Double flying tourbillon with two different rotation speeds
François-Marie Arouet, better known by his immortal pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation of church and state. He also happened to a strong supporter of watchmaking workshops in Ferney-Voltaire near Geneva. The Enlightened thinker founded Manufacture Royale (french for Royal Factory) in 1770, hence the Enlightened Horology tagline.
Albeit a brand revived in 2010, the current Manufacture Royale sticks closely to Voltaire’s ideas, legacy and wit. Their timepieces are often unusual, unique and interesting. The new 1770 Micromegas Revolution is no exception.
The origin of Micromegas
Named in tribute to a legendary character imagined by Voltaire, “Micromegas” (small/large) is the story of the giant Micromégas and a dwarf from the planet Saturn who travel the universe seeking knowledge. Inspired by this character, the 1770 Micromegas Revolution is a groundbreaking timepiece featuring a dial display that is at once revolutionary and captivating, both technically and visually.
Double Flying Tourbillon
A tourbillon is an addition to the mechanics of a watch escapement, mounting the balance and escapement in a rotating cage to even out the effects of gravity on the accuracy of a timepiece. It is debatable if this actually improves timekeeping, but its difficulty to craft is undeniable. Highly considered to be one of the most challenging watch mechanisms to make, the tourbillon is however not considered a complication.
The people at Manufacture Royale clearly felt that 1 tourbillon wasn’t challenging enough and decided to feature two tourbillons in the Micromegas series. What’s interesting here is the two flying tourbillons spin at two different rotation speeds, one at 6 seconds and the other at 60 seconds. The outcome is a highly impactful and entertaining visual effect.
The cage on the left side of the dial completes a rotation in only 6 seconds, while the right cage rotates 10 times slower, completing a rotation in a minute like a regular tourbillon. Both cages are connected by a torque stabilizer directly linked to the main power source, the barrel, with no intermediaries for the regulating mechanisms.
To tell the time, an hour hand tracks a subdial while a skeletonized turning disc indicates minutes.
Together with an oscillating automatic rotor, these elements all combine to interpret the passing of time in an anthology of revolving indications.
The new calibre MR08
The 1770 Micromegas Revolution however, isn’t the first double tourbillon timepiece to come out of the Vallorbe manufacture. The previous calibre MR04 in its predecessor also had the same unique mechanism but featured central hour and minute hands and a full sized rotor on the back. The new MR08 found in the 1770 Micromegas Revolution adopted an openworked concept, a significant improvement. Every indication of time is displayed independently hence “Revolution” is a perfectly appropriate name for this timepiece, since everything on its dial is revolving: the two tourbillon cages, the hour hand, the minute disk, and the rotor.
The 1770 Micromegas Revolution will come in 2 materials, rose gold (162,000 CHF) and titanium (137,000 CHF).
Diameter: 45 mm
Number of components: 31
Water resistance: 3 BAR
Case back: See-through sapphire crystal, antiglare treatment on both sides
Crown: Manufacture Royale logo, sandblasted and hand polished.
Strap: Hand stitched alligator leather
Buckle: Folding clasp
Power-reserve: 40 HOURS
Frequency: MICRO: 4Hz, 28,800 vibrations/hour. MEGAS : 3Hz, 21,600 vibrations/hour.
Plate & bridges: Skeletonized double tourbillon, mainplate with Côtes de Genève, 5N engraving
Double tourbillon: Silicon escape wheel and pallet fork
Left tourbillon: 1 rotation in 6 seconds
Right tourbillon: 1 rotation in 60 seconds
Balance spring: Flat
Functions: Hours, minutes