Phillips sells historically important and unique stainless steel prototype tourbillon wristwatch for CHF 1,428,500 all in, at the Geneva Watch Auction. The watch sold after a lengthy bidding war of almost 19 minutes and sets the world-record for any OMEGA sold at auction.
The watch, in superb condition, is not only magnificently attractive but has immense significance in horological history. Featuring a tourbillon escapement with Guillaume balance, it sheds a new light on the history of this complication in wristwatch form, as it is most certainly the first prototype of a series of OMEGA wristwatch tourbillons from the late 1940s that unfortunately never saw the light of day.
The 37.5 mm stainless steel watch, powered by OMEGA’s Manual Calibre “30 I”, has a signed dial and buckle and is accompanied by an extract from the OMEGA Archives, confirming the model’s production date of 1947; and that the watch is the only known period-completed Tourbillon “30 I” wristwatch-cased OMEGA in existence.
In 1947, Omega created twelve Calibre “30 I” tourbillon movements of only 30 mm in diameter to run in the “wristwatch” category of the Geneva, Neuchatel and Kew-Teddington Observatory trials. Between 1947 and 1952 the twelve calibres participated in several trials, and in 1950, even achieved the highest result that had been obtained up until then within the “wristwatch” category in Geneva.
This unique OMEGA model; undiscovered for decades, was produced directly as a wristwatch Tourbillon in 1947 and is not part of the 12 movements known so far, a fact that clearly underlines the importance of its discovery for the history of watchmaking and the brand.
Today OMEGA produces the world’s only automatic Central Tourbillon with Co-Axial escapement, an exquisite offering handcrafted in OMEGA’s Atelier Tourbillon in Biel Switzerland, by a select group of horologists.