time-keeper


Horage Lensman 1.2 nods to Abraham-Louis Breguet and Oskar Barnack

May 2024


Horage Lensman 1.2 nods to Abraham-Louis Breguet and Oskar Barnack

Honouring the pioneers of photography and watchmaking, the new model emphasises the allure of its titanium flying tourbillon and design elements from a modern 35mm camera, lending lens details to the case and dial, with aesthetics taking inspiration from an all-white Leica camera.

H

orage has always been enamoured with seeking out newness. Its product catalogue is quite diverse and no two watches are alike, bringing a fresh look to the horological enthusiasts. As always, the company looks to both its team and community for inspiration on each project. Horage is passionate about horology, of course, but members of its team are also photographers, as are so many in its community.

In essence everyone has had a crack at photography as cameras have become a part of our everyday lives through smartphones, which are in just about every pocket these days. From the creatives that offer support with studio and lifestyle imagery, media outlets that create engaging pictures for product reviews and most important, its community of enthusiasts that create photos and videos of beloved timepieces and share them across social media, the well of inspiration for this project ran deep and the team got to work.

The inspiration starts much before all of our time for the Lensman series. Both photography and horology pioneers such as the inventor of the 35mm camera Oskar Barnack and Abraham-Louis Breguet, inventor of the tourbillon have legacies that inspired future creatives and watchmakers to push innovation and creative expression forward.

Tourbillon 1 is a project that set the stage for Horage‘s capabilities as a movement developer and watchmaker. With just 260 pieces created, it quickly sold out and the community has been asking for more.

With a tourbillon caliber in hand the brand found a new way to present it that, to its knowledge, has not been attempted before. The tourbillon is among the most influential of complications that demonstrates true mechanical prowess and artisanship of a brand. Invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in the late 1700s, it brings the balance wheel and escapement together in a rotating cage.

The purpose is to counteract the forces of gravity by constantly shifting the position of these regulating elements, ultimately improving accuracy. The invention of the tourbillon was not to create an elaborate decoration as is the case today, but rather a “tool” to improve movement performance. Breguet was the performance watchmaker of his day and his technology continues to improve a watch‘s run-time. The complexity and difficulty to produce a tourbillon fascinates both watchmakers and enthusiasts alike. For the Lensman series, the team looked to emphasise the allure of the tourbillon without compromising performance for decoration. To achieve this a sapphire crystal cyclops sits atop the titanium flying tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock.

Improving the accuracy of time should be at the core of any mechanical movement maker. Photography is much the same in that a camera should improve image capture. The team looked to Oskar Barnack who designed the first commercial 35mm camera. It truly ushered in the age of modern street photography with a compact, intuitive design. The Lensman 1 honours this achievement with design elements of the modern 35mm rangefinder and lens details on the case and dial. The case back also summarises a quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson, a pioneering French candid photographer who embraced 35mm film cameras and inspired generations of street photographers.

Horage Lensman 1.2 nods to Abraham-Louis Breguet and Oskar Barnack

Mechanical 35mm cameras can last a lifetime with proper care and can be passed down to younger generations, a testament to their mechanical quality. The same is true for mechanical watches. Images captured with a camera provide a moment in time that can be invaluable, but the camera itself, just like a watch, also carry memories and nostalgia for the owner and future generations. You simply cannot put a price on either.

Horage movements, K-TOU is accurate to chronometer standards (-4/+6 seconds per day) with customers reporting variations as good as 0 to +/-2 seconds per day. A magnifying cyclops lens atop the domed sapphire crystal enlarges the titanium flying tourbillon cage for a magnified view, similar to cyclops counterparts over a date window. The top bridge of the tourbillon cage has a blued screw that can double as a seconds indicator. This hand-wound caliber has a beat rate of 25,200vph or 3.5Hz, which is standard across all Horage calibers and delivers an astounding +120-hour power reserve (5 days) via a single barrel. The black bridge work on the back creates a striking contrast between the ceramic bearing system that the tourbillon cage sits on and the inner workings of the movement, its 19 jewels with a T5 titanium watch case. Aside from just three parts, those being the silicon components that are made in Germany, everything that makes up the K-TOU movement is engineered and manufactured in Switzerland.

