Review: Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon

Beautiful horological madness in three acts

I review today a special piece created by the Swiss independent brand Cabestan – the Triple Axis Tourbillon. The concept was also “hiding” the fuse-and-chain traditional complication that is the signature of the Cabestan watches. When I first met the Triple Axis Tourbillon in the flesh I was amazed by the magnificent architecture of the watch. The next encounters allowed me to study the piece and to discover various details. Here are my impressions over the Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon.

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon

In 2003, under the Cabestan name an independent Swiss watch manufacturer was born. The brand’s name comes from the traditional watchmaking concept of fusée movement. The first iconic model fuse-and-chain with the winch was launched in 2008 – Winch Tourbillon Vertical, taking the horological world by storm.

The brand takes big pride by using 450 years old watchmaking concepts. The signature of the brand, the chain fusée allows a constant regulating force during the barrel depletion. The system’s advantage is the extreme precision of the movement, regardless of the state of the spring’s charge. Cabestan also uses German silver, a traditional material for watchmaking in Vallée de Joux.

All the pieces from Cabestan run in limited series and are customisable. Today I review the Triple Axis Tourbillon 008/135, in platinum. The pictures are provided by my friend Chelsey from Olive55Wrist.com, aka @olive55wrist.

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon review, in three acts

Before going into more detail, let’s have a look on this clip provided by Cabestan:

The first act: the exhibitionist

Let’s be honest and serious. This watch is not for everyone. If you like to show off with your watch, display it on your wrist, you like to talk about watches at any time then this is a watch for you.  This architectural construction is inspired by sailing boats. More precise: the pure, athletic and sleek shape of a catamaran – Cabestan.ch

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon

The watch is spectacular. The construction is far from being simple or easy to be produced. The main part is a sapphire tube tooled and finished by hand. The body requires time and special expertise, especially since it is not a round tube.

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon

The sapphire body is enclosed by other two sapphire windows fixed in brushed platinum. The watch can be manufactured also in 5N rose gold, 3N yellow gold, palladium white gold, brushed or polished natural titanium, titanium black PVD.

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon crown

The watch is impressive not only technically, but also in its dimensions. One needs to like big watches to be able to enjoy this piece at the fullest. It is a nice touch that the Triple Axis Tourbillon was built with water resistance.

The single “simple” thing on this watch is the crown. The two positions classic system, winding and time setting, is realised with a comfortable and easy to use crown.

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon

The second act: the extrovert

The view of the Tripple Axis Tourbillon is governed by the giant multi-axial tourbillon. Placed on top of the dial, this piece is the brainchild of Eric Coudray. You might remember his name from the Gyrotourbillon, the fantastical movements created for Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon

The view of the working tourbillon is mesmerising. Due to several axis speeds, the spectacle is a continuous show of horological art. The construction starts with a base plate, rotating in 60 seconds and serving as small seconds display. The second axis rotates in 19 seconds. That is very fast for a tourbillon. But the third axis is even faster – 17 seconds. It’s a kind of magic? No, just the exceptional mind of Eric manifested in a cool, technical product.

The triple axis tourbillon is a complex construction using light materials. The built difficulty is so high that it does not permit too many procedures to obtain a high elaborated finish. That does not mean the piece is unfinished. But just might not look as spectacular in terms of finishes.

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon

The open-worked dial uses skeletonised hands for hour and minutes. The construction intends to reveal as much as possible from the movement. The legibility is very good. Almost takes you by surprise. The problems in reading this magnificent piece come from the beauty of tourbillon, above the time display.

The third act: the introvert

The CAB EC17 movement is a magnificent realisation. The architecture is balanced, almost symmetrical.  Even the barrel is open, revealing the spring.

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon chain fusee

A detail less observable, at least at a first glance is the chain transmission. The steel chain has an impressive length of 204mm, being entirely handmade. The watchmaster has to mount 305 links and 202 rivets. The entire number of components for the Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon watch is 1044 parts.

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon

The movement’s details can start debates and develop friendships. The watch is lovely finished – a good conversation starter between watch enthusiasts.

The black PVD mainplate suffers a light, exceptionally made, perlage. This choice of finishes highlight the front components, creating the needed contrast for a good showcase of the main components: tourbillon, fuse and chain and dial.

The finale

The Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon is a magnificent, three-dimensional piece, created and manufactured by one of the most important minds of the modern horology – Eric Coudray. I wouldn’t change a bit from it. But it is customisable up to a point. The brand even released a full sapphire case version – perhaps the most revealing piece of the brand.

The watch is still one of the most important triple axis tourbillons on the market. Even if, since release, there are several new other timepieces with a triple axis tourbillon. But the combination with chain fusee is a killer deal.

The watch is relatively heavy but arresting. It is a conversational piece, an investment and a personal pleasure. I enjoyed having it on my wrist. It doesn’t look bad on a ladies wrist either.

And if you love this particular piece, there are good news – last time I have checked, it was available: https://olive55wrist.com/watches-for-sale/


Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon Specification

Movement:

  • Calibre CAB EC17, manually wound with Swiss lever escapement
  • Total of 1044 components fully assembled and regulated by hand
  • Flying triple axis tourbillon regulated at 6 positions:
    • Ø  Axis 1: 1 rotation in 60 seconds
    • Ø  Axis 2: 1 rotation in 19 seconds
    • Ø  Axis 3: 1 rotation in 17 seconds;
  • Frequency: 21 600 alt/h or 3 Hz,
  • Fusée-and-Chain driven: Stainless steel chain 204 mm long composed of 305 links and 202 rivets,
  • Time setting and winding with a 2 position crown
  • Manual finishing of all components: beveling, polishing, drawing and circular finishing
  • Power reserve: 50 hours

Display

Hours, minutes, seconds

Case

  • One sapphire tube tooled and finished by hand,
  • Sealed by two sapphire windows in 5N rose gold, 3N yellow gold, palladium white gold, brushed or polished natural titanium, titanium black PVD, and platinum.
  • One individual crown with two positions for winding and time setting
  • Size: 50.25mm (l) x 45.50 mm (L) [48.30 mm including crown] x 22.30 mm (h)
  • Water-resistant

Cabestan Triple Axis Tourbillon comes with a price tag of 250,000CHF. For more information, please visit the Cabestan Webpage.

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