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SIHH 2015: Montblanc - Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres

Inspired to the expeditions and pioneering spirit of the famous Portuguese explorer, the new Vasco da Gama watch collection launched by Montblanc at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2015 has its "flagship" timepiece in the Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama model.

The 47-mm-diameter and 15.38-mm-height red gold case surrounds a three-dimensional dial constructed in various parts and on different levels. The upper part of the dial is the stage for the tourbillon with its convex, polished tourbillon bridge. Around the tourbillon, the dial is decorated with a wavy guilloché motif.

The lower portion of the dial is dominated by the two globes and the home-time indication in the form of a three-dimensional compass rose with a "Fleur-de-Lys" shaped hand.

The globes illustrate the passage of the days and nights in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Finely crafted, the two globes are fixed while two 24-hour worldtime indicator discs rotate once per day around them. The disc for the Northern Hemisphere turns clockwise; its counterpart for the Southern Hemisphere rotates anticlockwise.

This arrangement enables the watch’s wearer to view, in the course of the day, the sunlit halves of the two globes and the halves that are currently turned away from the sun. The video at the end of the article well explains how the whole system works.

With the aid of the meridians of longitude, it is possible to read the current hour in any desired part of the world by following the 24-hour world-time display on the two discs.

The continually running and independently adjustable display for the home time at 6 o’clock is inspired by the marble compass rose at the base of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the monument in Lisbon which commemorates Portuguese discoverers, and it is composed of four parts, each of which is entirely handmade and manually decorated.

The 281-part hand-wound Calibre MB M68.40, featuring a 91-part tourbillon mechanism which performs one rotation around its own axis every sixty seconds, is equipped with a sophisticated cylindrical hairspring.

Like a conventional balance-spring, a cylindrical balance-spring is a concentrically wound strip of elastic metal; however instead of being wound side by side, at increasing distances from a common centre and all on the same plane, its individual turns are all of equal diameter and are wound one atop the other. This eliminates the slight eccentricity of the centre of gravity and guarantees exceptional accuracy.

The doubly curved, three-dimensional, endless loop of the tourbillon bridge nicely harmonises with the two globes on the dial. A master watchmaker requires more than seven days to entirely handcraft this distinctive tourbillon bridge and to give it an absolutely immaculate polished finish.

The balance’s frequency is 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz). Power reserve is 48 hours.

The names of 24 cities in the Northern Hemisphere and 24 in the Southern one are engraved on the back of the case. The individual number of each timepiece (from 01/18 to 18/18), the serial number and the reference numbers  are engraved on the sapphire crystal in the back of the case. The price of the Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama (ref. 111675) is about Euro 250,000.

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