A tourbillon rotates 360 degrees every 60 seconds while oscillating back and forth. On a micro-mechanical level, this movement is brutal and the heavier or more complex a tourbillon is, the higher the likelihood it‘ll require more energy, suffer accuracy loss and have increased service intervals. Therefore, reducing a tourbillon‘s weight and optimising moving parts is the “pièce derésistance” for movement engineers. As performance watchmakers, our team has engineered the K-TOU caliber with this in mind. At just 0.29 grams the titanium tourbillon cage is one of the lightest cages in the world. It‘s a marvel of micro-mechanical engineering considering that 34 parts comprise it‘s thin 3.4mm profile and 11.6mm diameter.

The focal point of Lensman 1.2 is naturally the titanium flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock. Such a flat and lightweight tourbillon cage is a remarkable achievement from Switzerland‘s youngest horological engineering team. Contributing to the cage‘s lightness is the anti-magnetic silicon escape wheel, anchor, and hairspring. The latter is an upgrade to the first generation K-TOU tourbillon movement, which used a steel hairspring. As with all Horage movements, K-TOU is accurate to chronometer standards (-4/+6 seconds per day) with customers reporting variations as good as 0 to +/-2 seconds per day.

A magnifying cyclops lens atop the domed sapphire crystal enlarges the titanium flying tourbillon cage for a magnified view, similar to cyclops counterparts over a date window. The top bridge of the tourbillon cage has a blued screw that can double as a seconds indicator. This hand-wound caliber has a beat rate of 25,200vph or 3.5Hz, which is standard across all Horage calibers and delivers an astounding +120-hour power reserve (5 days) via a single barrel. The black bridge work on the back creates a striking contrast between the ceramic bearing system that the tourbillon cage sits on and the inner workings of the movement, its 19 jewels with a T5 titanium watch case. Aside from just three parts, those being the silicon components that are made in Germany, everything that makes up the K-TOU movement is engineered and manufactured in Switzerland.

Horage Lensman 1.2 nods to Abraham-Louis Breguet and Oskar Barnack

At 41mm in diameter and a thin 10.3mm profile, the case is stunningly proportioned. The lug-to-lug of 49mm combined with the case dimensions make for a very comfortable fit for the majority of wrists. Grade T5 titanium (Ti 6AI-4V) as used in the Lensman 1.2 case and crown is a premium titanium alloy comprised of 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. The composition of T5 make it significantly harder and stronger than T2, not to mention an increase in heat and corrosion resistance. Grade T2 titanium is the industry standard and typically used throughout the watch industry for entry level titanium timepieces. It‘s a pure titanium that‘s less expensive to produce. However, T2 is easier to scratch and has a lower tensile strength over its premium counterpart, T5. This Grade 5 titanium is very lightweight and the reduction incase weight makes for wonderful wearing comfort on the wrist. Another important detail of working with T5 is the ability to achieve an incredible polish with a pure and clean metallic look. Brush decoration work with T5 is also superior to T2. The resulting case finish on Lensman 1.2 is nothing short of impeccable.

The aesthetic of the case is inspired by a manual focus camera lens. The body is laser etched with the markings of a f/0.95 aperture ring. An f/0.95 lens is rare and anything under f/1.0 is among the fastest lenses in the world. By fast, it means it allows the most amount of light through the lens to the camera, making it more capable of exposing subjects in lower light. A by-product of this big aperture is the beautiful shallow depth of field called bokeh which is often found in portrait photography. Shallow depth of field is a narrow/shallow area of an image that is sharp with the rest out of focus, the quality and structure of the out of focus area is bokeh. A shallow depth of field draws your eye to what is in focus, the subject, just like a tourbillon cage pulls your eye into the movement. To round out the look of the case is a fixed bezel that‘s reminiscent of a lens‘ focus ring.

