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Review: An innovative new remontoir tourbillon: Strehler Trans-axial Remontoir Tourbillon

with exclusive design drawings
by Peter Chong on May 3, 2018

From the creative mind of Andreas Strehler we have the new Strehler Trans-axial Remontoir Tourbillon. A technical tour de force that perhaps only one like Andreas can do. In this article, we explore the watch in-depth, with additional drawings exclusively supplied to us by Andreas. 

 

Andreas Strehler

Andreas Strehler is a master watchmaking genius. Andreas made his name in the early AHCI years as being the boy genius some 20 years ago. Prior to that, he began his career in Renaud et Papi as head prototypist in 1991. As he became independent and started to develop his own watches, he also worked for other companies, applying his knowledge and savoir faire to solve mechanical problems with complicated watches. He was the creator of the Moser’s Perpetual calendar system in 2003. And of the world’s most accurate moonphase display with an accuracy of 1 day in 2 million years in 2014. And this year, he presented the Transaxle Tourbillon.

 

Strehler Trans-axial Remontoir Tourbillon

 

At first look, it is already an impressive looking watch. The dial is fully skeletonized, allowing the full guts of the movement to be seen from the dial side. And it features a seconds morte driven directly from the rewinding of a one second remontoire. What is a bit unusual is that the remontoire is located on the same axis as the tourbillon and drives it directly. Andreas’ method is simple and effective and has proven itself in his other Sauterelle series which use the same arrangement. Compare this to the very complicated, though still very effective, Greubel Forsey Différential d’Égalité.

At first encounter, there is no running away from the fact that the Strehler Trans-axial Remontoir Tourbillon is s stunningly beautiful watch.

 

 

The case, dial and hands

The case is the classical Strehler case that he uses for his Papillon collection. The case features a complex shape, perhaps reminiscent of a square with bowed sides to simulate a near round final case shape. The lugs are welded like horns to the sides, and the case shape is rather unusual, but quite nice and elegant, and has since become Andreas’ calling card.

In the Trans-axial Tourbillon, the case is crafted in white gold.

 

 

The hands are swallow shaped for the hour, minute, and a simpler shape for the seconds and power reserve. All are in steel and flame blued, and stands out in contrast to the almost vestigial dial, and gilt bridges and plates below.. The dial proper is just a chapter ring for the hours/minutes, and another for the seconds. The rest of the dial is skeletonized to the max, allowing a full view of the movement. Below the hour minute chapter ring “dial”, the conical gears for the keyless works which is another of Andreas’ signatures is visible.

And at 9 o’clock, the pride of place is taken by a rather large tourbillon cage. The entire movement train is visible and one can track the flow of power from the mainspring barrels to the cannon wheel, and from there the train goes behind the plate to the third wheel (still visible from the dial side) which drives the tourbillon carriage. From the other wing and tapping directly to the mainspring is the power reserve mechanism making its train visible from about 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock. With the exception of the indirectly driven seconds hand, which is “mysteriously” driven below the dial, and appears to float and move without connection to any other part of the train.

 

 

This is a powerful aesthetic. The one minute tourbillon in its magnificently shaped and finished cage sits within the beautiful curved and sensuous shaped cock bridge which holds it. The bridge is opened up to show 4 inward corners. This bridge shape is repeated for the bridge holding the barrel and subsidiary seconds hand, which is given a different gilt finish.

 

The movement

The movement is unveiled from the front.

 

 

 

The tourbillon is magnificently designed and looks beautiful.

 

 

The power from the twin mainspring barrel is blocked by a satelite arm held in position by a star wheel. One tooth of this star wheel is resting on the palette stone of the palette arm. The palette arm moves constantly as the remontoir spring discharges and provides motive power power to the tourbillon. And once a second, the palette arm releases the star wheel, which turns one tooth and the satellite arm jumps 6°, rewinding the remontoir. This system has proven itself in Strehler’s other watches like the Sauterelle.

