Only twenty pieces of this Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 8 will probably be produced (ten with the red dial( and ten in anthracite grey). We don’t yet have a verified cost, but when the HDT 7’s $600,000 price tag was any hint, anticipate those twenty five owners to be extremely well-heeled indeed. Harry Winston’s Project Z collection has been around for over a decade now, and also the famous jeweler and watch manufacturer has recently shown off the 10th watch in the group. Dubbed very simply the Harry Winston Project Z10 watch, this watch, like its predecessors, features the use of Zalium and is heavily influenced by engineering and architecture.If the Harry Winston Project Z is unfamiliar to you, here’s a brief recap. The Z refers to Zalium, a private zirconium-based alloy developed by Ron Winston, the son of Harry Winston, who also was a rather talented chemical engineer who did a lot of use rocket propellants.He soon realized that the properties of zirconium were ideal for watchmaking. Not only was it extremely resistant to corrosion, it was also watertight, very strong, and mild. Ron then produced a distinctive zirconium metal and named it Zalium. Back in 2004, the first Harry Winston Project Z watch has been launched and this was the beginning of the collection.Fast forward 12 decades and we have the 10th watch at the group – the Harry Winston Project Z10 watch. Like the remainder of the Task Z watches which preceded it, the Harry Winston Project Z10 view has a case made from Zalium. The case is 42.2mm wide and has a chunky design with very pronounced crown guards. The case is also full of details, which is impressive considering how difficult it’s to work with Zalium due to its hardness. It’s harder than stainless steel and even titanium.
The Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 5 watch is likely to be the final model of the limited edition collection legacy that began with the first Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon in 2009. From the start the Histoire de Tourbillon series was meant to be limited, and represent just a handful of watches. Each is limited to just 20 pieces, making these among the most rare, highly-exotic timepieces in the world. The Histoire de Tourbillon project began prior to The Swatch Group’s acquisition of Harry Winston so that is why it is still being released, but all management signs seem to point to a future where timepieces like this will no longer be part of Harry Winston’s “brand strategy.”
Harry Winston did not show a final Histoire de Tourbillon 5 watch at Baselworld 2014. In 2013 they did show the Histoire de Tourbillon 4. All that is available of the 5 are some renderings of what the watch will look like, and given Harry Winston’s typical practices, we expect the timepiece will be slowly developed and released… whenever they feel like doing so. Swatch Group purchased the brand so that they would have a high-end jewelry company under their umbrella of brands. In a sense it was done because The Swatch Group’s relationship with Tiffany & Co. fell apart, so rather than partner with a company they simply purchased it.
In the early 2000s, when Max Busser was heading the watch division at Harry Winston he instituted the Opus collection, where Harry Winston collaborated with high-end independent watch makers to produce amazingly complex limited edition men’s watches. It was a bit out of character for a brand known for diamond-studded timepieces and other items of elegance. The Opus collection helped spawn some other interesting men’s collections in the brand as well as the Histoire de Tourbillon–which I always called “Opus light” (though not “light” from a price perspective).
The Harry Winston Project Z10 features an off-center principal dial which is made up of a black grid with a dark satin-finished chapter band and rhodium hour markers. Elsewhere, you will find more grids and lattices rendered in blue anodized aluminum that adorn the dialup, and it draws you to both retrograde displays. At four o’clock is a retrograde day screen, while in the other hand at 8 o’clock is a retrograde minutes display. Finally, at 6 o’clock there’s a date display.According into the new, the inspiration behind the Harry Winston Project Z10 watch comes from the iconic Manhattan Bridge, that is appropriate, taking into consideration the brand is based in New York. This also explains the grid and latticework that adorns the dial.The movement is Harry Winston’s automatic standard HW3305. It is composed of 312 parts, beats at 28,800bph, features a silicon balance spring, and a power reserve of 65 hours. Harry Winston calls it a “double strap” and it is a mix of blue alligator and rubberized. Rubber can be used to line the back of the alligator strap and that should increase the wearing comfort. And although it is not quite as complicated nor as flamboyant as its forebears, its simpler design has allowed it to become more legible and also functional. The Harry Winston Project Z10 watch will be limited to only 300 pieces, and it is priced at $22,100.
The point of the Histoire de Tourbillon collection was to go wild with the concept of tourbillons and overall case design. The Histoire de Tourbillon 5 has a triple axis tourbillon which exists in a bulbous cage under the sapphire crystal bubble on the left side of the case. The triple axis tourbillon is a tourbillon that revolves on three axis points in a series of cages. The outermost cage rotates once each 300 seconds, the middle cage, once each 75 seconds, and the innermost cage rotates once each 45 seconds. Note that none of them are a standard 60 second tourbillon.
Inside the watch is a manually wound movement known as the caliber HW4303, made up of 381 parts that has a 50 hour power reserve which will operate at 21,600 bph (3Hz). The tourbillon elements contain 143 parts and much of the movement is produced from titanium. Functionally, the movement will indicate the hours and minutes on separate discs on the right on the dial, and there will be a seconds counter near the tourbillon area. Above the tourbillon is a small power reserve indicator.
Harry Winston will produce the Histoire de Tourbillon 5 in 47mm wide case that is a rather thick 21.7mm (due to the tourbillon bubble). It will be produced from 18k rose gold in a case that has a signature Harry Winston design, attached to a black alligator strap. From a design perspective, I still like the first Histoire de Tourbillon watch the most I think, but the 5 isn’t bad. It does look like a combination of the Histoire de Tourbillon 2 and 4, though. Having said that, the Histoire de Tourbillon watch collection was never about elegance or pretty design, but rather being completely “out there.”
While I can’t say for sure that Harry Winston’s new ownership will completely abandon watches like this in the future… I am pretty certain that will be the case. It isn’t really Swatch Group style, and I don’t think it is what they have in mind for the brand moving forward. Though they do need to keep the “legacy” of the brand alive for a while as they transition it to fit their ideals. So the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 5 might be the last of its kind, a period in Harry Winston’s history that I, for one, will miss and have always been surprised by and enjoyed. The Histoire de Tourbillon 5 will be ref. HCOMTT47RR001 and will be limited to just 20 pieces–the same as each other Histoire de Tourbillon model. harrywinston.com