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The Kerbedanz Maximus, the world’s largest tourbillon timepiece

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May 2017


Is bigger always better? This Swiss watch and jewelry maker makes the case for it, with a massive titanium tourbillon cage measuring 27 mm.

In many respects, technological progress is defined by miniaturization. Just think about how big (and limiting) your first ever mobile phone or computer was, and just imagine in what way they will evolve in the future.

When it comes to watchmaking, it’s not always the case that smaller means more advanced. One example is the increasing case sizes of contemporary wristwatches, which is as much down to changing trends as it is to mechanical necessity to accommodate new complications.

The Kerbedanz Maximus, the world's largest tourbillon timepiece

Kerbedanz is the latest brand to go for the “bigger is better” approach, with the release of the limited edition Maximus timepiece. Available in only 99 pieces, the watch allegedly houses the world’s largest tourbillon cage, which measures 27 millimeters across.

In the old days, the word “Maximus” was used to express grandeur and splendor. At its size, the appropriately named Maximus appears to boast a cage almost twice the size of the largest one known to date.

The Kerbedanz Maximus, the world's largest tourbillon timepiece

The Maximus is certainly a change of pace for the brand, which has been applying the multiple crafts inherited from a long family tradition in jewelry making. This has also included some impressive ladies’ wristwatches in the last few years.

But this release is a strong indication by the brand that the watch industry should not forget its watchmaking prowess. Indeed, this massive titanium cage – which weighs online 1.35 grams - is an impressive accomplishment for the Neuchâtel based brand.

With such a big tourbillon, it’s not just a question of doubling the size of every component. Rather, each equation needs to be recalibrated, meaning the overall design needs to be re-considered. As a result of this impressive complication, two patents are pending.

One useful thing about having a super-sized tourbillon is that its intricate mechanics can also be appreciated easier with the naked eye. And unlike a typical tourbillon – which usually rotates every 60 seconds – the Maximus makes a full rotation once every six minutes, which I suppose fits its stature.

The Kerbedanz Maximus, the world's largest tourbillon timepiece

Powering that giant flying tourbillon is the Caliber KRB-08, which boasts four parallel barrel springs that drive a central wheel mounted on ball-bearings. The movement runs at a relatively low frequency of 2.5 Hertz as a result, delivering a power reserve of 48 hours, which is displayed dial-side.

Considering it houses such a large tourbillon cage, the in-house hand-wound movement fits in a comparatively modest 49 mm case made of titanium, platinum and 18-karat rose gold.

With so many complication in today’s market, many brands focus on developing a tourbillon model to be considered serious watchmakers. Kerbedanz had to do something different to stand out, and with the Maximus they literally do.