Tourbillon wristwatches are lamentably commonplace in contemporary watchmaking. They are available in all shapes, sizes and axes, and some are even, horrors, downmarket. In that Best Replica Watches context it is hard to imagine, preposterous almost, a tourbillon constructed as a bona fide timekeeper, one meant to be sold as a watch that actually told the time.
That year Cheap Omega Replica created a dozen prototypes of the cal. 30I movement, a 30mm size, hand-wound calibre with a tourbillon regulator. Unusually the tourbillon cage took 7.5 minutes to complete a full rotation, in contrast to the standard one minute revolution that majority of wristwatch tourbillons.
The Omega tourbillon at Phillips’ auction, however, is the original, the actual prototype wristwatch from 1947. Previously unknown, the watch has been confirmed by the Omega Replica Watches Museum, which possesses period photographs as well as technical drawings of the wristwatch. But how this prototype left Omega and ended up in private hands, no doubt an intriguing tale, has now been lost to time.
Despite being a landmark wristwatch, the prototype is a modest affair in person. The steel case is 37.5mm in diameter, while the dial is two-tone and handsome, but from the outside, the watch is indistinguishable from an ordinary Omega Replica of the same period.
Only with the steel snap-back off is the cal. 30I visible in all its raw, prototype glory. It is strikingly functional, with a two-third plate and a large tourbillon bridge.
The tourbillon is, unsurprisingly, constructed according to the then prevailing wisdom for chronometers, meaning a bimetallic Guillaume balance with poising screws on the rim and a hairspring with Breguet overcoil. The look, feel and history of the Replica Watches make it a supremely nerdy timepiece.