photos and videos of beloved timepieces and share them across social media, the well of inspiration for this project ran deep and we got to work.
The inspiration starts well before all of our time for the Lensman series. Both photography and horology pionee- rs such as the inventor of the 35mm camera Oskar Bar- nack and Abraham-Louis Breguet, inventor of the tour- billon have legacies that inspired future creatives and watchmakers to push innovation and creative expression forward.
CLOSE TO HOME
Horage Marketing Director, Landon Stirling, has a background in professional photography.
He has an eye for composition and bringing light to the overlooked scenes and subjects.
From a gear perspective he is very minimalistic and he prefers to work with one lens and one camera whene- ver possible, opting for camera bodies that are intui- tive and lenses that produce the best optical results. Less is more, as they say, and he wanted to convey this in the Lensman series.
Engineer Markus Lindstedt is a camera aficionado with a passion for the technical attributes of camera gear. Markus thrives on the details and is a total gear head. He has an other worldly ability to break down complex information and present solutions to his peers in a very uncomplicated manner. His first drawings of sug- gested Lensman watch functions were the catalyst of the series.
In early 2021 together with the Horage founders Tzuyu Huang and Andreas Felsl the team started to work on how to bridge the worlds of photo- graphy and horology. Friends close to the brand like Horage photographer Kevin Lo caught wind of the project and a seemingly endless trail of ideas began to flow.
Tourbillon 1 is a project that set the stage for Horage‘s capabilities as a movement developer and watchma- ker. With just 260 pieces created, it quickly sold out and the community has been asking for more.
With a tourbillon caliber in hand we found a new way to pre- sent it that to our knowledge has not been attempted before. The tourbillon is among the most influential of complications that demonstrates true mechanical prowess and artisanship of a brand. Invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in the late 1700s, it brings the balance wheel and escapement together in a rotating cage. The purpose is to counteract the forces of
gravity by constantly shifting the position of these regulating elements, ultimately improving accuracy. The invention of the tourbillon was not to create an elaborate decoration as is the case today, but rather a “tool” to improve movement perfor- mance. Breguet was the performance watchmaker of his day and his technology continues to improve a watch‘s run-time. The complexity and difficulty to produce a tourbillon fascina- tes both watchmakers and enthusiasts alike. For the Lensman series we looked to emphasizes the allure of the tourbillon without compromising performance for decoration. To achie- ve this a sapphire crystal cyclops sits atop the titanium flying tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock.
As engineers, our job is not only to build a high-performance movement but to refine pro- cesses and architecture for the betterment of future stability. One example is the addition of a silicon hairspring. Better isochronism is achie- ved, and our team can regulate movements more easily. The overall silicon escapement system has an incredible lifespan between service intervals compared to traditional Swiss lever escapements. Anti-magnetism is a plus but is greatly overshado- wed by the above points.Silvan Deutchemann and Jonas Nydegger, engineers
THE MEANING OF LENSMAN
Improving the accuracy of time should be at the core of any mechanical movement maker. Photography is much the same in that a camera should improve image capture. We looked to Oskar Barnack who designed the first commercial 35mm camera. It truly ushered in the age of modern street photography with a compact, intuitive design. The Lensman 1 honours this achievement with design elements of the mo- dern 35mm rangefinder and lens details on the case and dial. The case back also summarizes a quote by Henri Cartier-Bres- son, a pioneering French candid photographer who embraced 35mm film cameras and inspired generations of street photo- graphers.
Mechanical 35mm cameras can last a lifetime with proper care and can be passed down to younger generations, a testament to their mechanical quality. The same is true for mechanical watches. Images captured with a camera provide a moment in time that can be invaluable, but the camera itself, just like a watch, also carry memories and nostalgia for the owner and future generations. You simply cannot put a price on either.
A tourbillon rotates 360 degrees every 60 seconds while oscillating back and forth. On a micro-mechanical level, this movement is brutal and the heavier or more com- plex a tourbillon is, the higher the likelihood it‘ll requi- re more energy, suffer accuracy loss and have increa- sed service intervals. Therefore, reducing a tourbillon‘s weight and optimizing moving parts is the „pièce de résistance“ for movement engineers. As performance watchmakers, our team has engineered the K-TOU ca- liber with this in mind. At just 0.29 grams the titanium tourbillon cage is one of the lightest cages in the world. It‘s a marvel of micro-mechanical engineering conside- ring that 34 parts comprise it‘s thin 3.4mm profile and 11.6mm diameter.
