Angelus U50 Tourbillon Diver
Angelus is a name that many of you won’t know. But you should because, as a brand, they have a long and storied history in the world of horology.
Angelus dates back to 1802 in Le Locle, Switzerland when brothers Albert and Gustav Stolz set up shop. The brand was named after the angelus devotion of the Catholic faith.
It did not take long for the brothers and their brand to quickly become known for their pocketwatches and in-house mono-pusher and, later, dual pusher chronographs.
Many brands have a watch model that defines them. Or, is a model that instantly brings the brand to mind when mentioned. Think along the lines of the Submariner and Rolex or the Speedmaster and Omega (there are many more). In the case of Angelus, it is the Chronodato.
The Chronodato was the world’s first mass produced chronograph wristwatch with a date complication. But not just a date complication! The Chronodato includes a date, day and month complication. This chronograph is one of the crowning achievements of mid-century horological designs. The Caliber 217 movement was used (pictured below) was based off the earlier Caliber 215 with the inclusion of a calendar module. At 38mm in case diameter and being quite thick because of the extra calendar module, the overall watch was huge for 1942. While Angelus sold the Chronodato under their own brand name, they also produced if for brands such as Minerva, Augustus, Alpina and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Among vintage watch collectors, Angelus may be best known for a watch that was never really made. In 1942, the Panerai Mare Nostrum (Latin for “Our Sea”) was created as a deck officer chronograph and the massive 52mm beast utilized the Angelus Caliber 215. This made it the first chronograph that Panerai ever made. The Allied Forces invasion of Italy in 1943 caused the cancellation of the watch production, resulting in only 2 or 3 prototypes of the original Mare Nostrum to ever be be made (there have been several recreations made over the years).
Angelus basically went defunct in later years and was bought by the watch brand La Joux-Perret in 2011. Shortly thereafter, they made a triumphant return to the industry with the release of the U10 Tourbillon Lumiere pictured below.
62.75mm x 38 mm x 15mm with 7 sapphire crystals and a flying tourbillon
I don’t want to produce something that, technically, could have been made 80 years ago – I wanted the best technology we have right now. That meant working with big curved sapphire, a 3D movement and curved movement plates. We wanted to re-launch Angelus as a modern, innovative, contemporary watchmaker. — Sebastein Chaulmontet, Head of Movement Development – La Joux-Perret
If any of this has made you want to learn more about vintage Angelus timepieces or potentially even begin to collect them, we highly recommend this fantastic and free collector guide:
45mm case diameter
12.4mm case thickness
Helium release valve
Screw down crowns
Fixed outer bezel
Uni-directional inner rotating 60 minute chapter ring
Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective (AR) coating
300m water resistance
Titanium deployant clasp
Numbered Limited Edition of 25 made
The crown at the 4 o’clock position is used to wind the tourbillon movement and to set the time. The crown at the 2 o’clock position is used to set the 60 minute uni-directional chapter ring.
Angelus Caliber A-300 Movement
23 jewel mechanical flying tourbillon
Swiss lever escapement
28,800 VPH (4Hz)
~60 hour power reserve
Hours, minutes, small seconds, 1 minute flying tourbillon
Adjusted to 5 positions
Main plate is snailed with chamfered edges
Upper bridge is snailed with chamfered edges
Wheels with exclusive Angelus six-spoke design to maximize rigidity
Mirror-polished tourbillon cage with chamfered and polished edges
The flying tourbillon is a variation of the tourbillon pioneered by master watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet. Instead of being supported by a bridge or “cock” at both the top and bottom of the cage, it is cantilevered, being only supported from one side. The first flying tourbillon was designed by Alfred Helwig, an instructor at the prestigious German School of Watchmaking, in 1920.
Master Watchmaker Alfred Helwig
The following video is from Glashutte Original and it is a 3D animation of the flying tourbillon. While the video quality is not necessarily the best (it is an older video), it does do a good job and is worth a few moments to view it.
The following video is just a magnified look at a flying tourbillon at work. Very short, but it is a bit mesmorizing for those of you that are really into watch movements…especially the tourbillon movement.
If you are new to timepieces or just need a bit more basic information on what a tourbillon is, we highly recommend watching the following video. Produced by IWC, it is a great introduction and break down of the tourbillon.
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