The Designer's Notebook #3 - A Limited Edition Tourbillon
Hello and welcome to another issue of the Designer's Notebook.
Today I will be going through everything you need to know about the Geckota Tourbillon
; giving an insight into the design process & the future of this exciting range of watches.
The Geckota Tourbillon Silver dial - Limited edition of 10 pieces.
Featuring strong in-house design, crafted with robust materials & packed with small details, the Geckota tourbillon
acts as the peak of the current collection, our Tourbillon is designed to present the values of the brand in it's purest form and offer something truly unique to the customer. The first versions of the Geckota Tourbillon
came out in 2018 in small limited edition quantities of only 10 per version.
Case size: 40mm
Case thickness: 14.2mm
Movement: PTS 3300, handwinding
Power Reserve: 40 hours
It all started with the movement
The vision for this project started when we first saw the PTS 3300 Chinese-made tourbillon movement, that ended up being the heart of the project. Initially, we were amazed that a tourbillon could be made for such a low price, especially in a world of Swiss tourbillons being high 5 or 6 figures. We quickly set off to do some market research and look into what brands were using these PTS movements, very underwhelmed we found that they were mostly being used by Chinese brands that were very much lacking in design capabilities and just being too cheaply made to make any kind of impression.
The next step for us was to test the movement, to make sure that the accuracy and reliability were up to our standards. We bought in a few movement samples and quickly began testing them, to our surprise the first sample that we tested started flatting off the line at +1 second a day. Not a bad start... Of course, the movements aren't consistently running at +1 second a day, definitely not after being cased up and worn, but as you can tell from the fact that we have already made a watch with the movement we were very happy with the results.
Running at a modest +13 seconds a day, much more accurate than PTS' guideline of +/- 25 seconds a day.
The design process
As said above, it all started with the movement, so the case has been completely designed around this just like watches of the past where each caliber was a perfect fit for the watch. We cased this 33mm diameter movement in a 40mm case, which as you can imagine didn't leave much space for a movement holder, so the movement is actually milled into the case - providing a perfect fit, and a massively big display aperture on the caseback.
This is a welcome contrast to most modern watches, which are vastly oversized in comparison to the movement which creates a very small display window on the back.
A large movement allows for a very impressive caseback display.
We made it a mission to do justice in the design of the watch and create something really quite special (which is the entire point of the tourbillon!). Due to the heritage of the tourbillon we wanted the piece to be very classically styled and there was no better way to do this than to adopt the Breguet styled hands, a nod to Abraham Louis Breguet who originally invented the incredible Tourbillon Escapement in 1801. The main inspiration for the watch came from brands like: Breguet, George Daniels, R.W. Smith and Urban Jurgensen, all brands that we look up to as the pinnacle of classic style.
Notable characteristics of watches from these brands are heavy use of texture in their guilloche dials, metallic toned dials (usually crafted from solid gold or silver) and borderline Gothic styling.
Drawing from the past, our Geckota tourbillon is clasically styled yet remains originality.
The dial design started from the same concept as the case, around the movement. We wanted to make sure that the whole watch worked together harmoniously - so we made sure to incorporate details on the dial that worked well with the tourbillon carriage. We achieved this through the silver metallic textures on the dial and the choice of hands colour. The blued hands on the silver dial versions blend with the blue screws while the gold hands on the other versions work well with the balance wheel, this incorporation of colour really helped the tourbillon carriage to become a part of the dial, instead of stick out.
As another test of quality we also wanted to have a large mixture of textures and levels to the dial, so the dial is actually made up of a base level and 5 separate applied pieces (The logo, hour/minute track, seconds track & both the text plaques). Each separate piece has been carefully circular grained or horizontally brushed and contrasts amazingly against the stamped guilloche textured dial base.
For the silver dial, we have used a hobnail texture in the middle, surrounded by a grained texture.
For the black dials, we have used a wave pattern that originates from the hands and carries all the way to the edge of the dial.
Something you may not have noticed initially is that the second's track that is surrounding the tourbillon carriage is actually chamfered in shape. This provides even more depth and contrast to the rest of the dial, as well as blending nicely with the tourbillon carriage as it lowers down. This also acts as another aspect for the light to play with and is yet another small detail which really helps to bring the piece together.
The Case & Crown
As a contrast to the dial, we wanted the case to be more understated to make sure most of the wow factor came from the tourbillon itself, so we have opted for a pretty simple case design, just with some small chamfered detail on the sides of the lugs. One of the main details outside of the dial is actually on the crown. The middle of it has been enamelled in black which works nicely with the black dial and even the blued hands on the silver dial version. A welcome detail only seen from the side that doesn't work to overpower any other details.
The black enamelled crown mixes well with the dial & black ostrich leg strap.
As mentioned earlier, the massive movement in comparison to the case means we get a pretty impressive display back, showing off the entire of the 33mm movement, which is quite nicely decorated with "Cotes de Geneve"stripes on the black dial versions, and a skeletonised design on the silver dial version.
The caseback view on the black dial versions.
The caseback view on the silver dial versions.
To mark this special limited edition release, we have also engraved "One of 10" and the serial number on the lugs, so you can really get the feeling that you are receiving your own special piece of Geckota's history.
Individually numbered and extremely limited, the Geckota Tourbillon is a slice of Geckota history.
The future of the Geckota tourbillon
After the initial success of our tourbillon project, we want to make sure we keep on creating something special for everyone to enjoy. The most important part of this project was to gain the feedback necessary to keep refining the watch, the next step is producing a non-limited edition version of the tourbillon with a few upgrades and design changes to distinguish it against the limited-edition counterparts. Making a serial production tourbillon will allow it to be more accessible, but still very limited as it is currently only being made in batches of 10.
This is an exciting step for the brand and you can be sure that there is much more to come. As you have come to expect from the Geckota range is that we are constantly evolving and improving, so these early Geckota tourbillons
are truly your chance to become a part of something quite different.
Thanks for reading and be sure to look out for a future episode of the Designer's Notebook where I will be going into the new tourbillon design in detail.
If you are interested to see our Geckota Tourbillon listing, be sure to click here!