Tourbillons, specifically flying tourbillons, are the epitome of mechanical fascination. The tourbillon cage not only serves a very relevant purpose in bettering a movement‘s accuracy, it‘s a mesmerising object and the reason it‘s typically placed centre stage on the dial side. For Lensman 1.2, the brand looked to accentuate the tourbillon‘s effect and found inspiration in the multiple layers of concave and convex glass in lenses. In the watch world, the term “cyclops” has been used to denote the magnifying glass over date windows used in some watches.

Horage looked at how it could put a new spin on the cyclops and magnify intricacies of the tourbillon cage. The result is an oversized cyclops lens at 6 o‘clock directly over the tourbillon and it‘s sure to breathe new life into the most mundane of boardroom meetings. A five layer anti-reflective sapphire crystal protects the dial to ensure optimal legibility in daylight as well as when photographing your watch. And photograph it you should!

Traditionally blacked out cameras are a hallmark of professional photographers, especially those taking candid street shots, but as cameras have moved into the mainstream and become admired for their aesthetic in their own right, the use of colour has become more commonly seen. Whilst the Lensman 1 was inspired by the traditional blacked out look, the Lensman 1.2 takes inspiration from an all white camera, a Leica M10-P that Tzuyu, its co-founder and co-CEO, recently purchased. A balance was found between the white dial and titanium case.

Overall, the aesthetic of the dial and case brings a brighter, more summery look to the series. The white dial with black Horage logo and white Swiss Super-LumiNova appliques, along with the black onyx stone on the crown and woven white rubber strap pay homage to these new more vibrantly coloured cameras.

The appliques themselves are polished rhodium. The diamond cut hour and minute hands are packed with white Super-LumiNova that glow a deep green.

Turning to the case back, the movement itself is finished in black PVD to complement the dial. “One‘s head, one‘s heart and one‘s eye on the same axis” takes inspiration from Henri Cartier-Bresson and is found engraved on the case back ring.

Screw-down black onyx finished crown allows for 100 meters of water resistance. Tourbillon 1 achieved the same water resistance rating and its real world feasibility was put to the test by triathletes and swimmers alike.

The Lensman 1.2 represents an unprecedented value for a proprietary Swiss Made tourbillon, priced under 10,000 CHF.

Inflation has hit us all hard and Switzerland is no exception. The company has decided to not pass on the increased costs of production to the watch community like so many others have done.

The price of 9,990 CHF includes tax, duty and shipping in the full price of the watch for Lensman 1 (excluding the few countries with luxury taxes or disproportionate duty regimes on watches). The brand aims to offer amazing value to its watch community without sacrificing quality and precision.

Horage Lensman 1.2 nods to Abraham-Louis Breguet and Oskar Barnack

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions:
41mm diameter, 10.3mm thin, 49mm lug-to-lug, 22mm lug width.

Movement:
K-TOU hand-wound flying tourbillon, titanium cage at 0.29 grams and 3.4mm thin, anti-magnetic silicon escapement inclusive of anchor, escape wheel and hairspring, chronometer accuracy at -4/+6 seconds per day, 19 jewels, 3.5 Hz (25,200vph), 120+ hour power reserve (5 days), blacked out aesthetic on movement main plate. Blued seconds indicator screw on tourbillon cage.

Case:
T5 titanium - hand polished and brushed, laser etched with camera lens aperture on side, fixed bezel inspired by camera lens focus ring.

Dial:
White with polished rhodium applied indices, white Super-LumiNova luminous inserts, flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, 60 minute track.

Hands:
Diamond cut hour and minute hands with black Super-LumiNova luminous inserts.

Crown:
Screw-down Grade 5 titanium with black onyx inset stone.

Dial Crystal:
Domed sapphire with multi-layer internal anti-reflective coatings, round cyclops magnifying lens over tourbillon aperture at 6 o’clock.

Case back:
Exhibition, double layer anti-reflective sapphire crystal, engraved with paraphrased quote by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Straps:
Woven White rubber fitted to Horage’s deployant buckle.

Water resistance:
100 meters.

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