Therefore, when our friends over at Phantoms Tourbillon approached us and revealed the news that they are going to put their brainchild on Kickstarter, we are evidently thrilled. Here's the catch: this is going to be the FIRST ever Tourbillon wristwatch to appear on Kickstarter. What is a tourbillon you ask? You can read up on it here.
We've seen quartz watches on Kickstarter and certainly their mechanical counterparts. Heck, even something in between! But Tourbillon? Never. And that's enough of a reason to get our hands on the Phantoms Tourbillon and do our readers a service by reviewing this "king of complication" to be made available to the general public at an accessible price point. Let's check it out!
Look & Feel
With a case size of 50mm, this watch has a substantial presence no matter how you look at it. The entire watch case is made of stainless steel with black coating, incorporating an integrated lug and a matching bracelet finished in at least two different ways. So the next logical question to ask is, is the (rather) unusually large case size necessary? As you might know, here in Lengbeau we are steadfast supporters of moderately sized timepieces, but this is not to say we will automatically reject the idea of big watches and in this case, we do not find the size a particular issue. Here's why.
First thing first, the tourbillon. Modern wristwatches equipped with tourbillons are generally large to make room for accommodating the latter, both functionally and aesthetically speaking. Imagine there's a component in your watch movement which is constantly ROTATING (the tourbillon), you want to make sure there's enough space for all the actions to go on without affecting the rest of the movement. From an aesthetics point of view, if one is creating a tourbillon watch, it is only natural to want the tourbillon to be seen and appreciated. As a result, an aperture is usually created on the dial to allow a clear view of the tourbillon by the wearer, which essentially calls for a larger dial size (and also case size) to stuff the rest of the dial features in. So as a rule of thumb, tourbillon watches are generally larger.
In term of appearance, this is not a watch you'll easily forget. The layout and dial arrangement is pleasant to the eyes, the case rugged and the color scheme cool (and pretty bad-ass as far as black coating goes). And really, I doubt if anyone could resist the temptation of at least spending a good several seconds getting fixated at the beautiful motion of a flying tourbillon every time you look for the time? For one thing, I can't. So yes, this is a huge watch, but it managed to achieve a nice sense of balance and if you've decided to adorn yourself with a tourbillon watch, you might as well go bold about it.
We are not sure of the exact pricing of the Phantoms yet but we are told it is going to have a friendlier price tag. To make that possible from a cost point of view, the tourbillon movement needs to be carefully selected. And the Phantoms team went for the solid option here: adopting a Tianjin Seagull movement that does its job well while reasonably priced for beginners who want to have a taste of owning a tourbillon.
This is a hand-winding movement with a tourbillon part making a complete revolution every 60 seconds, which also means that the you can tell the current second by reading off the number the tip of the tourbillon is pointed towards - the tip IS the second hand of the watch. Being hand-winding also means you can have an unobstructive view of the movement through the see-through case back, which is also a very nice thing to behold given its finishing is, albeit not sublime, more than sufficient to leave a solid impression. It also boasts a 42-hour power reserve, certainly up to standard in the power department.
Thoughts and Conclusion
But then there's no perfect watch in the world. We believe the readability of the watch could improve by having clear hour markers. The date retrograde scale can be a little too busy and crowded to be read off at a glance, which we find rather regrettable. The integrated lug could be a double-edged sword here, offering overall structural integrity but essentially taking away the option to use third-party straps, slightly hindering the flexibility from a wearer's point of view.
All in all, this is a thoughtfully constructed tourbillon watch we believe could appeal to anyone who wants a taste of owning a piece of the most important horological invention of all time. Combined with a modest pricing strategy, we could foresee the Dark Soul (and following collections) amassing support and followings.
So yea Phantoms, don't you ever stop haunting us watch lovers!
To back the campaign, go here.