Many watch brands have ceased to exist since the 70s due to the “quartz crisis”. Angelus was one of them, and a peek into their history books showed us that they had some impressive offerings prior to their demise. Recently, the brand was resurrected by Manufacture La Joux-Perret, the sister brand of Arnold and Son. Both are owned by Citizen.
The company was created in 1891, in Le Locle, by Albert and Gustav Stolz. The company back then was known to have created movements and multi-complication wristwatches. One of their most famous works was the 8-days power reserve movement, which was used by Panerai. They were also rather innovative, and they were the first to create a chronograph with a calendar, as well as the first fully waterproof repeater wristwatch, just to name a few. Well, seems like they have had a rather impressive history. But how does the new watch adds up, after a hiatus of 30 years?
The first impression that this watch gave us was rather refreshing and impressive, to say the least. The design is a little unorthodox from traditional watchmaking, and it seems as though it is competing with independent powerhouses like MB&F, Hautlence, and Urwerk. Not a bad thing, actually. In fact, we thought that this bold move is rather respectable, since this is their first timepiece since the 70s. The combination of an avant-garde design with hints of the iconic industrial design cues from the 70s worked rather well indeed.
The idea of having a deconstructed movement is rather cool as well. This allows us to appreciate the various portions of the movement in full glory (in which the various pieces of sapphire crystals play a vital role as well), and it also gives us a rather interesting perspective of the watch. This is definitely one of the more conversational pieces we have seen so far, at least for this year’s Pre-Baselworld launches.
However, there are some legibility issues with the dial. Due to the white minute markings on the dial, and the use of white hands (with the black SuperLuminova, which again blends in well with the black dial) sort of makes it a little tough to read the time. We felt that the watch could have done without the white minute markers actually.
The watch is powered by Angelus’s own Calibre A100, a manual winding movement which features a power reserve of around 90 hours. This is achieved by having two main spring barrels, in which it is sized optimally to have a flatter torque curve to ensure greater accuracy as well. The movement also features a spectacular flying tourbillon, a dead-beat second hand, as well as a linear power reserve indicator.
We liked how Angelus chose to incorporate these complications. While these complications are definitely putting the watch into the haute horlogerie category, we are pleased to say that the designers did not attempt to over-complicate the design of the watch. It is deceptively simple and pleasant looking, and it does not beg for any unwanted attention. At the same time, these complications embodies the story of where Angelus left off. The dead-beat second hand is a tongue-in-cheek response to the quartz powered watches, in which the latter’s seconds hand operates in a similar fashion. The flying tourbillon, on the other hand, is a signal and an intent to showcase the horological prowess of the watchmaker.
We were rather impressed by the U10 Tourbillon Lumiere, especially with the subtle touches that Angelus had placed into this timepiece. The 52.1mm x 30.4mm BO-988 specific annealed stainless steel case watch features interesting touches, such as the use of black SuperLuminova on the hands (in which it gives out a blue glow in the dark), as well as the use of black PVD on the inside of the watch. The movement, as seen from the picture, is rather well-finished indeed. On paper, it seems that this is has got a rather tasty prospect. However, there is a need for a hands-on session before we can pass on the verdict for this timepiece. But things are definitely looking well at the moment.
We do not have a clue as to how much this timepiece would cost, but we reckon it would be in the range of around USD$30,000 to USD$50,000. Also, only 25 pieces will be made available. But with this as a stepping stone, Angelus will certainly be on our watchlist in the future.
Specifications from Press Release
Calibre: A100, one-minute flying tourbillon movement
Dimensions: 52.10 mm x 30.40 mm
Thickness: 7.50 mm
Power reserve: 90 h, double barrel
Frequency: 2.5Hz / 18,000 vph
Tourbillon: 16.25 mm cage diameter, Swiss lever escapement, screwed balance and hairspring with Breguet overcoil
Functions: hours, minutes, central dead beat seconds, one-minute flying tourbillon, linear power reserve indication
Movement decoration: nickel-silver movement, rhodium treated with haute horlogerie finishing: satin-finished main plate with laser engraved pattern, satin-finished bridges with chamfered and polished edges, plate dial side with sunray satin-finish, circular satin-finished wheels, screws with bevelled and mirror-polished heads, two laser-engraved and enamelled ratchets
Tourbillon finishing: bead-blasted and satin-finished titanium tourbillon bridge, entire tourbillon cage with hand-chamfered and polished edges and either satin-finished or mirror-polished surfaces
Colour: translucent-grey coated concave sapphire and black outer ring
Double white (C1) Super-LumiNova dots at 12 o’clock
Single white (C1) Super-LumiNova dots at 3, 6 & 9 o’clock
Hour, minute & power reserve hands: brushed-finished, rhodium-treated, with black Super-LumiNova that glows blue in the dark
Dead beat seconds hand: white lacquered
Material: BO-988 specific annealed stainless steel, bead-blasted and treated with black PVD on the inside
Dimensions: 62.75 mm x 38 mm
Thickness: 15 mm including sapphire crystals
Sapphire crystals: 7 in total, treated with anti-reflective coating
Back: see-though sapphire crystal
Water-resistant: 30 m
Strap and buckle
Strap: hand-stitched black alligator leather
Buckle: stainless steel folding buckle
Limitation and reference
Limited edition: 25 pieces