The focal point of Lensman 1 is naturally the titanium flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock. Such a flat and lightweight tourbillon cage is a remarkable achievement from Swit- zerland‘s youngest horological engineering team. Con- tributing to the cage‘s lightness is the anti-magnetic silicon escape wheel, anchor, and hairspring. The latter is an upgrade to the first generation K-TOU tourbillon movement, which used a steel hairspring. As with all Horage movements, K-TOU is accurate to chronometer standards (-4/+6 seconds per day) with customers re- porting variations as good as 0 to +/- 2 seconds per day.
A magnifying cyclops lens atop the domed sapphire crystal enlarges the titanium flying tourbillon cage for a magnified view, similar to cyclops counterparts over a date window. The top bridge of the tourbillon cage has a blued screw that can double as a seconds indicator. This hand-wound caliber has a beat rate of 25,200vph or 3.5Hz, which is standard across all Horage calibers and delivers an astounding +120-hour power reserve (5 days) via a single barrel. The black bridge work on the back creates a striking contrast between the ceramic bearing system that the tourbillon cage sits on and the inner workings of the movement, its 19 jewels with a T5 titanium watch case. Aside from just three parts, those being the silicon components that are made in Germa- ny, everything that makes up the K-TOU movement is engineered and manufactured in Switzerland.
At 41mm in diameter and a thin 10.3mm profile, the case is stunningly proportioned. The lug-to-lug of 49mm combined with the case dimensions make for a very comfortable fit for the majority of wrists. Grade T5 titanium (Ti 6AI-4V) as used in the Lensman 1 case and crown is a premium titanium alloy comprised of 90% titanium, 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium. The composition of T5 make it significantly harder and stronger than T2, not to mention an increase in heat and corrosion resistance. Grade T2 titanium is the industry standard and typically used throughout the watch industry for entry level titanium timepieces. It‘s a pure titanium that‘s less expensive to produce. Ho- wever, T2 is easier to scratch and has a lower tensile strength over its premium counterpart, T5. This Gra- de 5 titanium is very lightweight and the reduction in case weight makes for wonderful wearing comfort on the wrist. Another important detail of working with T5 is the ability to achieve an incredible polish with a pure and clean metallic look. Brush decoration work with T5 is also superior to T2. The resulting case finish on Lensman 1 is nothing short of impeccable.
The aesthetic of the case is inspired by a manual focus camera lens. The body is laser etched with the mar- kings of a f/0.95 aperture ring. An f/0.95 lens is rare and anything under f/1.0 is among the fastest lenses in the world. By fast, it means it allows the most amount of light through the lens to the camera, making it more capable of exposing subjects in lower light. A bypro- duct of this big aperture is the beautiful shallow depth of field called bokeh which is often found in portrait photography. Shallow depth of field is a narrow/shal- low area of an image that is sharp with the rest out of focus, the quality and structure of the out of focus area is bokeh. A shallow depth of field draws your eye to what is in focus, the subject, just like a tourbillon cage pulls your eye into the movement. To round out the look of the case is a fixed bezel that‘s reminiscent of a lens‘ focus ring.
Tourbillons, specifically flying tourbillons, are the epi- tome of mechanical fascination. The tourbillon cage not only serves a very relevant purpose in bettering a movement‘s accuracy, it‘s a mesmerizing object and the reason it‘s typically placed centre stage on the dial side. For Lensman 1, we looked to accentuate the tourbillon‘s effect and found inspiration in the multiple layers of concave and convex glass in lenses. In the watch world, the term „cyclops“ has been used to denote the mag- nifying glass over date windows used in some watches.
We looked at how we could put a new spin on the cy- clops and magnify intricacies of the tourbillon cage. The result is an oversized cyclops lens at 6 o‘clock directly over the tourbillon and it‘s sure to breathe new life into the most mundane of boardroom meetings. A five layer anti-reflective sapphire crystal protects the dial to ensu- re optimal legibility in daylight as well as when photogra- phing your watch. And photograph it you should!
DIAL & DETAILS INSPIRED BY PHOTOGRAPHERS
Blacked out cameras are a hallmark of professional photographers, especially those taking candid street shots. Product photographers also benefit when wor- king with highly reflective objects such as watches to avoid elements of the camera case showing in reflec- tive parts. Landon is one of those photographers that personalizes his cameras by covering them with black electrical tape and he requested that the watch carry this ethos.
“The camera is a tool and not the subject.