The remontoir spring reduces the power of the mainspring into smaller bites, and thus provides nearly constant force to the escapement. The remontoir mechanism is coaxial with the tourbillon, hence the name Trans-axial, and requires no additional pinions or wheels.

 

 

 

 

 

From the case back, the watch looks equally stunning. Here we see the large third wheel engaging with the pivot of the tourbillon, providing the motive force. We can also see the plate with the fixed fourth wheel which engages with the tourbillon carriage.

Also visible, is the “mysterious” drive from the third wheel to the indirectly driven seconds hand. In the photograph below this is the wheel at 10 o’clock.

 

The finishing of the movement is first rate. All the haute horlogerie touches are executed with total mastery, as one would expect from a watch coming out of Andreas Strehler’s workshops.

 

Competitive Landscape

At a price starting from 182’500CHF (excl. VAT/Tax) with Gold case, the Strehler Trans-axial Remontoir Tourbillon is certainly not for the faint hearted. But we think its par for the course, and the price is not excessively exorbitant given the competition. Here we are again faced with very few inhabitants. The criteria of a remontoir tourbillon with a skeleton dial is somewhat a rarity.

Perhaps we begin with the Arnold & Son Constant Force Tourbillon (S$ 276,400 inclusive of GST).

 

Arnold & Son Constant Force Tourbillon, in 18k red gold.

 

It too is skeletonized. It has a remontoir, and is a tourbillon with a power reserve indicator. It too sports an indirectly driven seconds hand. The movement is also beautifully finished, but perhaps in a more geeky way than the aesthetics presented by the Strehler.

Next we consider one which is not skeletonized, but is the first remontoir ever to be installed in a wrist watch. This will be the F. P. Journe Souverain Remontoir Tourbillon d’Égalité (S$ 237,200 inclusive of GST for the rose gold version).

 

 

This is a magnificent watch, with a large tourbillon at 9. The first generation examples had brass movements and a pierced dial to show the jumping remontoir as it rewinds. Subsequent generations had a rose gold movement and in the place of the aperture in the dial, is a seconds morte mechanism. The Journe also is fitted with a power reserve indicator.

We might also consider the Greubel Forsey Differential d’Égalité (CHF 265,000 before taxes) in the landscape.

 

 

The Greubel Forsey does not feature a tourbillon, only their signature inclined escapement. But it does have a power reserve indicator and a partially skeletonized dial. It features a second morte system driven directly by the remontoir, and not the indirectly driven seconds hand. And it also features the top rate Greubel Forsey finishing.

 

Concluding thoughts

In concluding, we find much to love about the Strehler Trans-axle Remontoir Tourbillon. The design is innovative. The aesthetics are magnificent. The finishing first rate. And even the price, though may seem to be high, is in the same ball park as the competition. The watch made it to the Chief Editor’s Top 5 from Baselworld 2018. And that is perhaps enough of a palmarès. 

 

 

 

Strehler Trans-axial Remontoir Tourbillon Technical Specifications

Calibre

Trans-axial Remontoir Tourbillon
Impulse: Double main spring barrel, energy regulated by a remontoir d’égalité
Plates and bridges: Central Main Plate and bridges are decorated to the highest standards, edges are bevelled and polished by hand, fully decorated movement
Escapement: Andreas Strehler escapement
Regulating system: Free-Sprung balance with Breguet overcoil and four adjustment screws
Frequency: 3 Hz / 21’600 A/h
Number of jewels: 37
Number of individual parts: 250
Size: 32.0 x 30.0 mm
Height: 7.01 mm (without Tourbillon)
Power reserve: 78 h, limited by a differential stop works
Functions: Hour, minute, small jumping second, constant force, Tourbillon, power reserve indication (micro differential gear train)
Winding-mechanism: Hand winding with conical gear wheels
Speciality: Constant force Tourbillon, Remontoir trans-axial underneath the Tourbillon, special roller bearing for the remontoir

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