The Perrelet Double Rotor TURBINE XL timepiece
By Mike Hanlon
November 5, 2010
Abraham-Louis Perrelet began working on an automatic watch winding mechanism in 1770 (the year Captain Cook “discovered” Australia). By 1777, he’d perfected the invention and founded the House of Perrelet watches the same year. His success in harvesting energy from the wearer led to his next invention, the pedometer, and he subsequently went on to manufacture a range of firsts in the watch industry. Innovation still underpins the company, and Perrelet patented its Double Rotor (one on the dial side, one on the movement side) in 1995. Now it has put them on show with its TURBINE XL watch, enabling caffeine-addicted, ADHD-suffering freaks (guilty) to amuse themselves for hours.
Abraham-Louis Perrelet set the tone for the company that bears his name, following up the automatic watch and the pedometer with the first watch with an escapement, a cylinder escapement, a duplex escapement, a calendar escapement and an equation escapement.
As heir to an invention that today vibrates in every automatic watch, it’s not surprising that Perrelet holds the automatic movement at the heart of its priorities. The TURBINE was released last year and the TURBINE XL is the latest model to showcase the automatic winding mechanism, though this time in a mega-sized 50mm case.
Three executions of the design will be manufactured: in DLC steel, titanium/DLC steel, or a limited edition (77-pieces only) pink gold/DLC steel.
DLC stands for “Diamond Light Coating” or “Diamond like Carbon”, an unscratchable diamond coating which is used in not-so-cost-sensitive industries such as aerospace and Formula One. DLC is achieved by diamond ionic bombardment in a clean room under vacuum and offers a hardness of 4000 to 5000 HV (Vickers) from a coating just one micron thick. By comparison, diamond has a hardness of 10,000 HV, so although steel or titanium coated with DLC is hard and unscratchable, it is actually only half as hard as diamond.
Recently introduced to the high-end watch industry, only a couple of brands are using the coating due to its high price and production difficulties.
Not many companies can remain this cool for a quarter of a millennium!