It shouldn‘t distract from the task or attract unwanted eyes. I also simply like the aesthetic of understating things and a side effect is they become points of conversation later on”. – Landon
Looking back at the original 35mm Barnack camera, it was almost entirely blacked out, although many subsequent models had silver finishes. Pro models, however, often remained black and were even custom finished for specific photographers (and prized by col- lectors today). For Lensman 1, a balance was found between the black dial and titanium case.
Overall, the aesthetic of the dial and case remain so- mewhat discreet. The black dial with black HORAGE logo and black Swiss Super LumiNova® appliques, along with the black onyx stone on the crown and op- tion of black stitched leather strap pay homage to pro photographers. Many void/delete high contrast details like logos and texts on their cameras with simple elec- trical tape, but we did the work for you in a much more elegant way. The appliques themselves are brushed black gold that have both a polished and deep black appearance, depending on the light. The diamond cut hour and minute hands are packed with black Su- per-LumiNova® that glow a deep green.
Turning to the case back, the movement itself is finis- hed in black PVD to complement the dial. „One‘s head, one‘s heart and one‘s eye on the same axis“ takes in- spiration from Henri Cartier-Bresson and is found en- graved on the case back ring.
The push pull black onyx finished crown allows for 100 meters of water resistance. Tourbillon 1 achieved the same water resistance rating and its real world feasi- bility was put to the test by triathletes and swimmers alike.
Lensman 1 comes fitted with a choice of handmade, Swiss made black or red stitched calf leather straps with the texture inspired by a camera’s body grip. The strap is finished with Horage‘s proprietary deployant buckle.
The Lensman 1 represents an unprecedented value for a proprietary Swiss Made tourbillon, priced under 9,000 CHF.
Inflation has hit us all hard and Switzerland is no exception. We have decided to not pass on our increased costs of pro- duction to the watch community like so many others have done. Therefore we have managed to keep pricing in line with our initial Tourbillon 1 pre-order. The first Tourbillon 1 pre-order was 6,990 excluding tax, duties and shipping and the second pre-order was 7,490 excluding tax, duties and shipping. With the request coming from our communi- ty we will include tax, duty and shipping in the full price of the watch for Lensman 1 (excluding the few countries with luxury taxes or disproportionate duty regimes on watches).
We’re proud to offer such an amazing value to our watch community without sacrificing quality and precision.
Pre-Orders open in November 2022 for five days only (exact date announced 10 days prior). The watch will be produced as a single edition with
total production dependent on the amount ordered. There‘s a 500 piece cap on production.
Our loyal customers that have spent 1000 CHF or more with Horage will benefit from price of just 7,990 CHF (tax, duty and shipping included).
Anyone is welcome to order Lensman 1 for the No- vember pre-order global price of 8,390 CHF (tax, duty and shipping included).
After the pre-order round ends, Lensman 1 will be available for order until February 28th at 8,890 CHF.
Delivery of November pre-ordered watches is sched- uled for April 2023.
There are two special accessories for preorder purchases that will not be available after pre-orders close.
- Limited, numbered & signed photography book
- Both black and red stitched leather strap
LENSMAN 1 TOURBILLON SPECIFICATIONS
41mm diameter, 10.3mm thin, 49mm lug-to-lug, 22mm lug width.
K-TOU hand-wound flying tourbillon, titanium cage at 0.29 grams and 3.4mm thin, anti-magnetic silicon escapement inclusive of anchor, escape wheel and hairspring, chronometer accuracy at -4/+6 seconds per day, 19 jewels, 3.5 Hz (25,200vph), 120+ hour power re- serve (5 days), blacked out aesthetic on movement main plate. Blued seconds indicator screw on tourbillon cage.
T5 titanium – hand polished and brushed, laser etched with camera lens aperture on side, fixed bezel inspired by camera lens focus ring.
Black with black gold applied indices, black Super-Lumi- Nova® luminous inserts, flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, 60 minute track.
Diamond cut hour and minute hands with black Su- per-LumiNova® luminous inserts.
Push/pull Grade 5 titanium with black onyx inset stone.
Domed sapphire with multi-layer internal anti-reflective coatings, round cyclops magnifying lens over tourbillon aperture at 6 o’clock.
Exhibition, double layer anti-reflective sapphire crystal, engraved with paraphrased quote by French photogra- pher Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Black or red stitched hand/Swiss Made calf leather with camera body-inspired texture and Horage‘s proprietary deployant buckle.